The March 7 edition of The Arunachal Times would not hit the stands on account of
Holi. This daily wishes its esteemed readers and advertisers a very happy
ITANAGAR, Mar 05: The Governor of Arunachal Pradesh Lt. Gen (Retd) Nirbhay Sharma
has extended festival greetings and good wishes to people of the State on the festive
occasion of Holi.
In his message, the Governor said that the festival of Holi marks the arrival of
spring and the myriad colours of Holi reflect the cultural diversity and heritage.
The Governor wished that the festival of colours strengthen faith in the cherished
traditional values and promote oneness, harmony and the good of all.
Chief Minister NabamTuki has also conveyed best wishes to the people on the auspicious
occasion of Holi, the festival of colours. In a message on eve of the festival celebrated
across the country, Tuki expressed optimism that celebration of the festival would
further strengthen the bonding between people of various communities and religion.
While observing that Holi festival has an ancient origin, celebrating the triumph
of 'good' over 'bad', the Chief Minister wished that the colorful festival would
bridge all social gaps and renew sweet relationships.
"Let the colours of Holy fill our lives with colours of happiness, prosperity and
harmony," he added in the message.
NABARD workshop for NGOs
ITANAGAR, Mar 05: A state level workshop for NGOs of Arunachal Pradesh were conducted
by NABARD Itanagar Regional Office on "SHG- Bank Linkage Programme" and "Producers'
Organization" in a City hotel here today.
Representatives of 15 NGOs participated in the workshop.
GM/OIC, H.S Singh and Dinesh Raina, DGM NABARD Itanagar Regional Office led the discussions
on various issues affecting slow progress in SHG/JLG bank linkage programme in the
State. The participants had highlighted various practical problems in credit linkage.
The NGOs were encouraged to promote product-based SHGs keeping in view the higher
success rate of such SHGs in Arunachal Pradesh.
Further, it was agreed that graduating the groups to POs/ Federations and promoting
JLGs could be taken up in a planned manner to scale up such activities in the State.
For collecting field level information on activities of the groups the use of digital
pen technology was also mooted.
Anupam Pattanayak, Manager, Kamal Roy, APM and Nitya Mili, APM of NABARD were also
present in the workshop. From NGOs side, representatives from CLDC, Manghi Welfare
Society, NYP, NNCS, Rural Development Society, Rural Development & Heritage Society,
Seva Kendra, Women Development Centre, Young Mission Adventure Club, SPARD, Brand
Arunachal Multipurpose Co-operative Society, NEDWS, R K Mossang Memorial Society
and Mecha Welfare Society attended the workshop.
Pledge to work for Protection of Child
ITANAGAR, Mar 05: The Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Right (ASCPCR)
in collaboration with UNICEF, observed the Child Protection Day on 4th March in Guwahati.
The Chief Justice of Guwahati High Court Justice K. Shreedhar Rao inaugurated the
celebration wherein Dy. Director, UNICEF India David Machlolin was present.
The discussion was focused on strengthening the adoption process followed by addressing
the child marriage, protecting child from labour and trafficking and finally the
Right to Education Act, 2009.
Chairperson Mitali Tingkhatra and Oter Ering Tayeng, Member of Arunachal Pradesh
State Commission for Women (APSCW) and Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Protection
of Child Rights (APSCPCR) pledged to always work for the protection of children against
all form of abuse and ensure their rights, and together adopted Guwahati Charter
of Action on Protection of Child Rights, which would be submitted to Government of
India through National Commission for Protection of Child Right (NCPCR).
Media fraternity condemns intimidation
ITANAGAR, Mar 05: Condemning the continued misdemeanors and irresponsible behaviour
by persons claiming to be members/affiliates of the All Arunachal Pradesh Public
Transport Federation (AAPPTF) against members of the state press, the Arunachal Press
Club, Arunachal Pradesh Union of Working Journalists and Arunachal Electronic Media
Association have taken a unanimous decision to reinstate the blanket ban on the said
Despite repeated meetings and assurances that the current factionalism within the
said federation will not lead to any attacks on the press, recently some members
claiming to represent the federal units of the federation barged into three media
houses and intimidated the press persons. It has therefore, been decided that it
is in the best interest of all concerned that no press release/advertisement/circulars
relating to AAPPTF and its affiliates will be entertained by media houses affiliated
with the Arunachal Press Club. The decision is effective immediately and is binding
until notified otherwise.
