Govt considering promotion of indigenous fests: CM

YAZALI, February 27, 2018 

The Rain God blessed Nyokum – at its 50th year of central celebration at picturesque Yazali here this year and Chief Minister Pema Khandu along with Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein not only donned but lived the life of a proud Nyishi for the day. Sporadic downpours added to the taste of the misty millet – Poliing!

“NyokumAne is happy with her children and is showering her blessings from the heavens,” said Khandu, dressed as a Nyishi warrior, to the huge crowd of festival revelers on Monday.

Lauding the Nyishis for preserving their rich cultural heritage and taking pride of their roots, Khandu said Arunachal Pradesh is lucky to have them as one of the most populous communities and leading from the front for the rest to follow.

He appealed the community to set an example in preservation of the state’s rich and varied cultural heritage so that the world comes to Arunachal to witness and savour its unique identity.

Khandu observed that the indigenous festivals like Nyokum can be promoted for cultural tourism and the state government is actively considering the option. He said sufficient fund provisions will be kept in the next budget for celebration of local festivals by all tribes of the state.

“It is indeed praiseworthy that the organizers of this festival have not sought any financial help from other sources but have voluntarily contributed to it,” he pointed.

Nyokum, this year, was organized by the villagers of Talo under the Chairmanship of TokoJyoti, who is a chief engineer with the state government’s PHE&WS department.

Khandu while dwelling upon few programs initiated for welfare of the people and development of the state said that connectivity is the only panacea to all hurdles of the state on its way to self-sufficiency. He requested people not to demand or expect huge land compensations for road projects but sacrifice for a better future of their children.

On the recent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Itanagar and expectations of the people, Khandu said Modi is unlike any prime minister the country ever had.

“It is but natural for the people to expect some financial package from the PM but Modiji is different. He doesn’t believe in making announcements but in actual work. He has been kind enough and is helping Arunachal grow as required. He will always there when needed,” he asserted.

Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein also had words of praise for the Nyishis. He viewed the effects of globalization cannot be stopped but can be compromised without compromising with the state’s distinct cultural identity.

“Nyishis have kept alive their great legacy. We, the other tribes of the state, need to learn from you!” he said.

Mein, who also holds the Finance portfolio, informed the people of the pain being taken for preparing the ensuing budget of the state.

“We are painstakingly preparing the state budget with several consultations and pre-budget meetings. Recently we had a fruitful meeting with all community based organizations of the state. Our objective as well as commitment is to deliver a pan-Arunachal budget that will cater to each and every need of each and every community of the state,” he assured.

Both CM and DCM earlier paid their respects to the Nyokum deity at the altar to the chants of the priests.

According to festival organizing secretary Biki Bath, this year the Nyokum at Yazali has gone pure ‘organic’. He informed that the main stage, pandals, huts and all houses in the festival ground have been constructed from locally available bamboo by the villagers themselves.

“We haven’t hired any material from outside for construction of the main stage as is a practice. Except for the lights and sound everything is organic…even the cup for drinking and plate for eating are made of bamboo,” Bath added.

Meanwhile, several pioneers and prominent personalities like Late TomoRiba, Late Tadar Tang, Late OmemMoyongDeori, BengiaHemonto, Bengia Tab, NabamTata and others were felicitated on the occasion. A veteran of two wars, 1965 and 1972 – TabaChada, a retired army personnel and few pioneering priests were also felicitated by the chief minister.

A pan-Arunachal effect was given to the colourful cultural program of the day wherein cultural troupes from various communities of the state like Monpas, Galos and Khamptis performed their traditional dances. Indigenous games and sports also marked the celebrations.

Besides local legislator LikhaSaaya, several former legislators, officers and community leaders were present on the occasion.

 

 

MoS Power directs state to electrify every village by May

ITANAGAR | February 21, 2018: Union Minister of State (IC) for power and New & Renewable Energy, Raj Kumar Singh today chaired a review meeting of power sector with the senior officers of the state government here today in presence of Chief Minister Pema Khandu, State Minister for Power Tamiyo Taga and Tourism Minister cum APEDA Chairman Jarkar Gamlin.

The Union Minister directed the officials present to expedite the work to electrify every village in the state by 1st May 2018. He said atleast 10% of houses in each village must be electrified within the deadline.

Singh announced a special package of Rs 925 crores for strengthening of power transmission and distribution system in the state. This fund will be used for re-conductoring of old 11 KV lines and conversion of selected long LT distribution lines with 11 KV High Voltage Distribution System (HVDS).

