February is here

Flights Of Fantasy

[ M Panging Pao ]

The previous month was marked by good and not so good news. The good news included the sanction to open seven new Kendriya Vidyalayas in Arunachal Pradesh, achievement of 100 percent electrification in East Siang and Dibang Valley districts, many medals won by young Arunachalee athletes in the Khelo India Youth Games, dedication of the country’s longest (300 metre) steel suspension bridge over the Siang river in Upper Siang district, and the announcement of tough location allowance for the employees of the state government.
The not so good news included the increasing protests in entire Northeast India against the citizenship amendment bill (CAB), economic blockades in eastern Arunachal due to the PRC issues, the three-month-long shutdown of the Ranganadi (Panyor) hydroelectric plant in Yazali, and the CBI booking five army soldiers for corruption in ration procurement in our state.
During recent days, there has been a multifold increase in Assam/Arunachal bandhs. These bandhs and protests have been triggered by the decision of the central government to introduce the CAB. Opposition to the CAB has found unanimous and widespread support among all the tribes and races of the region. Many state cabinets and assemblies have passed resolutions against the CAB. Some regional parties have broken alliances with the ruling disposition at the centre over this bill. If the Centre continues to ignore this spark in the region, the region may go back to the olden days of widespread protests and instability.
The other sensitive issue is about the misuse of APST certificates by many children of APST mothers and non-APST fathers. It is seen that there are many persons who are misusing these fraudulent APST certificates to claim education scholarships, get government jobs, acquire property, etc. There is a strong demand for strict enforcement of issuing of APST certificates to children born to APST fathers only.
Recently, there were reports that Airtel would be launching 4G services in remote Anjaw district. While telecom companies like Airtel, Vodafone, BSNL and Jio have big slogans and claims, the coverage in most parts of Arunachal Pradesh and Northeast India is not even 2G, or even worse. Frequent disruptions in banking services due to link failure are common in most towns. With connectivity failure for many days at a stretch, citizens are unable to file GST/IT returns, online forms, etc. Most telecom companies are fooling their customers, offering 4G services even in remote areas.
Telecom is a central subject and there are no state department/cabinet looking after telecom. To have some accountability, there is a need to set up a telecom committee at the state level also. Otherwise Jio will be mat jio.
(The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)