Flights Of Fantasy
[ M Panging Pao ]
Hamara Arunachal… the largest state in the Northeast and also one of the least developed states of the country. Arunachal is one of the special category states and is largely dependent on central assistance for plan investment. As per official reports, Arunachal Pradesh continues to remain a poor state with inadequate basic infrastructure and low economic growth. The state is lagging far behind even in comparison to other northeastern states in most of the indices of socioeconomic development. Despite being rich in natural resources, the state is not in a position to harness its vast potential like hydropower, tourism, agri-horticulture, etc.
Towards making Arunachal Pradesh a better developed state, the following economic growth drivers should be focussed on and strengthened.
The first growth driver is roads. Arunachal has a low road density of 25 kms per 100 sq kms only, compared to the national figure of 142 kms per 100 sq kms. The first priority should be two-lane all-weather roads connecting the capital with all district headquarters and district headquarters with supporting towns of Assam. Thereafter, these roads can be extended to connect other towns/villages. Good roads will ensure faster travel time for passengers, goods, heavy equipment and products. Good roads will reduce losses of products/goods due to spillage and boost tourism. The Trans-Arunachal Highway is a good beginning and needs to be expedited. Roads in east Arunachal have developed a lot; however, west and central Arunachal are lagging behind.
The second growth driver is electricity. Despite producing excess electricity, the power scenario in the state is erratic, with frequent load-shedding and very low voltage, mostly caused by poor transmission network and infrastructure. Industrial estates do not have 3-phase electricity, forcing industries to run on generators. Industries cannot run efficiently without stabilized electricity. Erratic power supply is adversely affecting tourism due lack of geysers, air conditioners, ATMs, mobile networks, etc. Agri-horti marketing is adversely impacted due non-functioning cold storages. Uninterrupted electricity will also allow students to study and perform better, and more man hours can be gained in all sectors.
The third growth driver is bureaucracy. Streamlined, simplified and clearly laid down laws, policies and time-bound implementation will lead to efficient fructification of schemes and projects. Efficient administration will lead to expedited implementation of projects due to less paperwork, faster clearances and less pre-operative expenses, and thus invite more investments in the state. Today there are more policies, more paperwork and less investment in the state.
A truly single-window clearance system is needed for industrial/commercial development.
There are many more growth drivers. However, for a start, if we begin focussing on and rigorously implementing the growth drivers described above, Arunachal will take off on the path towards development in the next few years.
Don’t we want to see Arunachal as one of the most developed states in Northeast India, if not in India? (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)