E-Kiosk launched at Tawang
TAWANG, Mar 05: The E-Governance initiative of the government received a significant
boost in Tawang District with the inauguration of E-Kiosk in Jan-Suvidha Branch of
DC office, by Tawang, Deputy Commissioner Abhishek Dev.
Elaborating on the initiative, the Deputy Commissioner informed that the public of
the district will be able to access a host of services like Govt. websites, Generation
of Aadhar Number, CBSE results, Online Bank transactions etc. through the Kiosk which
is connected with NIC internet. In addition, the public can also pay their mobile
and DTH Bills and recharge their accounts through the Kiosk at minimal service charges.
The District Administration has also added other useful information on the Kiosk
like the District Telephone Directory, link to District Website, NFSA Beneficiary
List and Electoral Rolls details for the easy access and convenience of the public.
Drug peddler apprehended
DAPORIJO, Mar 05: Dumporijo police nabbed a women allegedly involved in peddling
ganja in the town.
A police team led by OC Dumporijo PS, Talo Rebi on Monday apprehended the woman who
had brought the ganja from Silapathar, Assam. A total of 300 grams of Ganja was recovered
from the women.
A case has been registered under the section 20(b) and 27(a) of NDPS Act 1985, R/W
34 IPC and the woman has been detained under police custody.
Earlier, the police team nabbed three persons involved in a theft case and recovered
a Scooty and 14 grams of ganja from their possession. Through interrogating the thieves
it was revealed that, the women had supplied the ganja. Eventually the police swung
into action and nabbed the women.
Relief material for victims
ITANAGAR, Mar 05: A joint team of Galo Students' Union (GSU) distributed relief materials
to the victims of the 3rd March fire accident in Tadiin village under Kombo circle,
West Siang District, in which altogether 14 houses and a church were completely gutted.
The unions have appealed to Chief Minister to sanction necessary relief under CM's
Relief fund at the earliest.
The Union appealed to the West Siang district administration through the media to
immediately provide rice mills and CGI sheets to the victims. The victims have also
highlighted shortage of potable drinking water. The visit was led by its General
Secretary Binya Ronya and its Spokesperson Marli Kamki and newly elected executive
members of West Siang District Students Union (WSDSU) led by its General Secretary
Postpone Mela at Khonsa
ITANAGAR, Mar 05: All Tirap District Students' Union (ATDSU) expressed their dissatisfaction
to the district administration for giving permission to organise Mela in Khonsa town
and demanded the administration to postpone the Mela programme till the end of CBSE
The union said that organizing of Mela in a small town like Khonsa in these days
would distract the students and the sound pollution created by the Mela would also
disturb their preparation for their Examination.
Awareness campaign on wild life
ITANAGAR, Mar 05: A series of awareness campaign on wild life protection was conducted
under the guidance of 7th Daporijo, Sigin ZPM, Tayon Mothu recently. More than 12
villages were covered by the PRI leaders including the daily market at Gandhi and
New Market in Daporijo. Stressing the importance of wild life animals in ecological
balance, ZPM appealed to the public to stop hunting. He also encouraged them to devote
in agriculture and horticulture for self sustenance.
Org asks Govt to stop use GPF
ITANAGAR, Mar 05: The Arunachal Youth Organisation (AYO) today asked the state government
to stop using government provident fund (GPF) of employees. In a letter addressed
to the chief minister, organisation questioned on what ground the government is using
GPF of the government employees. Condemning the state government for announcement
of funds for newly created districts, it opined that proper infrastructure needs
to be created for the districts. It also castigated the government over poor management
of sports claiming that the faulty policy was reflected in the Northeast game medal
CYO for banning of pork meat
ITANAGAR, Mar 05: Expressing apprehension over rapid spread of swine flu in India,
the Capital Youth Organisation today requested the Capital Complex Deputy Commissioner
to ban selling of pork. In its letter it claimed that despite ban on selling of
pork by the administration, a large number of pork is still being sold in the twin
capital. It also asked the administration to deal strictly with the violators.
