Itanagar, April 16 (IANS) After launching the Vibrant Villages Programme (VVP) at Kibithoo village in Arunachal Pradesh’s Anjaw district, which shares borders with China and Myanmar, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Chief Minister Pema Khandu recently said that todays India is not what it was in 1962, because the country is now led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
After its futile attempts to rename places in Arunachal Pradesh and anger over the Union Home Minister’s visit on April 10-11, Development of North Eastern Region Minister G. Kishan Reddy had said in Agartala that Arunachal Pradesh has been, is and shall remain an integral part of India.
Days before launching the ambitious VVP by India, Beijing announced Chinese names for 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh, which the neighbouring country claims as the southern part of Tibet.
The VVP, which was launched on April 10, would be executed in 2967 border villages in 19 districts adjoining international borders in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and the UT of Ladakh.
Rs 4800 crores have been allocated for the programme for the financial years 2022-23 to 2025-26.
In the first phase, 662 border villages in four states and the UT of Ladakh have been identified for priority on coverage, which includes 455 villages in Arunachal Pradesh, which shares a 1,080-km border with China, 520 kms with Myanmar and 217 kms with Bhutan.
Besides Arunachal Pradesh’s 455 villages, the VVP would be implemented in Himachal Pradesh’s 75 border villages followed by 51 villages in Uttarakhand, 46 villages in Sikkim and 35 villages in Ladakh.
Under the centrally-sponsored VVP all round development would be carried out in the identified border villages aiming to improve the quality of life of the people and encourage them to stay there, thereby reversing the migration from these villages and adding to security of the border.
The focus areas of interventions identified for development of the villages include road connectivity, drinking water, electricity including solar and wind energy, mobile and Internet connectivity, tourist centres, multi-purpose centres and healthcare infrastructure and wellness centres.
Due to lack of infrastructure, basic facilities and essential services in the border villages, there is a trend among the villagers to move to the urban and semi-urban areas besides the main cities for livelihood and to improve the living standards.
The ambitious VPP aims to check this migration from the border villages to the urban and semi-urban areas.
Launching the VVP from India’s easternmost border village Kibithoo, Shah had said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made conceptual changes with all-round development making India’s last village as country’s first village.
“In the last nine years, a sea change of development has been made in the northeastern region by the Modi government. Under the government’s Look-East policy, all kinds of development including expansion of infrastructure has been undertaken after Modi ji became Prime Minister and turned the region from problematic areas to a prospective and potential region. Inter-state border disputes are also being solved on a fast track basis,” Shah had said.
He said that under the VVP, piped water, cooking gas, all kinds of infrastructure, livelihood, energy and environment security and all other basic facilities would be ensured in the identified border villages.
In the presence of Shah, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu said it was possibly for the first time that a Union Home Minister has come to a village located so close to the border with China.
Khandu indicating China said that it is not the India of 1962, today, it is Narendra Modi’s and Amit Shah’s India.
The thousands of men, women and children who attended the VVP launch programme, were mostly from among those living close to the Indian-China border.
India had dealt with the Chinese aggression in 1962 and Kibithoo and neighbouring Walong had witnessed a fierce battle between the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army of China.
Strongly criticising China for trying to rename 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh and for making comments on the Home Minister’s visit to the bordering state, Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Minister G. Kishan Reddy said that no country cedes a single inch of land to others and India too will not do this under any circumstances.
“Be it Arunachal Pradesh or any other territory in India, our Army and other border guarding forces are always ready to protect every inch of land of our country. The Indian forces are also capable of dealing with any eventuality.
“Beijing should realise that such a claim would only increase the gap and controversy between the two nations and shall neither benefit China, nor India,” Reddy told IANS in Agartala.
He advised China to understand and maintain peace, be it in Arunachal Pradesh or other borders, it should maintain the status quo and both nations should move towards development through fraternity and mutual help.
“Our Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) has repeatedly raised this issue with China,” Reddy said, adding that no nation has any right to interfere in India’s development process within its territory.
He added that a few nations which want to capture the Indian market are unhappy with the country’s development but that India would continue to develop its infrastructure and transform into a manufacturing hub.
Arunachal Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein had recently said that under the Border Area Development Programme (BADP), infrastructure has been developed in 65 model villages.
Vibrant Villages Programme a befitting reply to China’s Arunachal psy-ops