Friday, June 14, 2024

‘Administrative borders should not hamper growth’


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By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: Former Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief PC Haldar has suggested that there should be a proper debate on the concept proposed by noted columnist BG Verghese on declaring disputed areas along the border as ‘trusteeship zones’.

He said that these inter-state boundaries are unreasonable as they uproot ethnic groups and families and separate them.

“As per this concept, none of the two states should claim ownership over disputed areas. Both should jointly develop the areas by allocating various developmental programmes,” Haldar said while speaking during the two-day workshop on ‘The North East-Development Paradigms’ organised by Centre for East and North Eastern Regional Studies, Kolkata on Wednesday.

He said this is like the two states entering into a partnership to develop the disputed border areas.

According to Haldar, the most important thing is to pass over these issues and get on with the development.

“If this could take place it would be for the betterment of the people residing along the disputed border areas,” the former IB director said.

While pointing out there are certain civil society groups in the region in involved in the conspiracy of leakage of development funds, he suggested there should be a civil audit to physically verify whether the infrastructure or facilities which are supposed to be created have really come up.

“There is need to ensure that groups involved in the swindling of funds should not have access to these funds,” Haldar said while adding that this is one way to check pilferage of development funds which is hampering the growth of the region. While stating that security and development should go together, the former IB director said that economic growth is a key component to determine the manner by which the country handles its national security.

Expressing concern over the growing urban population in the seven states he said that one of the major problems is that none of the cities are planned and their basic amenities are in a shambles.

“With no proper civic basic amenities and lack of urban planning, the urban centres would collapse under their own weight. It has been predicted that by 2026, Kolkata would be the only mega city in the whole Eastern region,” Haldar said.

Commenting on the demand for re-opening of the Stillwell Road, he said it would only facilitate the entry of foreign goods into the North East since the region is not yet ready to export anything to other Asian countries through the Stilwell Road.

“I personally feel that the people of the region should dream of expanding their business transactions with Myanmar, Bhutan, Bangladesh besides other South Asian Countries,” Haldar said.

Meanwhile, former Myanmar Ambassador Aloke Sen said the situation in Myanmar has drastically improved with the coming of a popular elected Government, adding that all these years Myanmar was under military rule.

While pointing out that Myanmar is keen to have close ties with India, Sen said the North Eastern region would benefit from trade and commerce with Myanmar which is proposed in the Look East Policy.

The relation of India with Myanmar has always been cordial, the former Ambassador said, while also adding that they are also providing shelter to the different militant groups from the region.

“With an elected Government in place, there is hope that they would take some action against the militant groups currently taking shelter in Myanmar,” he said.

According to Sen, the Indian Government is not in favour for opening of the Stillwell road.

“There must be some security reasons which forced the Union Government to oppose the opening of this road,” the former Ambassador said.


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