[M Panging Pao]
With the world economy in recession due to the Covid-19 pandemic and thousands of people losing their jobs and livelihoods, citizens are looking forward to a positive budget to revive the economy and generate more jobs for the youth and the unemployed. Therefore, here is another series of wish list for the upcoming budget.
One of the basic requirements for development and job generation is availability of stabilized 3 phase electricity. While Arunachal is producing surplus electricity, power supply is still erratic with voltage fluctuations and frequent failures. The main reason for these failures is inadequacies in the transmission lines. Therefore there is an urgent need to complete and activate the radial transmission lines, so that power can be drawn from either side. This would ensure uninterrupted power supply.
The other way is by selling surplus electricity to other states. As per estimates, the hydropower potential of Arunachal is about 57,000 mw. Since there is strong opposition to big hydropower projects, emphasis may be shifted to create small/medium hydropower projects. Instead of focusing on major rivers, focus should be shifted to the tributaries to create small/medium hydropower projects. The electricity generated by these small/medium hydropower projects would usher development in the state and create many job openings.
The other critical requirement is an all-weather road along the foothills of the state, connecting all districts with the capital. Presently, frequent Assam bandhs and economic blockades are hindering the progress of the state with frequent shortages of POL, essential commodities, medicines, etc. Many patients, students and commuters suffer due to these frequent bandhs. Therefore this road along the foothills will contribute to the overall progress and development of the state.
Another step towards ensuring secure, all-weather connectivity is by creating facilities to fly commuters even in adverse weather conditions to key airports like Pasighat, Tezu, Ziro, Mechuka, etc. This can be ensured by creating instrument flight rule facilities like instrument landing system and radars at these airports. This should be ensured in the upcoming airport in Hollongi also.
Trains are less affected by bandhs. Therefore, there is a need to extend the railway lines to Pasighat and Namsai. This would ensure that commuters and goods can travel unhindered by frequent Assam bandhs.
In the tourism sector, a pan-Arunachal festival similar to the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland should be created. This should be an annual festival lasting 3-4 days, where the traditional dances, music, dresses, recipes and sports of all tribes of Arunachal are showcased. This pan Arunachal festival should be vigorously promoted and supported. The other is by creating and promoting adventure sports like river rafting, hang/paragliding, bungee jumping, angling, skiing, etc, at suitable sites.
The wish list is long. However, a positive post-Covid budget would ensure revival of the economy and provide jobs to the unemployed locals. ‘Vocal for local’ should be vigorously pursued in order to ensure an Aatmanirbhar Arunachal Pradesh! By the way, vaccination against Covid-19 has commenced. Go, Corona, go! (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)