Union condemns girl's death
ITANAGAR, Mar 05: Claiming that body of girl was found at one Okang Duggong's rented
house at B Sector Naharlagun on Wednesday, All Sagalee Youth Federation today urged
the authority to punish the accused responsible for her death. The federation claimed
that there may be foul play involved as the body was found lying on the floor with
bruises on her elbow. When contacted the police station Naharlagun confirmed about
the incident and informed that a case was registered under 302 section of IPC. It
further informed that investigation is on and the girl's body was sent for post mortem
and the accused was arrested based on the FIR of the victim's relative.
RCH camp held
Seppa, Mar 05: The District Health Society Organized Reproductive and Child Health
Camp at 18-Mile, Seppa, East Kameng yesterday.
A total of 164 patients got themselves checked including immunization to 12 children.
Body weighing scales were also distributed to the ASHAs of the area.
The team of doctors who carried out the camp comprised of DRCHO Dr.Kaya Lapung, Dr
T.J.Tara MD, Dr.K.Gyadi, Dr.K Sophing and other Para-Medical staffs.
Dr Lapung explained about NRHM and its services in rural areas. There were also deliberations
on institutional delivery and family planning, importance of early and exclusive
breast feeding and immunization, preventive measure to be taken for Swine Flu. (DIPRO)
INC clinches the Zilla Parishad bye-poll
KALAKTANG Mar 05: Returning Officer for the 03- Kalaktang- Balemu ZP Bye- Poll W.
Khimhun declared Tashi Norbu, INC candidate as duly elected to post of ZPM with a
winning margin of 250 votes over his BJP rival.
The Bye elections for the 03- Kalaktang-Balemu Zilla Parishad constituency under
West Kameng district was held on March 2 in a peaceful manner.
Of the total 4035 electors, a total of 3189 voters including 12 VEDs cast their vote.
90 polling and 69 security personnel's had manned the 18 polling stations along with
regular magistrates and 7 sector magistrates. The voting percentage recorded was
For the peaceful conduct of the Bye-Poll, one platoon of District Police, 1 Platoon
of 4th IRBN from Jully, 1 Company of 4th IRBN from PTC and 1 Platoon of CRPF for
guarding the Strong Room was pressed into service.
The District Election Officer and Superintendent of police attended the counting
held at Kalaktang auditorium.
Yupia Mar 5: District Level Consultative Committee(DCC), District Level Review Committee
(DLRC) and District Level Security Committee (DLSC) meeting to review and discuss
the performance of banks in the district was held today at DC's office Yupia.
While interacting with banking officials DC Tai Kaye reiterated on need for maintaining
proper co-ordination between all banks and line departments for providing better
service to the public.
KVIC, Itanagar Executive Officer said that it is top priority to help the unemployed
youths of the state and to make them self reliant through PMEGP programme. He also
requested the banks to discuss and to keep constant touch with the concern line departments
who select beneficiaries.
Issues pertaining to PMEGP loan, FLC and its report, Sampoorn Vittiyea Samaveshan:
Pradhan Mantri Jan Dan Yojana(PMJDY) its allotment of villages and SSA to banks and
security problems were discussed.
Representatives from RBI, all private banks, officers of Line departments, BDOs attended
the meeting. DIPRO
Unions resorting to extortion through bandh call: Byaling
NAHARLAGUN, Mar 05: Arunachal Pradesh Home Minister Tanga Byaling today expressed
concern over mushrooming of unions and organisations throughout the state saying
they (unions) are resorting to extortion through bandh calls.
Responding to a question by Congress member Pani Taram during Question Hour in the
Legislative Assembly here, Byaling said the police department had taken adequate
steps to contain the menace of bandh culture.
