Congress compromised border security: PM Modi in Arunachal Pradesh

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Sela Tunnel, which will make the road to Tawang shorter and accessible throughout the year.

March 09, 2024 12:24 pm | Updated 04:25 pm IST - Itanagar

PM Modi’s convoy in Itanagar.

PM Modi’s convoy in Itanagar. | Photo Credit: X/@narendramodi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 9 slammed the Congress for ignoring the border villages in Arunachal Pradesh for six decades because it did not find the frontier State worth investing in.

Ahead of the simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in the State, he said the grand old party allegedly indulged in corruption and compromising on the country’s border security for 60 years.

Inaugurating the Sela tunnel at 13,000 feet above the mean sea level, the Prime Minister said the vital passage making the road to Tawang accessible throughout the year could have been built a long time ago.

Also Read | PM Modi unveils development projects in Assam, accuses Congress of ignoring Northeast

“But the Congress mindset was that Arunachal Pradesh has only 1-2 seats and therefore, there is no point in investing in the State. Congress ignored the border villages and left them to their fate,” he told a gathering in the State’s capital Itanagar.

Apart from the ₹825-crore Sela Tunnel, he inaugurated and laid the foundation stones for various projects worth ₹55,600 crore in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.

Watch | Sela Tunnel, world’s longest bi-lane road tunnel

He also launched the ₹10,000-crore Uttar Poorva Transformative Industrialisation Scheme, an industrial development programme for the northeast and initiated the Dibang Multipurpose Hydropower Project in Arunachal Pradesh’s Lower Dibang Valley district. This project, to be the highest dam structure in India, will be built at an estimated cost of ₹31,875 crore.

“For me, the border villages are our country’s first villages. So, we started the Vibrant Village Programme and undertook road and other projects there,” Mr. Modi said.

He said the Congress was expected to build infrastructure in the border areas but chose the path of graft instead and kept the people living along the border insecure at the cost of the nation’s security.

“The Modi government does not do this because it keeps the necessity of the border villages in mind,” he said.

Also Read | Congress legislature party leader in Arunachal joins BJP ahead of Assembly polls

Exuding confidence about the Bharatiya Janata Party’s victory in the upcoming Parliamentary and Assembly polls, the Prime Minister said he would visit Sela during the third NDA term and meet the locals there.

“This tunnel will improve the region’s connective and promote tourism in Arunachal Pradesh,” he added.

All-weather connectivity

Built by the Border Roads Organisation under Project Vartak, the Sela Tunnel is a part of the Trans-Arunachal Highway project and the longest two-lane tunnel in the world at 13,000 feet.

In February 2019, Mr. Modi initiated the Sela Tunnel system that comprises two tunnels – one 1,003 metres (single-tube) and the other 1,595 metres (twin-tube) long. The two tunnels cut through the Sela-Charbela ridge separating the Tawang district bordering China from the West Kameng district.

The system includes two roads measuring 8.6 km and has been designed for a traffic density of 3,000 cars and 2,000 trucks per day with a maximum speed of 80 kmph.

BRO officials said the Sela Tunnel system will cut down the distance and travel time between Dirang (in West Kameng) and Tawang towns apart from helping avoid the winter snowfalls on the Sela Pass at 13,700 ft. Snowfall on this pass often disrupts vehicular movement on the road to Tawang.

Later in the day, the Prime Minister inaugurated, dedicated, and laid the foundation stones of several projects worth ₹18,000 crore from Meleng Meteli Pothar in eastern Assam’s Jorhat.

Among the projects he inaugurated were the Tinsukia Medical College and Hospital, the Barauni-Guwahati natural gas pipeline, and two crude oil pumping stations of the public sector Oil India Limited.

The Prime Minister also virtually performed the ‘griha pravesh’ ceremony for 5,55,555 homes constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. 

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