Border areas need to be developed: Antony

Itanagar: Stating that all border areas need to be developed, Defence Minister A K Antony today said secure and non-porous international borders must remain the topmost priority of the Centre.

"We are aware of the challenges which people living in border areas face and it is our collective duty to ensure that our border areas are developed as any other part of the country," Antony said here.

Referring to the highly-sensitive nature of the state, he said that the importance of a secure, non-porous international border must continue to be the topmost priority area of the Centre.

"Arunachalees have always been known to be fiercely patriotic and yield to none in their love for the motherland," Antony said while addressing the silver jubilee celebration of statehood day of this frontier state here this morning.

The proposals submitted by the state government to PMO and Planning Commission to provide connectivity to 22 unconnected administrative centres, construction of foot suspension bridges, log bridges and porter tracks in border areas, as well as providing drinking water facilities in border areas are highly relevant and will definitely be given a serious consideration, he added.

Considering the strategic importance of the state which shares 1,680 square kilometres of international border with China, Myanmar and Bhutan, the defence ministry had taken a decision on the funding of land acquisition for the company locations of the first battalion of the Arunachal Scouts and early operationalisation of all the Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) in the state, the minister disclosed.

"We have also decided to set up National Institute of Mountaineering and Adventure Sports (NIMAS) at Dirang in West Kameng district and the ministry has already cleared the raising of the second battalion of the Arunachal Scouts," he informed.

The NIMAS will definitely motivate the local youths to take up adventure sports in large numbers, he added.

Clad in traditional Nyishi attire, Antony said he was surprised to see the fast pace of development in the state in recent years.

The Centre and the state government were making concerted efforts to ensure all-round development of the state and many ambitious projects have already been sanctioned with more in the pipeline, he disclosed.

"We need to focus on specific areas like infrastructure development, tourism, agriculture, horticulture and police modernisation. The Prime Minister massive package announced for the state during 2008 will develop and modernise the state in the years to come," he pointed out.

With Arunachal poised to be the future power house of the country, he said after operationalisation of various under-construction power projects the state could earn revenue to the tune of Rs 10,000 crores annually.

"However, the real challenge lies in ensuring that these projects get implemented as per schedule and distribution of this wealth among the people of the state is equitable," he said while pointing out that ecological concerns should also be taken care of.