ITANAGAR, Feb 9: Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Itanagar for an hour on Saturday and digitally inaugurated and laid the foundation stones for projects worth over Rs 4000 crore in Arunachal Pradesh, even as protests took place in several parts of the capital against the citizenship amendment bill (CAB).
Addressing a gathering of thousands at IG Park here, Modi highlighted how the projects he inaugurated and laid the foundation stones for would greatly benefit the state and its people.
While he noted that India’s development could only take place if Arunachal and the Northeast develop, Modi refrained from touching on the CAB, which the Northeast has been raising voice against, during his 28-minute-long speech.
Modi said his government was giving importance to improve the highway, railway, airway and power situation in Arunachal Pradesh, and that work is going on for projects worth Rs 13,000 crore in the state.
Highlighting that Arunachal is strategically an important border state, he accused the previous government of neglecting the youths and the security forces here.
Referring to the state’s requirement for state-of-the-art infrastructure, Modi said, “Pehle walon ne uski bhi parvah nahi ki (The earlier government did not bother with it),” adding that his government has allocated Rs 44,000 crore for the region, which
he said is double the allocation made during the UPA government.
“Place 55 years of the other party’s schemes and projects on one side, and place our (BJP) work of 55 months on the other, and you will get a clear picture of how much work has been done for Arunachal and the Northeast,” he said.
Laying the foundation stone for the greenfield airport in Hollongi and inaugurating the upgraded and retrofitted airport in Tezu in Lohit district (worth Rs 125 crore), the prime minister said it was an important moment for the state as there was no airport for years for large commercial flights to land.
“The Tezu airport will connect Guwahati, Jorhat and Hollongi. Fruits and flowers of the region can reach any market of the country in a few hours,” he said.
Giving assurance that effort would be made to complete the greenfield airport on time, Modi said, “Jiska shilanyas hum karte hai, uska udghatan bhi hum hi karte hai (The projects I lay the foundation stones for, I usually inaugurate, as well).”
The prime minister also laid the foundation stone for the Sela tunnel in Tawang district. It will provide all-weather connectivity to Tawang valley for civilians as well as security forces.
The tunnel will reduce travel time to Tawang by an hour, and boost tourism and related economic activities in the region, Modi said.
He inaugurated Doordarshan’s 24-hour channel for Arunachal Pradesh, Arun Prabha. The channel will be the 24th channel operated by Doordarshan, and the first for Arunachal.
The prime minister also dedicated to the nation the 110 mw Pare hydroelectric plant, and noted the power generating capacity of the state.
The hydroelectric project, constructed by the NEEPCO, will harness the hydropower potential of the Dikrong river (a tributary of the Brahmaputra) and provide cheap hydroelectric power to the northeastern states, thereby improving power availability in the region.
Modi also declared 100 percent household electrification in Arunachal Pradesh under the Saubhagya scheme. He also laid the foundation stone for a permanent campus of the Film and Television Institute of India in Jote, and inaugurated 50 health and wellness centres in the state.
He said that, under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, 50 health and wellness centres have been inaugurated, which would provide medical care to the poor and the needy, especially pregnant women.
“In this year’s budget we have introduced a new scheme, the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, under which an amount of Rs 6000 will be deposited yearly to the accounts of the farmers who have only five acres of cultivable land, in order to support them,” Modi said, and assured all possible support to the state.
He said the developmental trajectory of the state is taking on a faster pace with the NDA and the Pema Khandu-led BJP government in the state working in close coordination.
The prime minister said steps are being taken under the UDAN scheme to provide civilian aircraft service at a lower cost in the state, and that road projects worth Rs 50,000 crore are ongoing to connect about 1,000 villages.
“In several places of the state, survey is going on for construction of railway lines, and survey has been completed in three places,” Modi said.
The government is stressing on power generation, and has sanctioned Rs 3,000 crore to erect transmission lines to be connected to the grid, he said.
Modi also laid the foundation stones for seven 132/33 kv and 24 33/11 kv electric substations under the comprehensive scheme.
Chief Minister Pema Khandu, who along with Governor BD Mishra, Union MoS for Home Kiren Rijiju, DCM Chowna Mein, Speaker TN Thongdok, state BJP president Tapir Gao, cabinet ministers, MLAs, and high-ranking officers was present on the occasion, thanked the prime minister for fulfilling the long-cherished dream of having an airport in the state capital.
He expressed gratitude for the support from the Centre in developing Arunachal, and said he hoped that the support would continue in the years to come.
Khandu also reiterated his commitment to creating a corruption-free government, and informed that he has “achieved the target to a great extent.” (With PTI and DIPR inputs)