Let us make it, Arunachal!

Flights Of Fantasy

[ M Panging Pao ]

We search for everything on Google, chat on Facebook, make video calls on WhatApp, conduct webinars on Google Meet, buy products on Amazon and Flipkart, share songs/videos on YouTube. All these use internet; all these are American.

Likewise, GPS, Apple, Instagram, Nike, Microsoft, Reebok and KFC are all American. Mercedes, Renault, Audi, Adidas and Vodafone are European. Samsung, Hyundai, Daewoo and LG are South Korean companies. Honda, Toyota, Sony, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Canon, Nissan and Nikon are Japanese. Lenovo, Xiaomi, Huawei and Alibaba are Chinese companies.

Similarly, Tata, Mahindra, Bajaj, Birla, Godrej, Kirloskar, Wipro, Infosys, Hero and Reliance are famous Indian companies. Conversely, the situation is reverse in the Northeast and Arunachal as there are negligible products made in the region.

Arunachal became a union territory in 1972 and a state in 1987. Some older towns of Arunachal have conducted centenary celebrations. Forty-eight years after becoming a union territory, we cannot claim to be a fresher. We have some experience under our belts.

However, almost all items bought in our state are made outside the state. Basic items like paper, pen, clothes, plates, glasses, shoes, etc, are imported from outside the state. Even bread, fish, poultry and vegetables are imported. Even though we have sufficient bamboo, we import paper… even with sufficient freshwater, we import bottled water… despite harvesting large amounts of fresh oranges, kiwis, pineapples, etc, we import fruits and fruit juice.

Products are imported from outside the state due to lack of manufacturing industries in the region. Lack of stable electricity, lack of infrastructure like good roads, railways, etc, lack of single-window licencing clearance, lengthy clearance process, etc, results in lack of industries in the state.

Lack of industries in the NE and Arunachal was very evident during the Covid-19 pandemic. During the nationwide lockdown, NE and Arunachal did not have essential items like sanitizers, masks, PPE, testing kits, etc. Many places suffered due to lack of essential groceries, medicines, etc. Necessary essential items, including grocery, sanitizers, PPE, masks, etc, were imported from outside the region, including from China. The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us an important lesson to become self-sufficient and self-reliant at the earliest.

Towards this, the government brought in concepts like Atmanirbhar Bharat and ‘Vocal for local’. As responsible citizens, we must implement these concepts in letter and spirit and start making in Arunachal. Let’s eat food, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry made in Arunachal. Let’s wear dresses made in Arunachal. Let’s use products made in Arunachal. Let’s become atmanirbhar at the earliest. Else our hard-earned money would be continued to be drained outside the state.

In our lifetime, can we dream of talking on a Tamut or a Ligu mobile? Can we dream of watching our favourite programme on a Bamang or Rijiju TV? Can we drive on a Bagra or Chai bike? Can we write with a Wangsa or Mosang pen?

Someday… maybe.

(The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)