NAMSAI, 22 May: Union minister Kiren Rijiju on Sunday claimed that the successive Congress governments at the Centre did not want to build proper roads in the villages of Arunachal Pradesh along the India-China border as they feared that the initiative could facilitate the passage of army personnel from the neighbouring country into the frontier state.
Addressing a public rally here, Rijiju, who represents the Arunachal West parliamentary constituency in the Lok Sabha, stated that the scenario changed after the NDA came to power at the Centre, with the Narendra Modi government ensuring that motorable roads get built along the border.
“Former defence minister AK Anthony had openly disclosed in Parliament that the governments, since independence, stuck to the policy of avoiding road construction along China border out of fear that Chinese army and people would move in to the Indian territory and disturb peace.
“It is with this mindset, the successive governments at the Centre ruled the country for decades without thinking about the development of people in the border areas,” the law minister said.
Rijiju added that the prime minister has entrusted him with the responsibility of ensuring that every development scheme reaches the last mile and the last person.
“We did not want to distort the relations with our neighbouring country, while also ensuring that steps were taken to protect every inch of our territory. With this thought process, the prime minister started making plans, and today we are witnessing the light of development,” he said.
The minister called upon the elected representatives of the state to join hands with the prime minister in his mission to develop the Northeast.
“Earlier, the situation in Northeast was pathetic as most prime ministers and their cabinet colleagues treated the region as an extra territory… an extra subject. But things changed after NDA came to power.
“It may be a cabinet meeting or an important government function, the PM first asks for suggestions to develop the northeastern states through implementation of various schemes. All villages in Arunachal Pradesh are now connected by roads, electricity and water supply – something that was a distant dream a decade ago,” he added. (PTI)