He appealed the department to focus on cutting down losses and advised the fund sanctioned to be used primarily for the said purpose.

Informing that centre has assured 24×7 power for all by 1st April 2019, the Union Minister urged on the need to move away from regime of ‘load shedding’ to regime of ‘No Load Shedding’. He said it is necessary for the country to reach to the level of ‘no load shedding’, which is a sign of a developed nation.

Expressing concern over slow execution of work in rural electrification by the contracting agencies, the Chief Minister informed on the decision of the state government to depute APEDA under the supervision of the Deputy Commissioners to execute all the remaining electrification works relegating the contractors to supply of equipment.

He said Arunachal remains a big ‘stumbling block’ in achieving Prime Minister’s goal for electrifying every village by May 2018. Of the 900 unelectrified villages across the country, about 600 villages are in Arunachal, he added.

Earlier Commissioner Power Kaling Tayeng made a detailed power point presentation on power sector of the state.

Prime Minister visits Arunachal twice in three years

ITANAGAR, February 15, 2018  

Chief Minister Pema Khandu today assured Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the BJP Government in Arunachal Pradesh will give account of every penny granted by the central government and that the government in the state has changed since his (Modi’s) visit to the state in 2015.

Modi was in the state capital Itanagar on Thursday and inaugurated the Dorjee Khandu State Convention Center, dedicated the State Civil Secretariat Building to the nation and laid foundation of the academic block of the Tomo Riba Institute of health & Medical Sciences (TRIHMS).

Speaking at a public reception in honour of the Prime Minister at I G Park here, Khandu pointed that the present BJP government in the state took root from Modi’s fiery speech during his last visit in 2015, when the state had a Congress government. Modi had warned that the central government will make States accountable for every penny granted by the Center.

“It is the responsibility of Team Arunachal to give account of every penny spent from the government exchequer and we will do it,” Khandu asserted.

The Chief Minister also asserted that despite abundant resources, Arunachal Pradesh is still a resource-crunch state due to lack of proper and sound policies implemented by the earlier state governments.

“Our youths have the potential to excel in all fields and take the state forward rapidly. We need to give them opportunity through programs and policies and a corruption-free government,” he said.

Expressing gratitude to the Prime Minister for taking time out from his hectic schedule to visit the state twice in three years, Khandu said no other Prime Minister ever did that. He said due to Modi’s love and care for the North East, the dynamics of the region has taken a complete overhaul.

Khandu said during the erstwhile regime of the Congress, North Eastern States had to visit New Delhi at least twice a month with their respective issues and problems. However, after the Modi government assumed office at the Center, New Delhi comes to the North East at least once every month, he pointed.

“Since 2014, hundred-plus visits have been made to the North Eastern States by union ministers along with their officers to resolve issues pertaining to respective states,” Khandu said.

Citing connectivity as the only means to all round development of the state, the Chief Minister emphasized the need to have an airport in the state capital. He requested the Prime Minister to consider sympathetically to the proposal for a greenfield airport at Hollongi near here.

He also sought assistance for revamping and restoring old government infrastructure like offices, quarters and other assets that were built during the NEFA times and have long outgrown their shell life.

Meanwhile, Khandu reiterated his stance to have a separate cadre of civil service officers for Arunachal Pradesh.

“Ours such a distinct state with so many tribes and history. Civil service officers come here to serve only for two years at a stretch. They don’t get enough time even to understand how many tribes are here and their issues. How can they contribute to their capacity in resolving issues and support the government to take the state forward?” he questioned.

“Give me a dedicated cadre of civil servants specific to Arunachal Pradesh and I promise to change the face of Arunachal Pradesh,” Khandu added.

Also present on the occasion were Arunachal Pradesh Governor Brig (Dr) B D Mishra (Rtd), Speaker T N Thongdok, Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, Union MoS Home Kiren Rijiju, MoS DoNER Jitendra Singh and state’s UD, Housing Minister Nabam Rebia, Assam MP Ramen Deka, Arunachal East MP Ninong Ering and State BJP President Tapir Gao.

Govt to consult citizens in preparing budget

ITANAGAR, February 17, 2018 

Chief Minister Pema Khandu this morning held a detailed pre-budget meeting with Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, who is also the Finance and Planning Minister, and reviewed minutely the proposals and allocations to be included in the Budget 2018. Also present were Chief Secretary Satya Gopal, Development and Finance Commissioner Ashish Kundra, Secretary to CM Sonam Chombay and officers of the Finance and Planning departments.