"No one has the right to curtail the liberty of the people through bandh calls,"
he said, adding the issues could be settled through negotiation and bandh enforcers
should adopt other means of protest including dharnas, instead of bandhs, which badly
affect the people.
To a supplementary on why action was not initiated by the government on unions and
organisations resorting to extortion, the state Home Minister said the police failed
to initiate action for want of written complaints.
Stating that as per available records, there were 5,328 registered societies under
the Tax and Excise and the Registrar of Societies, besides 29 others under the Labour
Commissioner and the Registrar of trade unions in the state, Byaling said many organisations
were not registered and made absurd demands, which were impossible to fulfill, resulting
in bandh calls.
He said there was no specific policy in respect to the unregistered unions and added,
"In order to curb the menace of extortion, the state government has made functional
an anti-extortion cell at the police headquarters under the SP, Special Investigating
BJP member Japu Deru, in a supplementary appreciated the Unlawful Activities Prevention
Act, 2014 enacted by the state government last year and said it should strictly be
Responding to Deru, Byaling said cases have been registered under the Act. While
responding to a starred question of MLA Tumke Bagra, Public Health Engineering and
Water Supply Department Minister Takam Pario informed the house that during 2014-15,
no rural drinking water supply schemes have been sanctioned till now. However, administrative
approval has been accorded for 757 number of schemes during the year.
An amount of Rs 1934.05 crore have been received from Government of India under SPA
during 2011-15, Chief Minister Nabam Tuki informed the House while responding to
the question of Olom Panyang. Responding to the supplementary raised by Japu Deru,
the Chief Minister further said "we have been pursuing the Centre for release of
fund meant for the state."
Responding to a question of Tesam Pongte, Rural Works Department Minister Kumar
Waii informed the assembly that a total of 154 projects have been approved/sanctioned
by the Centre from 2011-2015. He further informed that full amount of 342.25 crore
has been released by the state Govt to the ARRDA. PTI/ATNS
3-day Assembly session begins
Tuki presents Vote on Account for 4 months
ITANAGAR, Mar 05: Chief Minister Nabam Tuki today presented the Vote on Account (estimated
expenditure ) for four months beginning 1st April, 2015 for the financial year 2015-16
along with the Supplementary Demands for Grants for the current financial year 2014
While presenting the vote on account for four months and the Supplementary Demands
for Grants for the current financial year 2014 -15 in the first day sitting of the
fourth session of the Arunachal Pradesh Sixth Legislative Assembly, Tuki informed
that the Vote on Account has been fixed at Rs 371.22 crore under plan and Rs 1415.08
crore under non plan, adding the estimates of expenditure in the Vote on Account
for 4 months are based on salaries, wages, pension and other essential revenue expenditure.
The Chief Minister told the house that the annual plan outlay for 2014 -15 was originally
fixed at Rs 4915.00 crore at the budget estimate level, but due to estimated deterioration
in balance from the current revenues (BCR) because of increase in non plan revenue
expenditure, the latest estimate of the annual plan for 2014-15 has arrived at Rs
4500 crore with a shortfall of Rs 415.00 crore.
He said that the non plan revenue receipts of revised budget estimates for 2014 -
15 has been finalized at Rs 3080.87 crore, while the non plan revenue expenditure
of revised estimates for 2014-15 stands at Rs 4482.87 crore. The increase in the
non plan revenue expenditure is largely due to expenditure on payment of salaries
at enhanced DA of 107%, enhanced allocation of pension payments, payment on enhanced
wages expenditure on Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, payment of liabilities on
Public Distribution System, Air Freight, higher allocation for purchase of power
and maintenance of infrastructure, office expenses etc, he said, while informing
that the non plan capital expenditure has been finalized at Rs 473.07 crore of which
a large part of this is due to loan repayment to the extent of Rs 286.75 crore.
