About to Trek Vijoynagar Again

We are going to walk the 157 km Vijoynagar Road after a gap of four years. This time we will take along my two daughters, three and two years old.

I have decided to take this long walk, four days, after several considerations. First, there is a combined Christmas at Shidi that takes once in three to five year. Second, my wife and I have not seen our parents for many years now. And the most important of all, my daughters have not seen their grandparents yet. We look forward to their meeting. Preparations are tedious but we have determined to venture out on the 17th Dec.

Many people from Shidi area have come down to Miao recently. They carried on their back elaichi (cardamom), sold at Miao and with the money they have something to buy. Some of the items I have seen they buy and carry home:

· Solar lighting system: huge panels and battery.

· Lots of warm blankets and jackets, shoes and other clothing.

· Soap, detergents, toothpaste.

· Nails and other house construction materials.

· Some bought TV, Dish, printers.

I have yesterday, five loads of people in Bolero pick ups have gone back to the villages. Even today more have left. Many more to leave tomorrow and day after tomorrow.

This morning I met an elderly man of about 70 year old waiting for vehicle that will take them to 18th Mile. And about 10 year grandson with about four kg backpack. Three months ago, an 80 year old grandma had walked from Shidi to Miao.

Life has been quick difficult for the people of Vijoynagar. The promised MV Road is far from realization. It was inaugurated in October 2011. But till now not much have done.

· Black topping done only upto 6th Mile (Forest Gate).

· Some initial earth moving started from 27th Mile to 52nd Mile. Too much mud, we cannot even walk nor vehicle can ply.

What is needed to speed the construction of this road?

Tender for MV Road

Perhaps, this tender is the MV Road via Nampong. High budget costing of Rs 1,387 crore and estimated to complete within three and half year is impressive.

Source: Tender Tiger (accessed: 3 December 2015)

PRC Demand of Settlers of Vijoynagar

Another highlight of the demand of Settlers for PRC.

Source: Dawnlit Post (15 October 2015)


Gorkha boys of Vijaynagar denied recruitment in scouts

PISI ZAUING, VIJAYNAGAR, OCT 15, 2015: The easternmost administrative circle of Changlang district, Vijaynagar is known for its captivating landscape, whitish snow embracing Mugaphi peak, murmuring echoes of Noa Dehing river with turbulence, dancing crops of wet rice fields, warm hospitality and variating greeneries. But unfortunately the valley is engulfed by never ending predicaments of ascending magnitudes and various natures.

The beautiful valley is home of good looking Yobin tribals based in Gandhigram and 3000 plus Gorkha ex servicemen in Vijaynagar. The ex servicemen settled during the early 1960 are spread over 9 villages of Daragaon, Ramnagar, Phaparbari, Gaherigaon,Chidudi (Shantinagar), Mazgaon, Topi Hill, Buddha Mandir and Two Hut.

Every Gorkha village has primary school and a newly upgraded middle school in Twohut village. The students are supposed to pursue secondary education in the solitary government secondary school in the valley but paucity of teachers compel most families to shift to Miao to seek educational facility for their children. They are forced to scale 157 kms on foot for several days as Miao – Vijaynagar road (country’s longest link road) still lay unconstructed and detrimental. The suspension of Pawan Hans chopper service after the tragic death of Tirap Deputy Commissioner Kamlesh Joshi in air crash on August 4 this year has sprinkled salt to wounds of people of Vijaynagar valley.

It cannot be denied that settlement of Gorkhas in the international border has guaranteed security from threats from external forces. But in return the Gorkha ex servicemen have not been bestowed due recognition and respect they actually deserve. In spite of being recognized citizens and genuine voters, the Gorkhas of Vijaynagar struggle to prove their identities time and again. Identity cards were issued in the past but the facility was withdrawn without any valid reason by the administration. Imagine a citizen forced to prove his identity with folded hands at Namchick police check gate while returning home. Producing documents like Voter ID and ration cards simply fail to convince the police at the check gate on duty.

The frequent problem faced in check gates was brought to the notice of the local MLA Kamlung Mossang, office of the ADC Miao and CO, Vijaynagar stationed permanently at Miao but of no avail as positive result didn’t yield yet.

The demand for issue of PRC in favour of Gorkha ex servicemen and their offspring is not new. To woo them for votes, the State Chief Minister Nabam Tuki during his last visit to the valley prior to state assembly election in 2013 promised consideration of the long pending issue and official announcement followed thereafter which was carried by state dailies including The Miao Times, weekly. But in place of PRC, around 20 senior citizens were dramatically issued Residential Certificates (RC) in haste while others were left out of the facility. It is indeed humiliating and astonishing, said one senior Gorkha leader of Gaherigaon village who wanted to remain anonymous fearing vendetta.