The meeting discussed the various inputs received through the series of pre-budget consultative meetings held by the Finance Minister and Finance Commissioner in various forums and levels. It was decided that the Government will further consult with all the community based organizations and other stakeholders before finalizing the budget, which is to be placed in state legislative assembly in its session scheduled from 9th to 16 March next.

Meanwhile, in order to take suggestions and inputs from the common citizens, the Chief Minister along with Finance Minister launched the interactive website by the Finance Department www.arunachalbudget.in, which presents the info-graphics of the Budget 2017-18.

The main objective of the just-launched website is to facilitate participation of the common citizen in preparation of a wholesome budget for the next financial year. In order to encourage people’s participation, the state government has kept cash prizes for the best three suggestions or inputs. While the best suggestion will get a cash prize of Rs 50000, the second best suggestion will be awarded Rs 30000 and the third best suggestion will bag Rs 20000.

Launching the website, Khandu said this is a first in the history of Arunachal Pradesh, wherein a common citizen is being given an opportunity to shape and write the annual budget for the state.

“We are committed to take Arunachal forward with the Team Arunachal mantra and each and every citizen of the state is a member of Team Arunachal, who has the right to shape the future of Arunachal Pradesh,” he remarked.

Khandu earnestly appealed all, especially those with experience and knowledge, to submit their suggestions online through the portal and become contributors in shaping the road map for development of the state along with the government.

Central team assessing damages in state

ITANAGAR, February 12, 2018  

A seven-member inter-ministerial team of the central government on disaster management, headed by Prakash, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, this morning called on Chief Minister Pema Khandu at his offices. The team is on a two-day visit to the state to assess the losses caused by natural disasters in the state and submit a report along with recommendations to the Central Government.

Parliamentary Secretary for Disaster Management Kaling Moyong, Chief Secretary Satya Gopal and Secretary Disaster Management Bidol Tayeng were also present during the call on.

The Chief Minister while welcoming the team to Arunachal Pradesh iterated that natural calamities and the heavy losses caused by it is a perennial problem being faced by the state due to its unique geographical and topographical features. With limited resources of its own, the state, he said, has to depend mostly on central government aids to repair and restore the damages and losses.

“Besides heavy damages to our infrastructure, last year we lost more than 40 precious human lives due to natural calamities that cannot be accounted in terms of monitorial aids,” he observed.

While requesting members of the inter-ministerial team to assess the damages and its corresponding losses in the right perspective, Khandu suggested that the team visit the state immediately after the monsoons to witness the havoc created by natural calamities like landslides and floods in reality.

“Our monsoons are long and heavy– from April till September – and causes undue sufferings to the people by washing away important infrastructure like buildings, roads and bridges. With more than half of the population living in interior and mountainous landscapes, relief and rehabilitation process are slow and tedious,” he informed and expressed optimism that the team would highlight the problems and issues specific to Arunachal Pradesh in their report.

Team leader, MHA Joint Secretary, Prakash admitted to the unique position of Arunachal Pradesh in terms of recuperating from the losses. He cited recreating damaged infrastructure as one of the biggest challenges for the state in disaster management.

“We understand that costs of construction materials get doubled or even more by the time these reach the site. We will keep this in mind in our recommendations to the Central Government,” Prakash assured.

He also seconded the Chief Minister’s suggestion and said the state government may submit its report by September – end of monsoon season – so that the Inter-Ministerial team could visit the state to assess the losses by October when the damages are still fresh.

Chief Secretary Satya Gopal informed that this year the damages due to natural calamities have been assessed at Rs. 1037.61 crores as on 31.12.2017. In the last seven years the damages had amounted to more than Rs.11 thousand crores against which the state received only about Rs.700 crores as central assistance in the form of SDRF and NDRF and this has resulted in accumulation of about Rs 10 thousand crores over the years, he added.

The Chief Secretary requested the central government to consider a comprehensive package for restoration as well as mitigation fund to the state government to meet up the huge gap that has been accumulated over the years.

The Inter-Ministerial Team later had a detailed meeting with all concerned departments of the state government, wherein each of the line departments explained in detail about damages and losses caused to their respective departments during last year by natural calamities.

The central team is scheduled to visit flood-ravaged districts of Lower Siang, East Siang, Lower Dibang Valley, Lohit and Namsai tomorrow. The team today surveyed the damages caused in and around the twin capital cities of Itanagar and Naharlagun.