Expressing hope that there will be major changes in the pattern of assistance from
the GoI from the next financial year, Tuki said that in respect of various centrally
sponsored schemes, the sharing pattern may undergo a change with states sharing a
higher fiscal responsibility for scheme implementation. The details of changes in
sharing pattern will be worked out on the basis of available resources from the Union
Finances as the Planning Commission has been replaced by NITI AYOG, the CM said and
informed that the details of these changes are yet to be received which are necessary
for preparing the budget estimates of 2015-16. Tuki further informed that the state
is likely to receive major assistance in the form of Untied Funds under share of
central taxes as there has been a fundamental shift in the pattern of assistance
to Arunachal Pradesh under the Fourteen Finance Commission.
Other issues in the day one of the three day session included announcement of panel
of chairmen for the current session by the Speaker Nabam Rebia. The members included
- Kameng Dolo, Tumke Bagra, Lombo Tayeng and Wangki Lowang.
Besides the question hour and presentation of Vote on Accounts, the house witnessed
the laying of the Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for protection of Child Rights
Rule, 2014 by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Wanglin Lowangdong, presentation of
the third report of business advisory committee by the Speaker and presentation of
the first report of the select committee of the sixth Legislative assembly of Arunachal
Pradesh by Education Minister Tapang Taloh. Later the Speaker adjourned the house
to meet again on March 9 next. DIPR
Quotes of the day
1. Union ka naam par kafi extortion ho raha hain---- Pani Taram
2. Ye jo union hain panika tarah barta ja roha hain --- Minister Tanga Byaling while
replying to the supplementary of Pani Taram
3. Question to bohut hain aur aage question nehi karunga --- Tage Taki to Speaker
4. Pehele bar sadan mai itna lomba question puchna suru kiya- CM while pointing to
Heavy rain, hailstorm lashes Siang valley
RUKSIN, Mar 05: Heavy shower followed by turbulent winds lashed Siang valley and
adjoining areas of neighbouring Assam. The intermittent heavy downpour lasted for
the last two days and today turned to heavy hailstorm and created havoc at Pasighat,
Ruksin, Nari, Mebo of East Siang besides Jonai, Laimekuri, Telam and Silapathar in
Assam. The hailstorm also damaged several acres of agricultural crops in the region.
It also affected the power supply in Jonai, Ruksin and Pasighat area for the day.
However, there is no report of any loss of life or major devastation in any part
of the region.
The hailstorm lasted for several hours today halting movement of passenger vehicles
along the NH-52, while it forced private vehicles to move at a snail's pace with
headlights. The early spring rain has caused water logging in the low lying areas.
The Ruksin Gate portion of Mirem-Mikong-Ruksin road has been filled with muddy water,
creating immense problems for the commuters.
Kapu is Open Defecation Free
Kapu, Mar 05: Kapu gram panchayat under Tirpa district has been declared as Open
Defecation Free (ODF) gram panchayat.
In this regard a daylong programme on declaration of Kapu as ODF gram panchayat was
jointly organised by the Village Water Sanitation Committee (VWSC), Kapu and PHE
& WS Division, Khonsa at Kapu on March 5.
Block Coordinator, PHED Khonsa, Napong Kangnong, highlighted aim and objective of
the programme. He informed that a Gram Panchayat is declared ODF if it achieves 100
percent coverage in sanitary toilets. Lampang Wangsa, Consultant, PHE & WS Division,
Khonsa explained concept and component of sanitation. He stressed on safe handling
of drinking water, disposal of solid- liquid waste, personal hygiene and village
Resource person, Datnya Aphi, teacher, Govt Secondary School, Kapu briefed on relationship
between health, water and sanitation. She added that the Individual Health and hygiene
is largely dependent on adequate availability of drinking water and proper sanitation.
More than 50 kinds of disease and 80 percent of sickness are due to lack of potable
water supply and good sanitation facilities for the disposal of human waste. Indiscriminate
open air defecation is the cause for transmission of diseases like cholera, dysentery,
typhoid and worm infections. Sanitary disposal of human excreta prevents the transmission
of these diseases which can be done through construction of sanitary latrines. There
is, therefore, a direct relationship between water, sanitation and health.
