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‘Neighbour’ blocking foreign funds for Arunachal flood protection schemes, says CM Khandu

Although Khandu did not take China’s name, the reference was obvious as Arunachal Pradesh shares a 1,080-km long border with China.

PTI | Itanagar |

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu Monday claimed that the proposed funding by international agencies for flood protection measures in the border state was being withdrawn due to objections raised by a ‘neighbour’, an apparent reference to China.

An alternative funding mechanism has been sought from the Centre to mitigate the sufferings of the people affected by the flood, he said in the assembly.

“The state government has appraised the Centre on the issue of non-availability of foreign funding to the state for flood protection measures due to intervention by a neighbour,” the chief minister said.

Although Khandu did not take China’s name, the reference was obvious as Arunachal Pradesh shares a 1,080-km long border with China which has refused to recognise India’s claim on the region.

New Delhi has consistently maintained that the state is an ‘integral’ and ‘inalienable’ part of India.

Khandu did not cite any specific instance of foreign funding getting blocked, but official sources said proposals by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for flood protection projects were withdrawn following objections raised by China during the past several years.

Responding to a question raised during the Question Hour by Ninong Ering of the Congress, he said the state government had already submitted proposals to the Centre for funds to cope up with the flood problem in the state.

The chief minister said the funds allocated by the Centre under the Flood Damage Relief (FDR) schemes were not adequate and the state would soon take up the matter with NITI Aayog so that additional funds could be availed.

Earlier, referring to the reported move of China to build a 1,000 km long tunnel to divert water from the Brahmaputra river – known as Siang in Arunachal Pradesh – to the parched Xinjiang region, Ering sought to know the steps taken by the state government to counter this. Water Resources Minister Mama Natung said there was no official information on such a development.

He, however, stated that since 50 per cent of the drainage area of the Brahmaputra is in China, the state government can do little to contain the occurrence of floods in the state.

Replying to another supplementary, Natung informed the House that due to discontinuation of Flood Management Programme by the Centre and lack of state funding on flood management, no tangible steps could be taken up so far.

“Under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, the state government has forwarded proposals for 109 schemes to the Centre through the District Irrigation Project for flood protection and irrigation,” he added.