NEW DELHI, April 7 - Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Kalikho Pul called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence here last evening and appealed for a one-time special package to boost the State economy and compensate for years of under-development in the Northeastern State.
The Chief Minister said: �The request for one-time grant must not be considered on economic costs of development involved, but on confidence building initiatives with Arunachal being a strategically located border State.�
The economic package, if granted, would not merely be an investment for development of the State, but an investment for the country, he opined.
Pul�s appeal for special package was based on the report of Dr Raghuram Rajan Committee for evolving a composite development index of States, which identifies Arunachal among the �least developed� States in India.
Without naming China, which stakes claim on Arunachal Pradesh to be its territory, the Chief Minister said: It was time to move beyond the rhetoric of Arunachal as an integral part of India and to initiate real development on the ground. For that to happen, special concession must be granted to Arunachal due to its hard terrain and its strategic importance, he said.
He further requested the PM to waive off population criteria and other national norms that forms the basis of grant of development packages and for implementation of government programmes and policies in the States of India.
Stating that Arunachali people are the vanguard in securing the international borders, and in their presence the country has the legitimate claim over the borders, the CM sought support of the Centre in making these areas habitable.
Picking the �alarming� trend of migration of border communities to urban centres, �resulting in emergence of unclaimed and unoccupied lands that allow for ease of intrusion�, Pul sought support for developing basic amenities such as foot suspension bridges, culverts, water supply, health facilities, education, power and communication reach to prevent such intrusion.
�We must match our development with neighbouring China. Their border areas are well connected with road and airport with all modern amenities, while our side is weak on all terms,� said the CM.
Giving a patient hearing, the PM agreed to provide Centre�s full support and resources for development of Arunachal and said the country�s strength lay in these border areas.
Stressing on the importance of a rail network in foothill areas, the CM urged for immediate development of railway network in foothill towns such as Deomali, Namsai, Tezu, Roing, Pasighat, Likabali, Seijosa and Kimin. In addition, he drew Centre�s attention on further development of rail network in interior pockets as long term plan.
The rail connectivity, if provided, would help farmers and local traders to have direct trade link with all major cities in India. He said Arunachal has tremendous agriculture and horticulture potential but lacks market linkages.
PM Modi said his government would provide all assistance to support growth of horticulture and agriculture. Also assuring his full support on every issue raised, Modi agreed on immediate development of railway network and assured to waive off national norms for Arunachal in implementing government policies and programmes. On a request from the CM, PM Modi readily agreed to pay a visit to Arunachal and said it will be formalised soon.