By Express News Service

GUWAHATI:  Arunachal Pradesh MLAs, representing constituencies that lie along India’s border with China, have come together to try and discourage the exodus of their electorates to the state capital Itanagar through development initiatives.

Eleven Assembly constituencies of the state lie along the border. The residents of these constituencies have helped security forces by reporting transgressions by Chinese troops.

However, in the past few years, there has been a steady migration of villagers to Itanagar and other urban areas to find decent jobs.

The border areas have remained backward, primarily due to geographical factors – they are remote and difficult to access for outsiders.

The MLAs representing the border districts, who met in Itanagar on Saturday, formed the “Indo-China Border Development Legislators’ Forum of Arunachal Pradesh”.

Assembly Speaker Passang Dorjee Sona, who represents the picturesque Mechuka constituency in Shi Yomi district, was appointed as its chairman. Sona said lawmakers were concerned about the exodus of villagers.

He said the meeting was necessary to discuss and find ways to tackle the issue.

“The border residents lack basic amenities and they tend to migrate to urban areas for a better life. The only way we can check their migration is by giving them opportunities through development initiatives,” Sona said.

Other MLAs agreed.

They suggested the formation of a forum of legislators representing border constituencies, stating that this would help them take up the issues in unity.

The legislators felt the modification of existing guidelines of Border Area Development Programme was the need of the time.

They called for improved funds allocation and block-wise utilisation certification by abolishing the practice of collective submission.

The MLAs are likely to submit their suggestions to Chief Minister Pema Khandu, who hails from Tawang, a western Arunachal district perched on the China border.