Without PRC in hand, 20 Gorkha boys of Vijaynagar participated in the recruitment rally for Arunachal Scouts between 1-5 Oct at Tawang. The Gorkha boys were successfully through in physical tests but were denied recruitment because they couldn’t produce PRC, informed Bikram Newar, an educated and prominent youth leader of Vijaynagar. While expressing sadness and displeasure over the step motherly treatment meted out to them, Newar alleged that they don’t get commodities against their ration cards nor job to youths which make their lives vulnerable and directionless. When asked how many Gorkha settlers are in state government jobs, Bikram Newar disclosed that apart from one teacher recruited during NEFA era, there are only 6 boys serving presently in Arunachal police. Bikram Newar also admitted that he attempted 6 times for SSA teacher job but failed as he couldn’t produce PRC. The Gorkha ex.servicemen of Vijaynagar have been supporting successive state governments but after every election we are forgotten, Newar said.

“We are recognized permanent residents of Vijaynagar but we wonder why permanent residential certificate is denied to us. We are indeed deeply pained, Bikram Newar said while urging chief minister Nabam Tuki to have mercy and bail Gorkha ex servicemen out of the continued humiliation and predicaments. He also urged their three time local MLA Kamlung Mossang to implement the promise he made before them during the last three state assembly elections. On behalf of the 3000 plus Gorkha ex servicemen of Vijaynagar Bikram Newar pleads Changlang deputy commissioner to address their five decades old pending grievances. We are human beings and citizens of India. Issue us identity cards and permanent residential certificates to enable our children to seek jobs and sit in competitive exams, he winded.

Areas we are yet to focus on

Now ST matter is ok. We got it and glad we have started to benefit from this privilege.

Other great needs are still in progress, namely the MV Road. Unless this connectivity is established there is very less chance our people will move toward change. It is progressing at snail speed.

What about the other needs we have not touched yet?

· The Ex-Servicemen settlers who are occupying our land illegally. They are occupying way beyond their allotted land. This is NOT right.

· The participation of settlers in the Panchayati Raj. Is this a politically conspired strategy to oppress us?

· Non locals who are provided trade licenses in our area.

· Changing names: Gandhigram to Shidi, Vijoyanagar to Dawodi/J3-VI-N-T7?

· People who have complained against our community. What actions do we want to take?

· What about the Namdapha authorities who continue to brand us “encroachers” and NGOs who called the whole tribe “hunter”?

Many more.

NBCC up 6% on road construction order in Arunachal Pradesh

This news was out on 2 Dec 2014, but I found this information just recently. I am still wondering this funding, a whopping amount of Rs 1850 crore. More questions still on and wondering still.

Source: Money Control Bureau, also Business Standard


NBCC up 6% on road construction order in Arunachal Pradesh

NBCC has secured PMC work for construction /improvement/maintenance of roads at Miao-Vijaynagar (Arunachal Pradesh) costing Rs 1850 crore.

Moneycontrol Bureau

Shares National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) gained as much as 5.8 percent intraday Tuesday on bagging road construction order in Arunachal Pradesh.

"NBCC has secured PMC work for construction /improvement/maintenance of roads at Miao-Vijaynagar (Arunachal Pradesh) costing Rs 1850 crore," said the company in its filing.

Meanwhile, in October, the company had formed a wholly owned subsidiary company in the name and style of "NBCC Services Limited" to carry on the business of providing post construction maintenance services and to act as an execution and implementation agency for undertaking corporate social responsibilities projects & related activities.

It has been one of the biggest gainers in last one year, up 480 percent especially on hopes of more orders from the Narendra Modi-led government. The government holds 90 percent stake in the company.

At 14:51 hours IST, the stock was quoting at Rs 804.95, up Rs 35.20, or 4.57 percent on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Posted by Sunil Shankar Matkar

Our society is politically entrenched: We need alternative

It is now over a year I have been in Miao and attended several “societal” meetings. Well known to all, we have reached a position where no leader/no group can take decisive lead on any issue. This is sad and undesirable.

Our society’s key leaders have mastered in political games, not in leadership. They have learnt to blame another leader. They are good at not doing work. They have learnt to earn “easy money”.

Our meetings are politically engineered. We got better in not taking decision, rather push back to village for “public support”. While the battle rages at Itanagar, Miao and sometimes in Delhi, we want to take back to Shidi for wider information. Thus we get status quo. That happened exactly on ST, until a group of non-political gentlemen stood up.

This whole process is geared to our political leaders, not society.

