Assam, Arunachal agree to sort out boundary issue out of court: Khandu

ITANAGAR, 15 Jul: Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Thursday informed that Assam and Arunachal have in principle agreed to sort out the interstate boundary issue out of court, “for which the state government has already started its homework.”

Participating in a virtual meeting convened by DoNER Minister GK Reddy on Thursday morning, Khandu said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have stressed that the interstate boundary issue be resolved amicably and suggested an out-of-court solution.

“Interstate boundary issue has been long pending. I have discussed it with my Assam counterpart, Himanta Biswa Sarma, and we have agreed to go for an out-of-court solution to all issues related to our boundary.

“In fact, we have already started working at the ground. If everything goes well, in the next few months we may see some concrete results towards instilling peace permanently along our boundaries,” he said.

On the main agenda of the meeting – the North Eastern Space Application Centre (NESAC) – Khandu said his government accords top priority to partnering with the NESAC for technology support in all developmental works.

“Amit Shah, who is also the president of the NESAC Society, has insisted on utilizing the expertise of the NESAC (based in Shillong) by the northeastern states. Therefore, we have identified nine key areas to work under the NESAC,” he said.

Some of these areas include development of model villages in international border areas; identifying suitable land for agriculture and horticulture activities; identifying degrading forest covers, border fencing, etc.

The chief minister provided details of the important programmes under implementation, and said that the Jal Jeevan Mission that assures tap water supply to every household will be completed by 2022 in Arunachal, a year ahead of the national target.

“Under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna, 5,688 dwelling units have been approved for our state, which we will complete in a time-bound manner,” he said.

Expressing concern over the NITI Aayog’s report on the state’s poor education scenario, Khandu informed that the state government has launched ‘Mission Shiksha’, which aims to completely overhaul the scenario in the next few years.

“As far as facilitating investment in the state, we have enacted the Ease of Doing Business Act. Soon, we will have in place a single-window clearance portal and centralized inspection system, which would make the process a lot simpler and faster for the investors,” he said.

In order to maintain the state’s greenery, he said, the state government is committed to carry out plantations in 80,000 hectares of land in the next five years. “The programme is in full swing with the help of the NEC,” he added.

On the Covid situation in the state, Khandu admitted that there has been a steady rise in positive cases in the state. He informed that a meeting of the State Disaster Management Authority is being convened on Friday and the way forward would be decided.

“Our fight against Covid will be based on the five pillars suggested by our PM: testing, tracking, treating, vaccination and Covid-appropriate behaviour,” he said.

Khandu also impressed upon the DoNER ministry to consider establishing a world-class diagnostic lab in Dibrugarh, Assam, which would benefit both Arunachal and Assam.

“Fortunately, we have land available in Dibrugarh, allotted by the government of Assam. We will be happy to donate if this lab comes up,” he said.

Khandu expressed optimism that the Northeast would gain much under GK Reddy, who also holds the important portfolios of tourism and culture, the two most important sectors with regard to the Northeast.

The meeting was attended by MoS for DoNER BL Verma, the MoS (independent) for science & technology, the chief ministers of the northeastern states, and officials of the NEC and the NESAC. (CM’s PR Cell)