The road that was in 1972
The road built in 1972 was motorable till 1980 and then state governor KAA Raja had reached Vijoynagar with a fleet of 12 jeeps, but the first and the last vehicles seen there. Changlang DC Dr. S. B. Deepak Kumar had walked through this road in December 2009 and strongly recommended its construction. Governor Gen (Retd) J. J. Singh during his visit to Miao on 07.08.10 had directed the PWD to start construction of road work to complete it by December 2011 and had reopened in March 2011 after 36 years.
Eight company vehicles, consisting of bulldozers & trucks had arrived at Shidi on 10.01.12 and walked for four days to reach Miao. The BRO on 01.02.11 had joined the bid for survey of 213-km Nampong-Vijoynagar road.
Vijoynagar in nature’s lap
The 7th Assam Rifles had launched expedition to demarcate border of India and Myanmar from Miao after independence in June 1960 and another expedition led by major Sumeer Singh in February 1961 which were unsuccessful. The second team could reach Gandhigram, 22-km short of Vijoynagar. However, 3rd expedition (Srijit-II) led by Major General AS Gaurya had begun in October 1961 and reached Chankan Pass and later Vijoynagar on 27.11.61 to hoist Indian tri-colour and named the place after his son. Since then the AR has been guarding the frontier. Land-locked Vijoynagar, called Daudi by local residents Lisu (Yobin), spread across 8,000 sqkm, is the remotest inhabited land of India.
By Pradeep Kumar
NAHARLAGUN, Sept 13: An all weather 157-km Miao-Vijoynagar strategic road in Changlang district would be completed in three years once fund is sanctioned after submission of detailed project report (DPR), a top ranking BRO engineer told this daily on Thursday.
Vijonagar, located along Indo-China-Myanmar tri-junction, is only remotest circle headquarters of Arunachal Pradesh without road link, though its advanced landing ground (ALG) was upgraded and inaugurated by former governor Gen (Retd) J J Singh on 18.11.11. Its elected representative Kamlung Mosang (present UD Minister) has been making all out efforts while Governor Brig. (Retd) B.D. Mishra has put his all weight behind the road.
The governor, who had conducted an aerial survey of the road on September one last, had also raised it in his address to NEC, saying “lack of robust land, air, internet and mobile network connectivity are biggest problem of the state which derails developmental needs and security parameters.”
The reconnaissance of the road begun by two teams on Thursday, as assured by BRO additional director general (East) P.K.H. Singh to the governor and Chief Minister Pema Khandu during a review meeting at Guwahati on September 9 last, the source said, adding one team was airdropped on the higher reaches by an IAF helicopter.
The road survey is being conducted by expert BRO engineers and state’s senior RWD engineers to decide the technology to be adopted.
Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, while reviewing work progress of the road in a meeting with RWD Minister Honchun Ngandam and RWD CE-cum-PMGSY CEO D Nyodu on 23.07.19, had directed to expedite the road works.
Pointing out peculiar soil conditions and shortfall in sanctioned DPR for which new alignment has to be made, Ngandam had said and sought Rs 39 crore additional fund to which the DyCM had nodded. Harsh topography, repeated cloud bursts and frequent rainfall, and peculiar soil conditions, forest regulations, slope stabilization of hillside were challenges, Nyodu had told.
It may be recalled that while launching two-month-long Arunachal Rising campaign on 07.12.18, the CM had announced to build the raid on priority. Huge horticulture-agriculture potentials of Vijoynagar could not be tapped for lack of proper surface and air communication, he had said. Tough former chief minister, late Dorjee Khandu had approved its survey and DPR under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana but affected and delayed due to improper work allocation, he had added.
The settlement of retired AR personnel there had began from 07.05.1961 for which their population is almost 50% of the total while 45% civilians are mainly Lisu and rest officials on duty.. Besides SIB, Assam Rifles camp and state police, there are Govt primary schools and one secondary school to cater to needs of students of 16 villages. This place was little known to outside world prior to 1961 and the ALG was developed during 1962.
The inhabitants for want of road connectivity totally depend on supply of essential items by An-32 aircrafts which fly either from Dibrugarh and Miao but are very irregular with limited haulage capacity. That is why salt and sugar are sold at minimum Rs 200 per kg while a bag of cement costs about Rs 7,000.
With Assam Rifles having limited medical facilities, patients face toughest challenge in emergency medical cases to go out for treatment. Miao, the nearest town 157-km away, takes about 6-days walk by foot march or less on elephant.