Itanagar: Facing an uphill task to stop the flight of people from border areas to urban centres in search of livelihood, the Arunachal Pradesh government has urged the Centre to speed up the work of connecting 22 new circle headquarters with roads, porter tracks, log bridges and foot suspension bridges.
The state government maintains that availability of primary health care and education facilities and public distribution system at 22 circle HQs could help in retaining population in border areas, which is also essential to maintain territorial dominance.
While the Centre has agreed in principle to Arunachal’s demand, it is yet to release the first instalment of money. Arunachal Pradesh had asked for Rs2,835 crore over a period of three years for connecting 22 circle HQs with all-weather roads and Rs498 crore towards construction of porter tracks, log bridges and foot suspension bridges.
Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Nabam Tuki said large portions of tract close to the border are inhabited and it is only the presence of a few isolated habitations and small villages of Arunachalis which establishes the territorial dominance of our nation over these areas at ground level.
“We need to implement these projects expeditiously if we want to keep our population in difficult border areas. They are the eyes and ears of the nation in this sensitive area,” Tuki said.
While there are no latest figures available, the urban migration is on the rise in districts of Debang valley, Upper Siang and Anjaw. All these districts share close to 500km border with China and keep witnessing incursions by the Chinese, government sources said.
According to Census figures, between 2001-11, the decadal growth rate in the border districts of Dibang Valley was 9.3%, in Anjaw 13.77%, in Lower Dibang Valley 7% and Upper Siang 5.77%.
The migration is worse in rural areas of Dibang Valley and Upper Siang that share a large border with China. In Dibang valley, rural areas recorded a decadal growth in the negative -20.82 while Upper Siang witnessed -20.82.
“The need to retain native people has become a necessity now, especially in view of the recent Chinese overtures in Changlang in Anjaw or else it might be too late,” a senior government official said.
“Besides providing connectivity, the government needs speedy distribution of PDS that can help retain people in harsh conditions.”