Members of the Inter-Ministerial Team include Dr K Manoharan, Director, Department of Agriculture, R B Kaul, Asst Director, Ministry of Finance, Vishal Pandey, Asst Executive Engineer, MoRTH, Pawan Kumar Gupta, Asst Director, Ministry of Power, Suresh Chandra Sharma, Senior Consultant, Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation and B B Saikia from Ministry of Water Resources.

 

 

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CM inaugurates state’s first artificial football turf

ITANAGAR | February 12, 2018

Chief Minister Pema Khandu today inaugurated the ‘Artificial Football Turf’ here at Sangay Lhaden Sports Academy in presence of his cabinet colleagues, Sports Parliamentary Secretary Nyamar Karbak, legislator colleagues and officials from the sports department.

Earlier on his arrival at the football ground, the Chief Minister was given a rousing reception by students of Sangay Lhaden Sports Academy.

He met the Arunachal football team that represented the state in the Junior (U-19) National Football Championship for BC Roy Trophy held this year. The Chief Minister congratulated the team for making it to the semi-finals, where they had lost to Jharkhand.

The Chief Minister later kicked off an inaugural friendly football match played between CM XI and the Arunachal Football Association, which was won by the latter with 3-2 goals.

The scheme for the artificial football turf was approved in 2010-2011 under Panchayat Yuva Krida aur Khel Abhiyan (PYKKA) for Rs 450 lakhs during former Chief Minister late Dorjee Khandu.

The centre in that year also approved Rs 500 lakhs for Hockey AstroTurf for Sangay Lhaden Sports Academy. About 75% work is completed for Hockey AstroTurf and is expected to complete by the end of this month, as per the department source.

CM hails Christian contributions to state

Chief Minister Pema Khandu today hailed the Christian community of the state for the contributions made in molding the society and professing peace and communal harmony, the basic necessities for all round development of the state.

Attending the 7th General Conference cum Election of the Arunachal Christian Forum (ACF) at Christian Revival Church (CRC), Papunallah here, Khandu specifically lauded the Forum for leading from the front and being the torch bearers of the Christian community that forms a major chunk of the state’s population.

“I have personally known and have been following the leaders of ACF and its activities. Over the years I have seen that its leaders are mature, decent and disciplined as true Christians and their active involvement in day to day life of the people in general and the society in particular has been of immense impact. As I congratulate the would-be new leaders of the Forum, I also congratulate the outgoing leaders for their stupendous performance while in chair,” Khandu said.

He expressed optimum faith that the Forum under the new leadership would continue the legacy of their predecessors and spread the message of Christ, which is love, peace, harmony and religious tolerance.

Khandu also praised the Churches of various denominations that have presence in the state saying the role of Churches in evolution of a matured society is immeasurable. He appealed Church leaders as well as all religious leaders to preach good values of life in making a better individual as their followers have utter faith on them and would never go against their teachings.

He specifically highlighted the influence of Churches that can be utilized efficiently to defeat corrupt practices in life, governance and politics.

“Churches should take lead in the fight against corruption that roots up from electoral politics based on money culture. If involvement of money in elections can be rooted out, corruption will fade out eventually. If Churches preach believers to desist from money laundering in elections, the first war in the battle against corruption would be won,” Khandu asserted.

Khandu also advised all religious bodies not to confuse between religion and politics, which he asserted should be kept away from each other.

The Chief Minister reiterated that the state government is committed to the welfare and development of each and every community of the state irrespective of their religious affiliations.

Former Chief Minister Nabam Tuki was also present on the occasion besides several leaders from the community and Churches.

CM meets families affected by Dirang fire

Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Thursday met the families affected by the fire accident that had occurred here in West Kameng district on 27 January.
At least 50 houses and shops were razed by a devastating fire in the market area here, which is thickly crowded and lined with houses and shops on both sides of the road. Though no human casualty was reported, loss of property worth several crores of rupees has been unofficially estimated.
Putting up at temporary relief camps and with relatives, the victims of the mishap are slowly rebuilding their lives.
Taking stock of the relief and rehabilitation measures initiated by the district administration and the departments concerned, Pema expressed solidarity with the victims and offered the government’s assistance in rebuilding their lives.
Interacting with the victims and the people of Dirang in general, the CM said he constantly monitored the relief and rehabilitation operation through the district administration.
“I was in constant touch with local legislator Phurpa Tsering and gave him a free hand to extend support to the victims,” Pema informed.
He lauded those who assisted the personnel from the fire brigade, the SSB, the NDRF, the NIMAS and the district administration in dousing the fire. The CM assured that compensation for the losses incurred would be given to the victims after the district administration has submitted the assessment report.
Admitting that the official compensation would be meagre compared to the actual losses incurred by the affected families, Pema said he along with the local MLA would find ways to add to the official compensation, so that the affected families at least get compensated at par with their losses.
He appealed to the people to be “extra cautious” with regard to fire as burning firewood and lamps is an integral practice in the state, especially in the highlands.
The chief minister also noted that the absence of a fire station in Dirang is of concern, and said the state government is aware of it. He said the process for establishing a fire station here, with sufficient firefighters and fire tenders, would be initiated at the earliest.
As a personal contribution for the rehabilitation of the affected families, Pema donated Rs 10 lakh, and promised to provide more in the days to come. He also called on everybody to donate voluntary for the cause.
Officials of the district administration and public representatives were also present during the interaction.

