BRO ‘renaming’ of Arunachal’s Kimin as Bilgarh in Assam sparks anger

Union Minister Kiren Rijiju reacts to ‘gross mistake’ during an event where Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated 12 new and widened roads.

The “renaming” of a town in Arunachal Pradesh and showing it as part of Assam during a programme attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on June 17 has made the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) rub various organisations in the frontier State the wrong way.

The All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union and local organisations in Kimin, a town in Arunachal Pradesh’s Papum Pare district situated 75 km from State capital Itanagar, have demanded an apology from the BRO for the “howler” they said was made deliberately to let a “certain country” know the Defence Minister visited Assam and not the State it claimed.

Mr. Singh had dedicated to the nation a dozen BRO roads — all in Arunachal Pradesh except one each in the Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir — from Kimin. But the BRO projected the place as Bilgarh in Assam and had allegedly whitewashed all signs that had any reference to Kimin or Arunachal Pradesh.

Union Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Kiren Rijiju also waded into the controversy. Taking to social media on June 21, he said BRO made a “gross mistake” that needed urgent rectification.

“A serious mistake was committed by the BRO during the inauguration of 11 new and old widened roads in Arunachal Pradesh by mentioning Kimin as Assam. The matter came to my notice after the event and I’ve immediately conveyed to BRO for urgent rectification of mistake, which happened without the knowledge of Defence Minister and the Arunachal government,” he wrote.

Chief Minister Pema Khandu said the BRO’s error was unfortunate.

“The Arunachal government came to know about the inauguration programme quite late. The public leaders of Kimin later apprised the government that the sign boards displaying Arunachal’s name and other mentions of the State were covered with white paste,” he told journalists on June 21.

He also said that he had proposed to his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma to resolve the vexed boundary issue outside the court. The Assam-Arunachal Pradesh boundary dispute is under trial in the Supreme Court.

Arunachal Pradesh shares a 716 km border with Assam.

Tapir Gao, Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Arunachal East, has also panned the BRO for insulting the people of Kimin as well as the rest of the State.

The local media reported that BRO officials have declined to comment on the matter.


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