The NDA government plans to spend Rs 5,000 crore to encourage villagers come and settle in areas along the border with China in Arunachal Pradesh.
A senior official asserted that the Centre intends to use this amount only for developing civic facilities such as schools, healthcare and power-sector for villagers. Due to lack of infrastructure and other amenities, border population along China has been pushed at least 50 kilometres away with people abandoning their homes and settling in the foothills. Officials said locals migrated the most in the past five years due to lack of infrastructure and the open areas gave a fillip to several Chinese transgressions.
Minister of State (Home) Kiren Rijiju, who also belongs to Arunachal Pradesh, has made his intent clear to develop the disputed bordering areas with China. The MHA will approach the Finance Ministry for a special package to develop infrastructure in those areas.
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While Rs 24,000 crore has already been earmarked to develop border roads and border outposts for the security forces, around Rs 5,000 crore extra money would be spent on measures to encourage people to settle in the border areas.
In an earlier interview, Rijiju had said, “The negative policy of the past — that the border should be closed, not be accessible to civilians, not be developed — will be done away with. We have come to the conclusion that we must initiate steps to enhance our capacity, manpower and developmental activities along the border. Fences cannot be there; there is no demarcation.
“If we have adequate manpower guarding those areas, there will be no chance of their forces transgressing. A massive road network, telecommunication, landing ground and facilities to be created for security forces, amenities and access to people. Why should people be restricted from going till the border areas?”
The MHA is already working on the plan, conceived during UPA’s tenure, to double the presence of Indo Tibetan Border Police force in Arunachal. Around 54 new outposts are to come up along the border and the number of security personnel will be increased to 30,000.