Over Rs 40 Cr. distributed to landowners as Army compensation

TAWANG, FEBRUARY 7

Chief Minister Pema Khandu today distributed compensation to the tune of Rs 40,80,38,400 to the landowners from Bomja village whose lands were acquired by the Indian Army.

Distributing land compensation cheques to the 31 landowners at a development meeting held at Lhou village in his home constituency Mukto, the Chief Minister said 200.056 acres of lands were acquired for housing Key Location Plan Units of Tawang Garrison of the Indian Army.

The highest compensation was handed with a cheque amount of Rs 6,73,29,925 followed by cheque amount of Rs 2,44,97,886. The other 29 beneficiaries were each handed with cheque amount of Rs 1,09,03,813.

Khandu informed that more such compensation for lands acquired for defence purposes are being worked out with the centre. He thanked Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for sanctioning the long overdue land compensation.

The Chief Minister said the state is now moving on right track under PM Narendra Modi. He said with support from centre, Arunachal is witnessing rapid development with great focus on connectivity – rail, air, digital and road. He said soon Tawang will be connected with rail and informed that the Union Budget this year had made allocations for construction of tunnel under Sela pass, which will cut down travel time by an hour.

The Chief Minister further spoke on the one-year achievement of the state government. Within a year, the present government has made tremendous achievements in administration, health, education, connectivity and other sectors. He informed that all big pending projects such as civil secretariat, assembly building have been completed and projects such as convention hall, highways will be completed soon.

RWD Parliamentary Secretary Jambey Tashi, Tawang MLA Tsering Tashi, ZPC Jambey Tsering and Tawang DC Sang Phuntsok also spoke on the occasion.

Earlier ADC Lobsang Wangchu Bapu presented a brief report on development under Jang sub-division.

During the daylong meeting, colourful cultural dances were also presented by school children and artistes from villages of Jang-Mukto constituency.

Also present on the occasion were Commander of 190 Mt Brigade Brigadier MP Singh.

Tawang gets rhododendron park, NIC

TAWANG | February 6, 2018

Chief Minister Pema Khandu today inaugurated the Nature Interpretation Centre (NIC) here, established and managed by forest department.

Addressing a formal function, the Chief Minister said the objective of this centre is to help people develop a better understanding of nature and said that development of the area should not result in upsetting the ecological balance. It is of paramount importance that development should be low-impact and not result destruction of nature, he added.

Thanking the forest department for the initiative, the Chief Minister suggested such NIC centres must be spread in other districts too where there are huge forest covers. Such centres will sensitize people about nature conservation and help them admire its beauty and other benefits of nature. He further asked the department to identify more areas for development of similar forest parks in the town.

To meet the manpower shortage, the Chief Minister directed the department to send a proposal to be cleared immediately in the cabinet. He further informed that the state government has created several posts for tiger protection force, which will be recruited from unemployed local youths.

The Chief Minister also directed the department to develop its 32 forest guesthouses for development of tourism and suggested both the department to work together on this matter.

Earlier the Chief Minister visited the NIC exhibition centre that has information display on wild flora-fauna and wetlands of Tawang district supplemented by audio-visuals facilities. The centre has also sections on wildlife, rhododendron species, flora, high-altitude lakes and Monpa culture.

The Chief Minister also inaugurated the forest park – ‘Nature Walk’, a facility developed adjacent to the NIC for visitors to learn about trees, shrubs, flora and fauna of the region. He suggested the department to also have facilities for bird watching by planting fruit bearing trees to attract birds.

RWD Parliamentary Secretary Jambey Tashi, local MLA Tsering Tashi, PCCF Omkar Singh also spoke on the occasion.