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Tuki cosies up to BJP to ensure funds flow

Itanagar, July 20: Arunachal chief minister Nabam Tuki is in constant touch with Prime Minister Narendra Modiís cabinet ministers to keep central funds flowing to the frontier state.

After a bitter election campaign, which saw Modi taunt Tuki at a political rally in the state capital, the Arunachal Pradesh chief minister skipped the Prime Ministerís swearing-in ceremony in May.

However, of late, relations between the two have thawed after Tuki called on the Prime Minister on June 27 at 7, Race Course Road, with a bouquet of flowers.

The peace offering appears to have worked, with Modi having agreed to provide a domestic window for funding of infrastructure projects in lieu of externally aided funding from agencies like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

In the past, China has successfully managed to prevail over the two international funding agencies, stalling several vital projects in the border state.

Now, with Arunachal West MP and minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju being part of Modiís team, procuring funds for development projects in the state may not be a difficult task.

Tuki, who is currently in New Delhi, met Rijiju on July 18 to review the status of highways and other road projects in Arunachal Pradesh.

An official statement from the state public works department said the Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari has delegated Rijiju to look after road projects in the northeastern states except Assam, which would be under the care of Lakhimpur MP Sarbananda Sonowal.

The Union minister informed Tuki and other officials that the ministry of home affairs has made provisions for additional funds under the Border Area Development Programme for Arunachal Pradesh and requested that the state government identify projects, which need to be undertaken.

He also said a ministry of home affairs official would visit the state to finalise the list of projects to be taken up under the programme.

Rijiju also proposed that a survey of foothill roads across Arunachal Pradesh be carried out from Bhairapkund near the Indo-Bhutan border in West Kameng district to Ruksin in East Siang district near the Assam-Arunachal boundary, traversing the Bhalukpong, Seijosa, Tarasso, Kimin, Dollungmukh, Kangku, Likhabali and Nari areas.

Transport ministry officials are said to have agreed to conduct a feasibility study and prepare a detailed project report in the current financial year. If this road project does turn into reality, it would be independent of the ambitious 1,412km Trans-Arunachal Highway project, which was announced by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh back in 2008.

Tukiís newfound bonhomie with central BJP ministers has led to minister of state for environment and forests Prakash Javedekar agreeing to exempt forest clearances within 100km of the stateís international border.


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