Khonsa: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu has appealed to all indigenous youths of Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts, who have strayed into an insurgency, to return to the mainstream for a better Arunachal.

“Insurgency is not a solution to any problem. The TCL region has suffered a lot due to it. We want peace and we want development,” he said on the auspicious occasion of Pongtu festival of the Tutsas here on Monday.

The Chief Minister said that under the state government’s surrender policy, all such returnees will be taken care of and helped to re-join the mainstream. Appealing to all youths to “come back, surrender and embrace peace”, Khandu asserted that violence and gun culture only end in bloodshed, which nobody wants.

Khandu also took a serious note of the deaths of innocent civilians in anti-insurgency operations and cited these as serious collateral of insurgency in the area.

He said the state’s Director-General of Police has been asked to coordinate with the security forces deployed in the region and chalk out a proper SOP to avoid civilian casualties during such operations.

“Both the central and the state governments are serious and committed to bringing a solution to this decades-old issue. Peace talks are going on and we put our faith in the central government and all stakeholders to iron out a permanent and peaceful solution sooner than later,” he said.

Observing that the three districts have immense potential for growth of tourism, Khandu said he would push the central government to open up tourist circuits in the region. He informed that tourist circuits were not offered in TCL by the MHA on the ground that there were not enough police stations in view of providing security to visitors.

“This has changed in the last few years. I myself inaugurated several police stations in these three districts in recent times. Hopefully, the central government will accept our request,” he said.

Khandu, however, maintained that boosting tourism in the area and making it a sustainable livelihood will entirely depend upon the local residents. The government, through its various schemes, can just assist but the locals will have to voluntarily put in their efforts if tourism has to flourish, he said.

He called upon local entrepreneurs and businessmen to invest in the sector.

Congratulating the people of eastern Arunachal for having some of the best road networks in the region, Khandu said 27 new road projects worth more than Rs 500 crore were recently approved by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways for Arunachal Pradesh.

“Villages still unconnected will be connected through PMGSY or any other scheme in the coming years,” he assured.

Responding to a common request of the people for the development of the Khonsa general festival ground, where all major festivals of the district are celebrated, Khandu handed over the sanction order copy of Rs 20 crore to local legislator Wanglan Sawin. He also assured sanction for the construction of a Tutsa Heritage Centre and a road from Khimyun to Waka via Lazu in the days to come.

Earlier in the day, Khandu dedicated the newly-constructed Mini Secretariat, Khonsa, which houses the offices of the Tirap Deputy Commissioner and other offices.

The festival was also attended by deputy chief minister Chowna Mein, Lok Sabha member Tapir Gao, cabinet ministers Wangki Lowang, Honchum Ngandam and Kamlung Mossang, MLAs Wangling Lowangdong, Phosum Khimhum, Wanglan Sawin, Zignu Namchoom and Chakat Aboh.

Speaking on the occasion, Deputy Chief Minister Mein said, “Our culture is our pride and the various festivals celebrated depict Arunachal Pradesh as a land of unity in diversity.”

He said the government was very much concerned about the unemployment problem in the state. In this direction, establishment of Arunachal Pradesh Innovation and Investment Promotion Park is a major step where young entrepreneurs are being incubated to make them job givers rather than job seekers.

Arunachal Pradesh Start-up Policy is also in the pipeline which will support young enterprising minds, he pointed out.

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