Flights Of Fantasy
[ M Panging Pao ]
Hamara Arunachal has undergone enormous transformation since the NEFA days. The population increased from 3.5 lakhs in 1961 to about 14 lakhs in the 2011 census and the literacy rate has gone up from 7.13 percent in 1961 to 65.4 percent in the 2011 census. The original five districts have gone up to 28 districts presently. From only one college in Pasighat, there are now dozens of colleges and many universities.
Today, Arunachal has better roads, improved electricity, railways, airports, more schools and colleges, universities, more vehicles, and also more ‘lakhpaties’ and ‘crorepaties’. We have mobile/internet connectivity in most areas, dish TVs, etc. We have air conditioners to remain cool, refrigerators to preserve food, and smart mobiles to do almost everything.
Though our state has progressed on many fronts, there are many other important challenges to overcome and milestones to be achieved. Arunachalis are dreaming for more.
Arunachalis want better roads, electricity, and water supply, and all-weather roads connecting our towns and villages, which will reduce travel time and reduce vehicle damage. We also need more railways and airports for better connectivity. Growth drivers like better roads, railways and flight connectivity will promote tourism and industries, and usher in development.
Citizens want stabilised 24/7 electricity supply. Stabilised electricity supply will boost education, productivity, tourism and industries. Presently power supply is erratic with voltage fluctuations and breakdowns. There is an urgent need for alternative power lines, in addition to the lone 132 kv transmission line which keeps failing.
More industries can be ushered in by better ‘ease of doing business’ policies. The state must adopt a ‘single window system’ for all permissions and clearances. Presently there are multiple windows. Since it is impossible for small industries in the region
to compete with the products of big mainland companies, the state must support local industries with policies like ‘Atmanirbhar Arunachal’ and ‘Vocal for Local’. It should be made compulsory for all government-supported institutions, colleges and departments to procure products from local industries only.
Arunachalis want better schools, better colleges and universities, and better education. There is need for better medical facilities. Though it has improved a lot, Arunachal is lacking behind in specialised medical care facilities. For most specialised medical care and emergency situations we are dependent on cities of Assam like Dibrugarh, Guwahati, etc. There is a need to set up a few more medical college hospitals in the state to cater for these specialised medical facilities.
Arunachalis also want better governance. Better governance will lead to more productivity. Government officials and elected representatives should help common citizens instead of controlling them. Presently, many government officials have become controllers and are exercising excessive control over all aspects, leading to lesser development. Like our prime minister said, we require ‘more governance, less government’!
We dream for atmanirbhar Arunachal, swachh Arunachal, peaceful Arunachal, incredible Arunachal. We want to see Arunachal as one of the most developed and peaceful states of the Northeast and India. (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)