The sun seemed to shine especially for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when he arrived in Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday and proceeded to rain sops on the frontier state. But the climate of uncertainty remained vis-à-vis China's claim to Tawang, with the BJP alleging he changed his itinerary to skip the region for “obvious reasons”.
It had been snowing and raining heavily across Arunachal Pradesh for over a week. The sun, however, appeared hours before the PM was to address a rally of over 6,000 people in state capital Itanagar. It was searing down by the time he opened his sop box.
The projects he announced included Rs 550 crore electricity-for-every-home scheme, Rs 400 crore for flood relief, Rs 245 crore for connecting Itanagar to the nearest railhead at Harmuti in Assam, a 1,840-km four-lane trans-Arunachal highway connecting all district headquarters, a brand new airport in Itanagar and reopening of four non-operational airports at Tezu, Pasighat, Daporijo and Along.
Singh also laid the foundation stone of NHPC's 3000MW Dibang Multipurpose Project and NEEPCO’s 110MW Pare Hydroelectric Project. “These projects would help Arunachal Pradesh generate a revenue of Rs 300 crore,” he said.
The PM, though, avoided something many in Arunachal Pradesh wanted to hear — the fate of the state in the wake of Beijing's “revised” claim on Tawang. “This trip could have been a strong signal to China, particularly with the PM having visited Beijing two weeks back,” said a Congress MLA from the Tawang-West Kameng belt.
The PM, however, would visit the Indo-Tibetan border in Anjaw district on Friday if the weather permits.
BJP parliamentarian from Arunachal West, Kiren Rijiju, felt the PM’s visit was meaningless without any commitment on the boundary issue. “No project, however big, matters unless the PM ensures the territorial integrity of Arunachal Pradesh and comes out with a concrete resolution rejecting Beijing's claim,” he told HT from Taipei.
Rijiju alleged Singh was initially scheduled to visit Tawang, but changed his itinerary under Beijing’s pressure.