Vibrant issues of Arunachal Pradesh on its extensive travelling

February 12, 2022 by No Comments


My extensive traveling across Arunachal Pradesh (AP) from 2002 to 2010 has exposed me to its terrain, soil types, settlement pattern of people especially along the border with China. After that, I had documented the following ideas in my memoirs about a decade ago. 

1.The state has vast potential for growing fruits like oranges, pineapples, apples, and kiwi-fruits; vegetables like tomatoes, bitter & bottle guard, leafy varieties, and spices such as ginger, tejpat, large cardamom, chilly, black pepper & garlic. But marketing is still a constraint. The Rail link of AP along Bhutan may be strengthened for travel and transport. 

2.The areas in the valleys of the River Siang and Dibang are surplus in food grains and the entire AP may be self-sufficient if managed properly. To cut down the cost of the Public Distribution System (PDS) especially the huge transport subsidy; FCI may procure at MSP and store in local godowns and release from there for the PDS requirements if any. 

3. AP due to its flora, fauna, and forest cover of about 80 percent, moderate temperature, and scarce population density may become Switzerland of India. But the condition of the inner line permit (ILP), poor law & order, and ban on purchases of land by outsiders are the main constraints. The captive Tourism model of Ethiopia in Africa through private players may be worth trying in a few big natural tracks of the state. 

4.The state has vast potential for hydropower which is not been fully exploited and used so far. Even installed capacity is not utilized due to lack of local demand and transmission network. High electricity consuming industries like basic chemical and Metal may be preferred in the state. 

5. After the 1962 war and the recent Dolan, Galvan, and other ongoing conflicts; India is facing the biggest threat from China as perceived by our defense experts and the Chief of the army. It is also professed that all-out face-to-face war is not the way out. Hence, the population settlements may serve as the best antidote against the neighboring enemy country. A similar strategy was adopted by the British army around the 1880s for settlement in the canal colonies of the Layalpur area in Pakistan. Ex-army men were given land grants varying in size from 50 to 600 acres for rearing horses. Hence they were known as Ghauri Pals. Their horses used to be purchased by the British army and the settlers served as informers too to check local uprising. Initially, transfer rights were not granted and sub-letting was prohibited. But later on in 1908 that these rights were conferred on a majority of the tenants. 

 I observed that up to 100 km of the along China border, there is scarce or no civilian population in the border districts of AP. With an eye on this track, China has developed infrastructure on their side up to the borderline and they are settling their people too. But this aspect was not followed up by India but thanks, the central budget 2022-23 has recognized and announced the Vibrant Villages Programme along the northern borders.  It has aptly included activities like construction of village infrastructure, housing, tourist centers, road connectivity, provision of decentralized renewable energy, direct-to-home access for Doordarshan and educational channels, and support for livelihood generation.  No sooner did this program may be extended to the border in North East by settling ex-army personnel. The strategy of long leases like the British army may be adopted by our army to check the local protest if any.  These farms may grow fruits and vegetables as well as rear yak, mules, and milch animals for the requirement of our army. 

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Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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