[ Tongam Rina ]
ITANAGAR, Jul 9: Chief Minister Pema Khandu said Arunachal is totally against the citizenship amendment bill (CAB) and everyone should be clear about it.
Responding to a question by Congress MLA Ninong Ering on whether the state government would implement the CAB, which is being imposed by the central government, Khandu said if the bill is enacted, “Arunachal will ask the Centre to exclude us from it.”
He said the bill might be good for the rest of India but it would dilute the rights of the indigenous people in the northeastern region.
He said if the CAB is brought in, it would also dilute the provisions of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation and the Chin Hills Regulation.
Khandu said that when the CAB had been passed by the Lok Sabha, he and Manipur CM N Biren Singh had sought exclusion from the purview of the bill.
The chief minister’s statement is crucial as the CAB, though it has lapsed after it was not tabled in the Rajya Sabha, remains the pet project of the BJP at the Centre.
The CAB was passed in January this year by the Lok Sabha despite large-scale protests and violence in the Northeast region against the bill.
If enacted, the bill would pave way for granting citizenship to persecuted minorities from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who made India home before 31 December, 2014. The Muslims, however, do not figure in the purview of the bill.
‘CAMPA fund not properly implemented’
The CM said the implementation of the programmes under the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) in Arunachal is not proper, and that afforestation activities are being carried out “just for namesake.”
He said that the CAMPA “needs restructuring, as it is concentrated in just a few districts,” adding that the programme should be implemented in all the districts. The CM informed that a meeting has been fixed, and that the CAMPA programmes’ implementation would be finalized by 30 July.
Khandu, who is also the forest minister, said this while responding to a question by Congress MLA Ninong Ering on fund allocation, details of implementation, and whether there was any mechanism to ensure accountability.
The total fund under the CAMPA since 2009 is Rs 712.5184 crore.
596 non-functional schools in Arunachal
Education Minister Taba Tedir informed the legislative assembly that 596 schools in the state are defunct because of lack of enrollment, and that the schools would be closed down.
The minister was responding to a question from Lumla MLA Jambey Tashi whether the government was planning to close down non-functional schools.
Tashi said the schools should be handed over to NGOs to make them functional. He also said the land donors are seeking to get their land back as the schools are not functional anymore.
The minister said a committee would be formed to “find out the usability of the schools’ assets and whether they should be handed over to NGOs.”
Dirang MLA Phurpa Tsering, citing a case in his constituency, said some schools have enrolled students but are not functional.
Zero hour discussion
BJP MLA Nyato Rigia alleged that fund meant for repairing the Daporijo-Dumporijo-Tai road under the Trans-Arunachal Highway has been siphoned off “as there is no visible physical work.”
He also said that the people of Upper Subansiri district have been deprived of good roads, and that the district is being “alienated.”
In response, the chief minister admitted that the road network in the district is in terrible shape, and said “funds after repair work were released by the deputy commissioner, as the work was okayed by a monitoring committee.”
He said that, if required, another monitoring committee would be sent from Itanagar, adding that the repair work is ongoing. A total of Rs 14.41 crore had been allocated to the PWD for repairing the 78-km stretch.