On Thursday, in his speech as the chief guest of the Pakke Paga Festival in Seijosa, chief minister Pema Khandu announced that Pakke-Kessang will be declared as a new district by the end of this year. The new district will be carved out of East Kameng district.
For those who have been demanding Pakke-Kessang district, the wait is finally over. The demand for Pakke-Kessang district, with its proposed headquarters at Lemmi, has been in existence for over two decades. Once established, the district, with a population of roughly 13,000, will include all administrative headquarters in Pakke-Kessang constituency: Seijosa ADC HQ, Pakke-Kessang EAC HQ, Passa Valley CO HQ, Pijerang CO HQ and Dissing Passo CO HQ.
The demand for a separate district began when the then local legislator, Dera Natung, spearheaded it in 1996. After Natung’s demise, the XII-Pakke Kessang Intellectual Forum carried the momentum forward.
The area was surveyed for the purpose in February 2014 by the then East Kameng district administration, and the feasibility report submitted. However, nothing came of it.
With their fertile valleys, Pakke-Kessang and the other four administrative circles surrounding it are often together called ‘the rice bowl of East Kameng’. The proposed district is home to the Pakke wildlife sanctuary and tiger reserve, Nakhsa Parbat, and five valleys, and covers the largest area in East Kameng district.
The demand was placed before Khandu last year, during his visit to Pakke-Kessang for the Pakke Darshan festival. It is a measure of his alacrity – or perhaps political expediency – that the chief minister announced on Thursday that his government would establish the new district.
Since the time the demand for Pakke-Kessang district began two decades ago, the state government has created a slew of other new districts, like Namsai, Longding, Siang, Lower Siang, Kra Daadi, Kamle and others, putting Pakke-Kessang’s demand on the backburner. Now, for the people of Pakke-Kessang, the long road has been travelled and they will celebrate the advent of 2019 in their own district.
It only remains to be seen how many more districts will be created in Arunachal Pradesh in the course of the next few years.