On the occasion of Pongtu festival of the Tutsas at Khonsa, headquarters of Tirap district, Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu appealed to all indigenous youth of Tirap, Changlang and Longding (TCL) districts, who have strayed away into insurgency to come back and join the mainstream for a better Arunachal.
“Insurgency is not a solution to any problem. TCL region has suffered a lot due to it. We want peace and we want development,” he said joining the celebration at the Khonsa general ground on April 11.
He said that under the state government’s surrender policy, all such returnees will be taken care of and help rejoin the mainstream. Appealing all strayed youths to come back, surrender and embrace peace, he asserted violence and gun-culture only ends in bloodshed, which nobody wants.
Khandu also took serious note of deaths of innocent civilians in anti-insurgency operations and cited these as serious collaterals of insurgency in the area. He informed that the state’s director general of police has been asked to coordinate with the security forces deployed in the region and evolve a proper SOP to avoid civilian casualties during such operations.
“Both the central and the state governments are serious and committed to bring a solution to this decades-old issue. Peace talks are going on and we put our faith on the central government and all stakeholders to iron out a permanent and peaceful solution sooner than later,” he said.
Observing that the three districts have immense potential for growth of tourism, Khandu assured he would push the central government to open up tourist circuits in the region. He informed that tourist circuits were not offered in TCL by the MHA on the ground that there were not enough police stations in view of providing security to visitors.
“This has changed in the last few years. I myself inaugurated several police stations in these three districts in recent times. Hopefully, the central government will accept our request,” he said.
CM Pema Khandu, however, reminded that boosting tourism in the area and make it a sustainable livelihood will entirely depend upon the local residents. Government, through its various schemes, can just assist but the locals will have to voluntarily put in their efforts if tourism has to flourish, he said.
He called on local entrepreneurs and businessmen to invest in the sector to begin with.
Congratulating the people of eastern Arunachal for having some of the best road networks in the region, Khandu informed of the 27 new road projects worth more than Rs 500 crore recently approved by the Union ministry of road, transport and highways for Arunachal Pradesh.
“Villages still unconnected will be connected through PMGSY or any other scheme in the coming years,” he assured.
Speaking about PMGSY roads, Khandu informed that Phase 1 and Phase 2 are under implementation in the state and Phase 3 will begin next year.
“As a matter of fact, Phase 1 and Phase 2 should have been completed by this March. However, owing to difficult terrain of the state, the central government has given a one-time relaxation and extended the phases till September. I appeal all concerned to ensure that all PMGSY works be completed by September or else the funds will lapse,” Khandu said.
Responding to a common request of the people for development of the Khonsa general festival ground, where all major festivals of the district are celebrated, Khandu handed over the sanction order copy of Rs 20 crore to the local legislator Wanglan Sawin.
He also assured sanction for construction of a Tutsa Heritage Center and a road from Khimyun to Waka via Lazu in the days to come.
The festival was also attended by deputy chief minister Chowna Mein, Lok Sabha MP Tapir Gao, ministers Wangki Lowang, Honchum Ngandam and Kamlung Mossang, MLAs Wangling Lowangdong, Phosum Khimhum, Wanglan Sawin, Zingnu Namchoom and Chakat Aboh.
Earlier in the day, Khandu dedicated the newly constructed Mini-Secretariat, Khonsa, which will house the offices of the Tirap deputy commissioner and other offices.