Amid expectations that several state governors may be soon asked to put in their papers, Arunachal Governor Lt Gen (rtd) Nirbhay Sharma has written to the PMO seeking its direct involvement in many development activities for the North-East, which in effect, would bypass the ministry for development of North-East Region (DoNER).
The DoNER ministry is now headed by Gen (rtd) VK Singh.
“Considering the multiplicity of agencies, huge financial outlay and urgent timelines, the decision-making, coordinating and monitoring mechanisms have to be streamlined and integrated further. Their ‘centre of gravity’ has to shift from Delhi to the respective state capitals or at least to the North-East with a direct access to the PMO,” Sharma said in his letter. HT has a copy of the letter.
“The relationship between the ministry of DoNER, the North-Eastern Council, and their interface with the PMO, Planning Commission and the respective states is another issue that needs clarity. This, to my mind, is the crux of the problem and has to be addressed.”
In the vital road construction sphere, crucial for Arunachal’s development, Sharma says: “There is perhaps a case for an integrated road development agency for the state (Arunachal) to ensure better coordination and efficiency. The agency may be monitored by the PMO directly.” DoNER did not respond to HT’s queries.
Road development is lagging behind badly in the hilly state that borders China. Citing the deficiency in infrastructure, the Governor pointed out that most of the road heads are more than 50-70 km from the Line of Actual Control (LAC), against China’s roads which ‘almost’ touch it.
Another issue Sharma highlighted was the danger of ‘thinning’ of the border areas in Arunachal with continuing migration of people to lower heights.
“The issue needs to be addressed urgently or else, apart from a constant threat of ingress, gradual assimilation of our area by China is along the cards, on the lines already witnessed in North Myanmar,” Sharma said in his letter.