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09 Feb,2023 07:34 PM, by: Super Admin
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The Land of the Rising Sun, Arunachal Pradesh is famous for its pristine beauty and rich flora and fauna, making it one of the top biodiversity hotspots in India. But it's not just the rich natural resources, or it's equally diverse spread of indigenous tribal communities inhabiting the land since ancient ages which have kept Arunachal in news in recent times. In a span of 6-7 years, Arunachal has taken a turn for a rapid transition into one of the fastest developing states in India.

Prior to the launch of the Golden Jubilee celebration of Arunachal Pradesh in 2022, the state cabinet decided to establish the Arunachal Pradesh Infrastructure Financing Authority for expediting the infrastructural development projects in the state. Under this new establishment, the inauguration, and completion of 365 physical infrastructure projects within a time period of 20th January 2022 to 20th January 2023 was planned.

Following this ambitious decision, we look at some of the landmark infrastructural development projects undertaken in Arunachal Pradesh in the last year.

Donyi Polo Airport

The foundation stone for Donyi Polo Airport was laid in February 2019 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, followed by its completion and inauguration on 19th November 2022. It is North East India’s first Greenfield airport, located in Hollangi, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh.

Boasting 2,300 meters of runway, the airport spans across 690 acres of land with a peak handling capacity of 200 passengers per hour. The project cost stands at a whopping Rs. 640 cr. Commercial airline Indigo started operations on 28th November 2022, with more routes being added gradually. In addition, two new routes were introduced by Alliance Air, extending up to Ziro and Pasighat respectively, by connecting to advanced landing grounds available in those regions. 

Project Vartak: Sela Tunnel

The under-construction Sela Tunnel is being established in the West Kameng District of Arunachal Pradesh and is located between the Tawang and West Kameng districts of Arunachal Pradesh. The project commence in February 2019 with the laying of the foundation stone by PM Modi and was expected to be completed in June 2022. However, owing to technical challenges faced during winter, the completion deadline for the Rs. 700 crore project was later revised and shifted to coming April 2023.

The project is implemented by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) under Project Vartak, at a height of above 13,000 feet, and will be the longest bi-lane road tunnel in the world upon completion. The road tunnel measuring about 3000 meters (9,800ft) will ensure all weather connectivity between the main lands, i.e. Tawang and forwarded areas. The new Austrian Tunneling Method (NATM) is being implemented for the construction of the tunnel, making it accessible for transportation at a much faster and smoother pace in all weather conditions, especially during the harsh winters.

Project Vartak: Nechiphu Tunnel

One of the first established projects of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and the initial function of this project was to construct and maintain roads between Bhalukpong and Tenga. Later, its task developed to construct and maintain roads in Arunachal Pradesh and the adjoining districts of Assam.

The Nechiphu Tunnel’s foundation stone was laid by Rajnath Singh on 12th October 2020, whereas its excavation work has been completed by the Border Road Organisation (BRO) on 20th May 2022. The new Austrian tunneling method (NATM) has been utilized for construction at a faster pace. The Tunnel is located at an altitude of 5,700 feet and is a D-Shaped 500 meters long.

Kameng Hydropower Station

Situated in Arunachal Pradesh’s West Kameng district, 600MW Kameng Hydropower Project was dedicated to the nation by PM, which is developed by the state-owned North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO).

The 600MW Kameng HPS is the 6th hydropower plan in the Northeast inching toward the Green and Clean Energy Initiative. The project is touted as a major step in the direction of fulfilling the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) of Govt. of India under the Paris Agreement 2015 and is anticipated to contribute to India’s goal of 30000 MW worth of hydro capacity by 2030.

It was established at a cost exceeding Rs. 8450 crores.

Siyom Bridge

One of the 27 projects by the Border Roads Organisation, the Siyom bridge was inaugurated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on 3rd January 2023. It is a significant improvement in India’s border infrastructure especially across the Chinese border from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh. The Siyom Bridge is situated along the Along – Yinkiong Road and will escalate the movement of heavy equipment and mechanized vehicles. The economic and social benefits of Siyom Bridge for the local communities are an addition alongside military significance.

Miao Vijaynagar Road

As per the data put forward by the Arunachal government the Miao – Vijaynagar road’s construction for development began in the year 1966, but the completion of the ambitious Miao - Vijaynagar road is nearing its completion under the BJP rule in the state led by Chief Minister Pema Khandu.

Vijaynagar is one of the most remote administrative circles sharing international boundaries with Myanmar on three sides. The distance from Vijaynagar to Miao in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh is only 157 km away and is the nearest navigable road. The project known as the MV Road is one of the most ambitious road projects in Arunachal Pradesh. Since a part of the road passes through the Namdapha National Park, the completion deadline of the project was delayed owing to the need for realignment work. The state Govt has allotted an additional sum of Rs. 39 Cr for the realignment process. Once completed, the MV road will connect the easternmost part of the state, which has the potential to become a major tourist destination.

Alongside all of these development, there are various upcoming developmental projects that will be of strategic importance once accomplished. Some of them include -

·      The Bhalukpong to Tawang road along the China border and from Silapathar to Along via Bame.

·      A proposed Toy Train in the hilltop town of Tawang by Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR).

·      The proposed East–West Industrial Corridor Highway which runs along the lower foothills of Arunachal Pradesh.

·      The Trans – Arunachal Highway, which is yet to be surveyed.

The development of India's northeastern region has long been a major concern albeit for the last 6-7 years, where we have seen some significant improvements. A state like Arunachal apart from its geo-political importance has a lot to offer with its rich natural resources and culture, giving on a whole new ambit to the region which is the gateway to South-East Asia and beyond.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Critical Script or its editor.

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