Itanagar to be connected by air in 2015, says Arunachal CM

    By Prashant Sood, IANS,

    Itanagar : Arunachal Pradesh’s capital is expected to come on the aviation map of the country in 2015 with a civilian airport coming up in its proximity, Chief Minister Nabam Tuki said here Friday.

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    Talking to a group of visiting media persons on issues concerning his state, Tuki also said 90 percent of contracts had been given for the construction of a trans-Arunachal highway linking 11 districts in the state.

    He said work would begin this year on construction and restoration of some advanced landing grounds (ALGs) in the state.

    Tuki said the state had so far realized less than one percent of its hydroelectric potential of 58,000 MW but contracts had been awarded to boost power production.

    Answering queries, Tuki said the old sites for airport in Itanagar had been found to be technically unfeasible and land had been acquired at a new site at Holongi, 18 km from Itanagar, close to the border with Assam.

    He said that some cases had been filed in court concerning acquisition of land at the new site and he expected the matters to be sorted out soon.

    “The airport would be completed in two years. It should be completed by 2015,” he said.

    Asked about Chinese incursion in state’s Chaglagam area earlier this month, Tuki said that patrolling parties from both sides go along their own perception of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

    “They had come and have gone. There is no official report that they have occupied territory. Our parties also go and come,” he said.

    He said steps were being taken to boost infrastructure along the LAC including construction of roads under central schemes.

    Tuki said 90 percent of contracts had been awarded for the 1,400-km trans-Arunachal highway and it was slated to be completed by 2016.

    On hydroelectric projects, Tuki said Arunachal Pradesh had never opposed environmental norms but insisted on early clearance from the central government.

    He said the existing hydro-electric potential was 405 MW which was less than one percent of state’s hydro-electric potential of 58,000 MW.

    Tuki said three hydro-electric projects with capacity of 2710 MW were in the pipeline and technical clearance had been given to projects for production of 16,000 MW power.

    Tuki said 150 projects had been allotted in the state for producing 46,000 MW power.

    The state, he said, had 40 percent of country’s hydro-electric potential.

    Answering another query, he said work would begin this year for making advanced landing grounds operational at sites including Ziro, Passighat, Walong, Tuting and Mechuka.

    The advanced landing grounds are considered of strategic importance in the wake of reports of China ramping up its infrastructure along the LAC. Some of these advanced landing grounds will also be used for civilian purposes.