Modi inaugurates Donyi Polo Airport at Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh
Itanagar, November 19, 2022
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Donyi Polo Airport, Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh and dedicated the 600 MW Kameng Hydro Power Station in the state to the nation today.
The foundation stone for the greenfield airport was laid by Modi in February 2019. Work on the airport has been completed within a short span of time, despite the challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic in between, an official press release said.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister touched upon the changing work culture where he is establishing a tradition of laying the foundation stone as well as dedicating the same project himself. The launch of this airport is a resounding reply to the critics who tried to term the foundation stone of the airport as an election gimmick. The priority of the government is the development of the state.
“I am starting the day from the state of the rising sun and I will end the day where the sun sets in India in Daman and in between, I will be in Kashi,” he said.
The airport has been developed in an area of over 690 acres, at a cost of more than Rs. 640 crore. With a 2300 m runway, the airport is suitable for all weather day-operations. The airport terminal is a modern building, which promotes energy efficiency, renewable energy and the recycling of resources.
The 600 MW Kameng Hydro Power Station, developed at a cost of more than Rs 8450 crore in West Kameng district, will make Arunachal Pradesh a power surplus state, also benefiting the national grid in terms of grid stability and integration.
This project will contribute to the fulfilment of the country’s commitment to increase the adoption of green energy, he said.
The Prime Minister noted that in the post-independence period, the North-East region faced indifference and neglect. It was Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government which gave attention to the region and created a separate ministry for the North-East. Later, that momentum was lost but after 2014, a new chapter of the development began.
“Earlier, remote border villages were treated as the last village. Our government worked by considering the villages in the border areas as the first village of the country. This has resulted in making the development of the North-East a priority for the government.
“Be it tourism or trade, telecom or textiles, North East gets top priority. Be it drone technology or Krishi UDAAN, be it airport connectivity or port connectivity, the government has set the priority of development in the North East," he said.
He gave examples of the longest bridge in India, the longest railroad bridge, rail line connectivity and record the construction of highways to highlight the development projects carried out in the region.
“This is a new era of expectations and aspirations and today’s programme is a perfect example of the new approach of India,” he added.
The Donyi Polo Airport will be the fourth operational airport for Arunachal Pradesh, taking the total airport count in the North-East region to 16. From 1947 to 2014, only 9 airports were built in the region. In a short span of the last eight years, seven airports have been built, he said.
The number of flights connecting the North-East has doubled. “The Donyi Polo Airport is becoming a witness to the history and culture of Arunachal Pradesh,” he said.
Highlighting the infrastructural developments in Arunachal Pradesh, he gave the example of highway construction in remote and inaccessible areas. The central government will spend another Rs 50,000 crore in the near future.
Referring to the natural beauty of Arunachal Pradesh, he said the state has great potential for tourism. He stressed the need for proper connectivity to remote areas of the state and informed that 85% of the villages in Arunachal Pradesh are in the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.
With the development of the new airport infrastructure, huge opportunities will be created in the field of cargo services. As a result, the farmers of the state would be able to sell their produce in bigger markets. The farmers were also reaping the benefits of PM Kisan Nidhi in the state.
Referring to a colonial law that barred the people of Arunachal Pradesh from harvesting bamboo, he said bamboo is part of the lifestyle of the state and its cultivation is helping the people of the region to export bamboo products all over India and the world. “Now you can cultivate, harvest and sell bamboo just like any other crop,” he added.
He lamented the lack of efforts of the previous governments in providing education and health in the mountainous regions and said that the present government is providing insurance cover up to Rs 5 lakhs under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme. He also gave examples of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Model Eklavya Schools and the Arunachal Startup policy. Highlighting the Sowbhagya Yojana, providing electricity for all schemes that began in 2014, he said many villages in Arunachal Pradesh got electricity for the first time after independence.
“We are working on mission mode to carry the development forward to every house and village in the state,” he said.
He also highlighted the government’s efforts to develop all the border villages under the Vibrant Border Village Programme which will give a boost to tourism and reduce migration in the region. A special programme was being carried out in the state to connect the youth of the nation with the NCC which will instil a feeling to serve the nation apart from providing defence training to the youth.”