Salt being sold for Rs 250 per kg in Arunachal Pradesh

Representative Image

Itanagar/Guwahati, November 18: Vijoynagar, a sub-divisional town under Changlang district in Arunachal Pradesh with just 1500 residents, is struggling for survival. The town lacks proper surface communication and due to which people have to walk for five days from the nearest thoroughfare in Miao to reach the town.

Due to such logistical constraints, availability of essential supplies is a huge problem thereby making the items very expensive. As, a direct consequence, the Public Distribution Service (PDS) has proved ineffective and today salt which costs Rs 20 per kg in the state capital is about Rs 250 in many border areas, including Vijoynagar.

Though there is a weekly helicopter service for transporting essential supplies, it is very clandestine as it is subjected to weather condition. Most of the inhabited villages in far-flung areas are inaccessible and thus there is almost no development.

“People in this town, mostly inhabited by Chakmas and Hajongs, they charge Rs 8,000 for a bag of cement and flat Rs 2,000 for WC pan,” Public Health Engineering department junior engineer Jumli Ado told PTI.

“All materials are transported to Vijoynagar, at the India-China-Myanmar tri-junction, through Namdapha National Park by Chakmas. They charge Rs 8,000 per bag of cement (Rs 150 per kg),” Ado added.

Most of the materials are transported physically and people have to walk down almost 160 km for five days to reach the destination. State Civil Supply Minister Kamlung Mossang, who represents Miao assembly constituency, recently revealed that the state government has approved a road construction project for the area.

It must be noted that Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju had announced in Itanagar in July 2014, a central government proposal to populate nearly 100 villages situated along the border but the project has not seen the light of the day yet.

“People living in the border areas are forced to migrate to urban places for lack of basic amenities. These ghost towns along the border are one of the reasons why China is entering the territory,” former finance minister Late Kalikho Pul had told a tribal ministers’ conference in New Delhi on October 28, 2014.

Edited by: Arnab Jyoti Das