Amid reports of China building villages along the border with Arunachal Pradesh, the northeastern state has taken up a comprehensive project to build infrastructure in villages in borderlands to stop people from migrating from the remote ice-clad areas. The state government has submitted a Rs 4,000-crore proposal to the union home ministry to help build infrastructure in all the border villages.
"The proposal has been already cleared by the ministry after a meeting at the highest level and will now go before the Union Cabinet. Once cleared, border areas will be developed with all amenities so that migration can be stopped," Chief Minister Pema Khandu said in an interview to PTI.
The project aims at building roads, health centers and educational institutions, besides creating new safe water supply schemes and electrifying villages and upgrading mobile connectivity, Khandu said. The chief minister added that he had also requested the Centre for special 4G towers in the border villages. This comes after reports that many border places catch Chinese mobile signals but are unable to connect with Indian mobile or data service providers.
Khandu has been strongly pitching for development of border areas to stop migration of border populace looking for a better quality of life. The Arunachal Pradesh government is also developing three 'model villages' in the Indo-Tibet border areas one each in the eastern, central and one western part of the state.
Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein who is also in charge for finance department, while presenting the state budget for 2021-22 had said, "I am happy to announce a major initiative to develop three Model Villages on a pilot basis in the Indo-Tibet-China border areas one each in the Eastern, Central and one Western part of the State. I propose to earmark a fund of Rs 30 Crore for the same."
"These model villages would serve as pilot projects which will be further expanded to cover many more such villages. The scheme would encompass innovative ways to dovetail social-economic-cultural needs of village life while establishing the model villages," Khandu pointed out.
Responding to a question on media reports about China constructing a second village (cluster of at least 60 buildings) in the state, approximately 6 km within India, the chief minister informed that he had recently visited Shi-Yomi district and had interaction with the personnel of Army, paramilitary forces and local residents of Monigong area, where, reportedly the village was built.
"There is no such development as reported by the army, paramilitary forces and local residents. Whatever construction has happened is within the Tibet-China territory," Khandu added.
The new enclave could be seen in images accessed by a national television channel, from two major satellite imagery providers: Maxar Technologies and Planet Labs, and its exact location was clearly indicated on Bharatmaps, a Government of India online map service.
The reports claimed that the new enclave did not exist in 2019 according to the satellite images; a year later, it can be seen. According to reports Chinese enclave was within Shi Yomi district of Arunachal Pradesh and was constructed between March 2019 and February 2021.
Earlier in November this year, a report of the US Department of Defense confirmed that in 2020, China built a large 100-home civilian village which it said was built on disputed territory between the Chinese Tibet Autonomous Region and Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern sector of the LAC.
In its report to the US Congress, Pentagon said that in 2020 China had built a large 100-home civilian village inside disputed territory between China's Tibet Autonomous Region and Arunachal Pradesh state in the eastern sector of the LAC.
Arunachal Pradesh shares a 1,080-km border with China, 440 km with Myanmar and 160 km with Bhutan. Twenty of the state's 60 Assembly constituencies touch the international borders, 13 of them with China.