Arunachal MLAs to curb border residents’ migration through development

Arunachal Pradesh MLAs from constituencies along the India-China border have come together to prevent the exodus of border residents to urban areas by further developing the 1,080 km frontier area.

Assembly Speaker P.D. Sona, who represents Mechuka assembly constituency bordering China, and will lead the newly-formed “Indo-China Border Development Legislators’ Forum of Arunachal Pradesh (ICBDLFAP)”, on Sunday said that the forum was constituted to formulate plan and strategies to curb the migration of people from the border villages to urban areas.

“The villagers along the international borders are still lacking basic amenities due to which they migrate to urban areas in search of better life and livelihoods,” Sona said on the necessity of the forum, formed following the meeting of the legislators here on Saturday.

MLAs Phurpa Tsering, Mutchu Mithi, and Dasanglu Pul reiterated similar concerns and supported forming “a common platform of legislators of the border areas to emphasise the important issues, as collective requests would be effective”.

MLA Lokam Tassar, convenor of the ICBDLFAP, suggested modifying the guidelines of the existing Border Areas Development Plan, increase of allocation and submission of block-wise utilisation certification, instead of the existing collective one, which, according to the MLAs, “unnecessarily hampers the implementation of BADP schemes”.

The forum would soon submit a memorandum to the Chief Minister Pema Khandu on the issue.

The 11 MLAs of the border areas stressed that the region need to be developed on priority basis in order to check people’s migration.

“The inhabitants of the border villages are considered India’s first line of defence. They have never failed in reporting transgressions by the Chinese troops. In the past few years, there has been a steady migration of the villagers to state capital Itanagar and other urban areas for livelihood. Basically the border areas remained backward owing to topographical factors and inaccessibility,” Tassar said.

To maintain their livelihood, people in the areas chiefly practice diverse trades and profession including “Jhuming” (slash and burn method of cultivation) and wet rice cultivation, horticulture, fish farming, carpet making, wood carving, breeding of Mithun, Yak, Sheep and other livestock.

Apart from China to the north and the northeast, Arunachal Pradesh also borders Bhutan (160 km), and Myanmar (440km).