Doi Tarak, Consultant, PHE & WS Division, Khonsa congratulated the people of Kapu
Gram Panchayat for achieving ODF status. He informed that the declaration of ODF
village is a part of Swachh Bharat Mission (G) under its sub-component of Individual
Household Latrine (IHHL). He disclosed that a GP is declared ODF when it achieves
100% coverage in IHHL and Kapu GP has 94 households having 100% access to sanitary
toilets. He further added that the declaration is being made to bring awareness among
the mass towards importance of water and sanitation in life. He informed that the
aim of ODF GP is to safeguard the health, dignity, privacy and security of women,
children, aged and all people in the village and that no one should defecate in the
open and even child faeces be disposed off in the toilet alone. Moreover, he encouraged
the gathering to gear up for Nirmal Gram Puraskar (NGP). He further disclosed that
the assets created under drinking water supply through NRDWP have been handed over
to the Kapu GP and it is the duty of Kapu people to shoulder responsible for operation
and maintenance. Nonglin Ngowa, Laboratory Technician (LT), PHE & WS Division, Khonsa
and gave demonstrative training on how to use and measure the chemical reagents while
handling the Field Test Kit(FTK) for water quality testing. Representing PRIs of
the GP, Musen Sumnyan, ASM, Kapu; Honye Nokbi, GPM, Kapu also spoke on the occasion.
Chairing the programme, Ngamwang Lowang, Chief of Kapu village explained the participants
to give important and attention to such kind of training for the welfare of community
and stressed on "water is life and sanitation is health". He expressed his gratefulness
to PHE & WS department for organizing such motivating programme.
The programme was attended by all PRIs, public and Govt Officers of the block.
Papu River feasible for river boating, says experts
SEPPA, Mar 05: In what could be termed as a boost for tourism in majestic Papu Valley
of East Kameng district, the Northeastern Overseas Pvt Ltd, a city based adventure
private company in its report gave a green signal for any kind of river boating in
Papu River. Recommendation of feasibility of boating at Papu River came after Parliamentary
Secretary for Tourism, Mama Natung deputed an expert team comprising of Northeastern
Overseas Pvt Ltd, Managing Director, Roberto Miyu, Tourism Information Officer Jaimer
Jairam and local youth Hassang Tok recently for a preliminary survey. The team successfully
conducted a trail run with inflatable motor mounted boat between Seba and Sede village
stretching near about 10 kilometers.
The company in its report said that the stretch between Seba and Sede is viable for
any kind of river boating, however it added that an approach road is required from
the starting point. It also said that all type of boating is feasible in the meandering
river and the motor boating can run smoothly both up and down stream. At the same
time, the company also said that the debris in the river needs to be removed for
Expressing pleasure over the recommendation, Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism,
Mama Natung, who is also the local MLA stated that the introduction of motor boating
in Papu River will not only boost the tourism sector in the district but also generate
revenues for the department.
"Besides spawning entrepreneurship, the introduction of motor boating will turn the
valley into adventure tourist hot spot with the prospect of tourist inflow doubling
up" Natung added.
"The water way communication would also be beneficial to the adjacent villages' opined
Natung. However, he further said to realise the dream project, the department needs
to work on infrastructural developments. It is hoped that if the tourism department
gives green signal to introduce motor boating based on the report, the valley would
turn into tourist hub in the district.
The introduction of motor boating at Papu River would be first of its kind in the
entire state. And for the valley it will be another feather on its crown for promoting
tourism potential, which popularly is known as the 'rice bowl' of East Kameng. Papu
valley is 35 kilometers off Seppa town.
Arunachal matters beyond the China threat
Recently, with China characteristically acquisitive of Arunachal Pradesh (protesting
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's February 20 visit to the border state), the Indian
media, too, followed script. It followed script in waking up from its cyclical stupor,
realizing an entity known as Arunachal Pradesh in fact exists; it must, given, after
all, China is contending over it, yet again. The media reported China's vitriol indulgently:
That China continues to consider the Indian state disputed territory was the news
of the day.