What we need is ACTIVISTS. We have enough of politicians and we know their ineffectiveness. We need ACTIVISTS who can:

· Challenge unjust policies and practices

· Give uncompromised attention to achieve community goals.

· Go beyond accepted conventions and routines.



For readings activists and politicians:



http://www.bmartin.cc/pubs/07Anderson.html (detailed documentation on activism and political process)

MVRJAC talking tough on MV Road

A news release on MV Road about a year ago. Since then there has not been much hungama.

Source: The Miao Times, 2 November 2014


MVRJAC talking tough on MV Road
VIJAYNAGAR: Miao Vijaynagar Road Joint Action Committee headed by Chairman Sri C. Lisu, President Khuyodi Yobin and Media Secretary Dayosa Yobin in a press release expressed displeasure at the way the task of constructing MV road is being handled. The release stated that road communication is the backbone for upliftment and development of the people and therefore access to it is the fundamental right of the people and denial of the same is infringement of their rights. The release further said the people of Vijaynagar valley has been demanding justice from the Government of Arunachal Pradesh and the centre since the past four decades but to utter astonishment and perplexity till date the people of Vijaynagar are compelled to cover 157 kms on foot to reach Miao, the nearest town for acquiring essential commodities, education and medical facilities. The release said the UPA government sanctioned whopping funds under PMGSY scheme running to crores for construction of the lifeline and to that effect foundation stone was laid by the then Union Minister Jairam Ramesh on 21 February 2013. The vision 2009-14 for Vijaynagar Circle of local MLA and Minister Kamlung Mossang released during election campaign in 2009 clearly stated that the task of constructing the MV road would be handed over to BRO but to utter dismay the tenders were floated in phases and works allotted to private parties, the release said while re-iterating that the people of Vijaynagar will not succumb to such tactics. We demand that the works be handed over to BRO and not to any private parties to ensure quality construction and judicious use of public money.

Arunachal Pradesh:Behind the Namdapha Tiger Reserve impasse

The North East Today has better readability than the Eastern Sentinel, and I found the same article there. Here I post it again. It is now very important that we take up legal battle with the Namdapha Authorities.

Source: TNT, 19 September 2015


Arunachal Pradesh:Behind the Namdapha Tiger Reserve impasse

ByTNT NewsonSeptember 19, 2015

Recent impasse over resettlement of Yobin tribe from the core as much as periphery of renowned Namdapha Tiger Reserve to another site is a vicious story of authorities’ failed planning, poor execution and dire inability to understand the sentiments of the locals that have history of symbiotic co-existence for generations together. Several rounds of discussions since 2009 involving local Singpho and Tangsa leaders hoping for an acceptable solution has been unsuccessfully conducted so far. Efforts by the Namdapha National Park authority to relocate the Yobin families occupying the core areas of the world acclaimed national park since many years has once again resulted in stalemate as settlers refused to budge.

Wounds of resettlement process, that started in 1960s right after the “Chowkan Pass Expedition of 1961”, from their original homeland in Dawodi (now called Vijaynagar) to newer locations like Gandhigram and other places to make space for former army personnel have created deep psychological insecurities amongst the Yobins. Therefore, it’s not difficult to understand where the Yobins’ stand is stemming from. Settling and unsettling every generation, forcing them to migrate every now and then is unfair to say the least when authorities have failed to provide them anything concrete including the basics in lives.

Post the expedition in 1961 by 7 Assam Rifles, the then NEFA government set up its first administrative post in 1962. As per material evidences, this tribe on South-Eastern tip of Arunachal on the edge of Indo-Burma border was counted during India’s Census Operation of 1961 and 1971 and was accorded all the political and economical facilities and benefits but they lost everything during the general election; right after the emergency in late 1970s when none of them were enrolled as electorates due to reasons best known to the political leaders of that period.

Thereafter, the establishment of Namdapha Tiger Reserve in 1983 hara-kiri on Yobin and their settlements: The only link road between Miao and Vijaynagar, better known as MV Road turned into porter track. Even the porter track through the reserve was objected to by the authorities. Till date, nearest circle headquarter to Vijaynagar is a foot-track of 6 days.

And that was the beginning of the marginalization process of Yobins.

With no road communication, it had cascading impact on other facilities like medical care, food and social security. Marginalized people are not considered to be a part of society. Consequently, after more than 30 years of marginalization, Yobins are nowhere. Along with material deprivation, marginalized individuals are also excluded from services, programs, and policies; marginalization has ensured poverty, psycho-emotional damage.

