Indian Army connects Arunachal border areas | Pragmatic planning turns odds into advantages along LAC

Beyond the Horizon

By Pradeep Kumar

Kibithoo, one of the easternmost villages in Anjaw district of Arunachal Pradesh, close to the Line of Actual Control with China, is being developed under the Centre’s Vibrant Village Programme  as seen in picture.

Denwa Meyor, 40, and Kunchok Dolma Meyor, 29, are residents of Kibithoo, one of the easternmost villages in Anjaw district of Arunachal Pradesh. Inhabited by people of Meyor tribe, it is located about 7-8 km from the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the contested line that separates India and China.

Their husbands work as porters with the Indian Army, like many men here. Denwa has two children, a 13-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son. Her daughter is in a hostel in Hayuliang, about 135-km away, as Kibithoo’s school runs only until class-VIII and English-medium education is limited in the area.

Kunchok has a two-and-half-year-old son. He plays in the sun, oblivious of his mother’s worry about his education. “We want better education near our home, and in English,” says Denwa. The State-run hostel costs ₹60,000-₹70,000 a year and making the monthly trip to see her daughter is expensive. Over the past year, the village of about 130 residents has witnessed its primary health centre and residences of the schoolteachers being upgraded and concrete tracks being laid under the central government’s Vibrant Villages Programme (VVP).

Nijum Manyu, 32, a contractual government teacher from Tezu, 245-km away, who got his first posting in Kibithoo three years ago, says there are four teachers, and the school is being renovated, with a new badminton court as well.

The Army’s demarcation: For administrative purposes, the Army classifies Arunachal as Kameng, derived from the name of the river that flows through the state. Tawang district is part of the Kameng area, while the remaining part of the state is considered separate and was earlier referred to as the Rest of Arunachal Pradesh (RALP), the report added.

Turning odds into advantages to herald a Naya Savera(20-02-07)

There is no denying that things move at a snail’s pace in Arunachal Pradesh for various reasons; but what Lohit deputy commissioner P S Lokhande had launched Jan-Suvhidha, an ambitious project, to make delivery system effective in his remote and flood-prone district.

The computerized system, first of its kind in the state, aims at ensuring transparency and efficiency as well as offering better and quick services to the public in tune with the state Govt.’s commitment to people-friendly governance, as reported by this editor on 20.02.07 – Turning odds into advantages to herald a Naya Savera, in his “In Retrospection’ column .

The days for delays for any petty official job would be passé for the people with the proposed scheme providing all facilities to the citizens through a ‘single window system’. The babus would be made accountable through this monitoring system.

The new system would make available various certificates, including birth, death, succession and arms license besides the available services of offering ST and permanent residential certificates, identity card, inner line permit (provisional & group) at the quickest possible time.

Standard application forms for different services are being worked out for implementing the brilliant scheme for receiving applications and issuing certificates. It would minimize processing steps. This would reduce the period for accomplishing the job and develop a monitoring and reporting mechanism to enforce accountability, explains the scheme brochure.

Besides processing and recording every administrative work-out through computer action, validation of application forms at the receiving counter and time specification for response; the mechanism is the first tangible step towards e-governance.

The IAS officer, who served the state commissioner recently, had proved beyond doubt the common adage—‘It is not machines but the men behind the machines who matter—true by overcoming the hurdles of remoteness, communication hazards, fund paucity and other difficulties common through out the state. His innovative ideas have been successful in motivating the people who became willing partners of development, thanks to the initative of district’s lone lawmaker Kalikho Pul.

Kaho, a village along Indo-China-Myanmar border, which could be reached through a day-long trekking from Kibithoo, has 24-hour power supply from a 10-MW micro hydel project that also caters to the need of the Army deployed in the border, while even the state capital Itanagar faces intermittent power cuts. R K Joshi, SE, hydropower development department, scripted the Kaho success story by sheer determination and will power to prove—‘Where there is a will, there is a way’. It is now operated by the villagers.

Naya Savera has also dawned on Anjaw, carved out of Lohit, where Lokhande is the DC too. The people of the two land-locked districts are being benefited after Lokhande with his trusted lieutenants, like ADC R K Sharma launched the massive awareness video-cum-demonstrative programme appealing to the masses ‘chodo kalki baaten, aayahai Naya Savera, which  aimed at inculcating the habit of consuming safe drinking water and sanitation practices for a healthy life.

Thirty ignorant and illiterate villagers had fallen prey to diarrhea in both districts in August 2004 ringing an alarm bell and prompting the district administrations to intensify the Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission, National Rural Health Mission, Sarva Sikshya Abhiyan, Mission Malaria Control and various schemes under district planning to benefit the masses, who have been fending for themselves for years in the absence of basic medical care and educational facilities.

Banking on the community spirit of the people of this tribal state, Lokhande used this as the central focus to implement all schemes which yielded results soon after the people realized the benefits and involved themselves willingly.

Over 1,43,000 people of both districts slowly but steadily joined the process with the support of all elected leaders, namely Kalikho Pul, Chowna Mein, C T Mein, Karikho Kri and Chow  Pinthika Namchoom, panchayat leaders and the officials. The ‘go ahead’ signal and guidance from the chief secretary and commissioners was the key to success. The results are for anybody to assess and suggest any improvement, Lokhande added.

A comparative achievement during 2004 to 2007 records that the number of children out of school which was 8,400 came down to 3,700, immunization percentage went up from 31 to 70 and annual parasite index lowered from 52 to 29. Moreover, student health card was introduced in 52 primary schools covering 8,000 students to record their monthly health status by teachers and three-monthly by visiting doctors. This pilot project is proposed to be extended to both the districts this year. The National Book Trust conducted 50-odd book exhibitions and facilitated opening of 130 readers’ clubs in primary schools to encourage reading habit. The concept of disaster management control room under single roof had proved to be a boon during the recurring annual floods which should be emulated by other districts as advocated by former state DGP Amod K Kanth. A computerized railway reservation counter was set up at Tezu, while another counter has been proposed for Hayulinag. A maiden Parsuram Express has been proposed from Patna/New Jalpaiguri to ferry pilgrims up to Tinsukia for the famous kund during Makar Sankranti.

Recognition of the pioneering works came from then state Chief Minister Gegong Apang, who praised Lokhande before handing over the flag of Anjaw district after laying foundation stone of the new district HQs at Hawai on 14.02.07.

It may be recalled here that it was Pul who had led a team of senior officers and journalists to Kibithoo to witness the ground realities and how odds were turned into advantages to herald Naya Savera by pragmatic planning.

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