But Arunachal matters to India for reasons beyond the China threat. And news organizations
purporting to cover all of India ought to be awake the year round, reflecting Arunachal's
intrinsic worth through coverage of its internal issues.
It hardly needs being said how insulting it is for anyone to be told he matters only
in relation to his big, always-talked-about neighbour. This is the reality Arunachalees
face. The media's indifference towards Arunachal's internal affairs, however, is
perhaps unsurprising given not one national paper has a bureau in all 80,000 square
kilometers of the state. The implication is that Arunachal's 13 lakh people do not
matter for who they are: Arunachalees, Indians; 13 lakh individuals with 13 lakh
stories, all irrelevant.
Of course, the reality of Arunachal Pradesh is entirely different-as would be obvious,
and as I can personally attest from four months of reporting from the state.
Arunachal is home to exciting achievements. These are literary: The state is home
to the likes of Mamang Dai, a Padma Shri laureate, and Yeshe Dorjee Thongchi, a Sahitya
Academy awardee. These are linguistic: The state is home to 90 languages, more than
that in any other state in the country. These are sporting: Genung Tekseng, for example,
won an archery gold medal in the recent National Games. Tekseng has been selected
to represent India in the Asian Archery Cup in Thailand later this month. These are
agricultural: The state just won the 2013-14 "Krishi Karman Commendation Award" for
overall grain production-for a third consecutive time. All of these and other achievements
merit the national media's attention.
The state faces critical questions about its future-and the media ought to play a
seminal role in nurturing debate. To take two examples: First, the future of free
speech in the state needs examination. In the past, journalists in the state have
faced intimidation-to say the least. For instance in 2012, associate editor of The
Arunachal Times Tongam Rina was shot outside her office. Second, law in the state
faces an unclear, exciting future. The state underwent a separation of powers only
last year. Until then it had no independent judiciary. The institution of the Gaon
Burah continues through recognition by the state government, in accordance with a
pre-independence law. The law empowers Gaon Burahs to adjudicate based on tribal
law. One can imagine that tribal law clashes at times with the Indian Penal Code,
leading to all sorts of legalistic confusion. Further complicating law in the state
is the continued existence of "chiefs," who sometimes exercise informal authority
on judicial matters.
Based on just these examples one would hope any national-level editor, anywhere in
the country, will agree that Arunachal is home to many, many desperately interesting
and important issues.
Then there are the internal problems-just pure bad things that require continuous,
rigorous coverage. The state is home to insurgent groups, which carried out attacks
only recently. Native languages are dying, including Khampti, the sole Arunachal
tongue with a script of its own. Today only a handful of elderly people can read
it. Drug-abuse is persistent. Crime is seemingly inexorable. The private sector is
miniscule. Currently, the state imposes no income tax on its denizens. Partly because
of this the New Delhi-Arunachal relationship continues to be an unhealthy, patron-client
one. And based on several hundred interviews it appears Arunachalees are in despair
over what they see as a state of unhinged corruption in the state.
If all of these reasons for Arunachal's significance, in its own right, are not enough,
what makes the national media's China-centric approach to the state even more absurd
is that the average Arunachalee is not thinking about China, at all. He or she is
worried about jobs, about the delayed payment of government salaries, about the poor
roads, about the state's fraying indigenous identity. For Arunachalees, China is
distant. Editors ensconced in Delhi and Mumbai, however, seem to think China is all
that matters as far as the state is concerned.
The Modi government's efforts towards according the state all-round attention is
admirable-and signals a break from New Delhi's long paternalistic approach to the
It's past time the national media change its approach, too. For the most part it
did not-to take just one example-consider reporting on an IED explosion and a gun
battle in the state, which led to three deaths, on February 6, sufficiently important.
But maybe the omission is not the news organizations' fault; maybe there is just
some confusion over identity and jurisdiction; The Times of India and The Hindustan
Times, for instance, might usefully change their names to The Times of Scandal, and
The International Times. Entire parts of India, clearly, are extraneous for their
(The author is a Yale Charles P. Howland fellow. An earlier version of this column
appeared in Eurasia Review on March 3)