The school dropout rate due to lack of educational infrastructural facilities is more than 60% which is significantly high given the fact that denominator is a miniscule few thousands. In its effort to salvage the grim situation; little more than a 100 elders of the Yobin community are supporting couple of hundreds of young children out of a welfare camp in Miao, 157 miles from its original place Vijaynagar.
Therefore, turning a blind-eye to such challenges of a marginalized tribe to safeguard the tiger by the authorities of the Namdapha National Park is inhuman, to say the least. Also, over these years, blaming and singling out a particular community for decline in tigers in the reserve is a poor alibi to authorities’ failure when poaching is an international phenomenon with poachers maintaining no boundaries.

Reports show a drastic fall in tiger population. The Tiger Census conducted in 2006 suggested the presence of only four tigers in the reserve, a finding that was also confirmed by an expedition conducted at four zones by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) during November 2008 to February 2009. The numbers dwindled down to just one tiger sighting during the NTCA sponsored ‘Camera Trapping’ exercise in March-April 2012.

Reckon that almost a decade back in 2005, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest’s ‘Tiger Task Force’ (TTF) suggested that the Yobin community, one of the two communities other than Gorkhalis which are recent settlers, with their knowledge of the terrain and hunting expertise be used for protection of Namdapha Tiger Reserve. Suggestions on making them stakeholders in the conservation of the reserve failed to cut-ice amongst the bureaucracy in the state forest department that continued to treat the community, residing in the vicinity of the reserve, as interlopers. A view which was definitely not kindly accepted by the community as well as conservationists. As late as April 2012, certain sections of the Yobin community tried every means within its capacity to derail the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) sponsored camera trapping exercise. They not only stole cameras, but resorted to firing at the team, on three occasions, at Bulbulia and Kadboi areas.
Despite being seen as interlopers, a study conducted in areas around protected reserves in Nepal and India, has revealed that majority of people living around the vicinity have a positive attitude towards the existence and importance of Protected Areas (PA) but had negative perceptions of PA staff. A dialogue process which is empathetic in its outlook must be pursued so that an acceptable solution can be arrived at. If Namdapha National Park is to survive, then relocation is mandatory. This will not only be a test of strategy but authorities will have to rely on their persuasion skills as well.

What populations living around protected areas require is management strategies to balance conservation goals and livelihood needs. For conservation efforts to bear fruit, locally based strategies rather than centralized approaches must be adopted which are likely to be more effective.

Therefore, the state forest department must also introspect to zero in on possible loopholes or communication bottlenecks in order to present an amiable facade. Lest one forgets, today Yobins are like stateless people in many worldly senses. And worry today is not only about Yobins existence inside the reserve but it is about saving this dying tribe. In its most extreme form, marginalization can exterminate groups.

Kenter Riba is a well established writer from Arunachal Pradesh and also the editor of Eastern Sentinel

Behind the Namdapha Tiger Reserve Impasse

A brilliant insight of Lisu plight under Namdapha authorities. As we all know it has not been pleasant relationships with them. The reasons are clearly spelt by the author of this paper. Thanks to the Executive Editor of the Eastern Sentinel, Kenter Joya Riba.

Mini hydro projects swallow public funds

I heard about this mini hydro in Vijoynagar area more than 10 years but nothing happened. Today I read this news report informing its status… sad news but a pattern practiced in the area.

Below is extract of news items (only the relevant part) from Dawnlit Post.

Mini hydro projects swallow public funds

MIAO, SEP 29, 2015:

Miao is amongst the oldest administrative sub divisions in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. But owing to absence of proper road map and non performing practices of successive elected representatives, the health of the sub division continues to deteriorate. The sub division comprising of three administrative circles (Miao, Kharsang, Vijaynagar) has tremendous potential for growth in all spheres but even the unseen god would be confused over the scheme of things. Coal, timber, crude oil, minerals, orchids, wildlife and what not, Miao has every ingredients needed to emerge as the most developed town of the state. But at this point of time, it is otherwise.
Vijaynagar, the easternmost circle of Miao Sub Division is stagnating in the old age as even basic amenities are a distant dream, compelling Yobin and Gorkha settlers to shift to Miao township in search of work, education for children and medical facility. With the suspension of Pawanhans chopper service, the people of Vijaynagar are compelled to scale 157 km on foot.
In the name of development the construction of Miao- Vijaynagar road (country’s longest link road) is underway but the fate is questionable. Aimed at providing power supply to the people of the valley, a mini hydro project was departmentally taken up at Gherigaon with much enthusiasm and tall talks but even two years after completion of building infrastructures there is no news of power generation. At this point of time if anyone visits Gherigaon it would be practically difficult to locate the site as the hydro project is hidden beneath jungles, turned safe haven for insects and poisonous snakes. Interestingly, the entire valley is electrified but electricity don’t ply on those wires.