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Join the crusade for a ‘Drugs-free Arunachal’: Khandu

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Itanagar: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Thursday appealed to local communities and elites to come forward and join the movement for a ‘Drugs-free Arunachal’ through community care programs and promoting alternative crops and livelihoods for those affected by the drug menace.

“We are committed to achieve the goal of ‘Drugs free Arunachal’ through supply reduction, demand reduction & harm reduction; each of which requires not only multi-sectoral coordination amongst departments but, more importantly, cooperation from the society and communities as well,” Khandu said in his address to the gathering after unfurling the tri-colour at IG Park here on the occasion of 74th Republic Day.

While informing that nearly 2300 persons have received treatment last year at drug de-addiction and rehabilitation centers across the state, Khandu said that two more state-of-the-art 50-bedded Sudhar Centers (Substance Use Disorder De-addiction Home cum Rehabilitation Centers) are coming up at Bhalukpong and Lekhi in western and central Arunachal Pradesh.

Stating that a ‘special anti-narcotics task force’ has been notified and a ‘narcotic helpline’ is functional to generate first-hand information regarding the drug menace, Khandu said, “I appeal to the people to help in this effort by generating intelligence for targeted action.”

Highlighting the various achievements of his government in recent times, Khandu said during the Golden Jubilee year of Arunachal Pradesh, his government has ‘successfully’ completed 365 projects in various sectors with an investment of Rs 11399.49 crore.

“The rainbow of our achievements spreads from the overhauling of infrastructure facilities, improving connectivity, transforming health and education systems, using IT for good governance to the welfare of children, women and farmers. Today Arunachal Pradesh is writing new chapters of progress in the promotion of local values, ethos and ethics,” he said.

The Chief Minister emphasized that working with ‘synergy and convergence’ is the way forward towards building the much needed integrated infrastructure for a better and happier Arunachal Pradesh.

Khandu expressed his gratefulness to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Government of India for sanctioning various projects in the state, including the strategic Arunachal Frontier Highway.

In the last 70 years since Independence, only 20,000 kms of roads were built in Arunachal on an average of 280 km per year, but in just seven years, 12,000 km of roads have been built averaging nearly 1700 km per year, he said.

“I am also happy to announce that the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has approved an additional 2,574 kms of highways for the state of Arunachal Pradesh worth Rs 44,000 crore. In the next 4-5 years, Arunachal Pradesh will have around 5,000 kms of national highways in the state,” Khandu said.

He also said, “For the time ever, the increased connectivity has triggered reverse migration in our border areas. I strongly feel that this trend will gather pace as we accelerate development in hitherto difficult to access and remote areas.”

He also announced that the State has received approval to develop three projects under PM Gati Shakti, which include a Logistics cum Investment Hub at Namsai, 38-km road from Naharlagun to (Itanagar) airport and the State Gati Shakti Data Repository Centre.

He mentioned that Arunachal Pradesh, which till 2014 did not have even one functional airstrip for civilian operations, now has four functional airports including Itanagar airport. In the coming year, three more airstrips at Mechuka, Tuting and Vijoynagar will be operational, Khandu informed, while adding that “the central government is considering our proposal for three more ALGs (Advanced Landing Grounds) in Dirang in West Kameng, Anini in Dibang Valley, and the third in Upper Subansiri district”.

Reiterating that his government has adopted “zero tolerance” for corruption of any nature or scale, Khandu, while referring to the APPSC paper leak scam, said that a robust framework of Standard Operating Procedures is being formulated so that such malpractices are not repeated in future.

Before concluding, the Chief Minister appealed, “Let us rededicate ourselves to learn from past mistakes and draw inspiration from our achievements to do better in the future. An all-inclusive Arunachal Pradesh is our collective resolve. Let us keep moving forward towards our common goal.”

Apart from an impressive march past by the parade contingents of police & paramilitary forces and school children, and presentation of colourful cultural programmes by the troupes, the Chief Secretary announced the names of recipients of the State Awards, including three gold, seven silver medals and 16 commendation certificates for their outstanding contributions in their chosen fields.

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