2021 First Follow up on MV Road

This is the year to complete the MV Road.

“They informed that the stipulated date of completion of the road is fixed for December 2021.” (AP Times, 5 Jan 2021).

3 Jan 2021

CM, governor discuss developmental projects (AP Times).

The governor shared his concern over the time-bound construction of the Miao-Vijaynagar road, which is not progressing satisfactorily. They also discussed speeding up projects which are being slowed down due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

5 Jan 2021

Mein dissatisfied with delay in completion of Vijaynagar road (AP Times).

While reviewing the status of the 157-km Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) road from Miao to Vijaynagar with RWD Minister Honchun Ngandam and UD, Food & Civil Supplies Minister cum local MLA, Kamlung Mosang on Monday, Mein felt that justice has not been done to the people of Vijaynagar as “we have promised them all-weather road connectivity since the very beginning of their settlement in this remote administrative headquarter.”

It was informed that the 157-km long PMGSY road was sanctioned in five parts. First part was sanctioned in the year 2014 and till now Part I (12.50km) & II (14.50km) has been completed and work under part III (34 km) & IV (80km) are in progress. The work under Part V is yet to start.

10 Jan 2021

Gov calls for early completion of Miao-Vijaynagar road (AP Times).

Governor BD Mishra has called for early completion of the Miao-Vijaynagar road in Changlang district to harness the tourism potential of the area.

Mishra asked the DCM, who is also the finance minister, to provide adequate and regular funding for the road project. He advised the RWD minister to ensure supervision as the RWD is implementing the road project under the PMGSY.

Inviting people’s involvement in facilitating timely implementation of the road project, the governor asked the local MLA and UD minister to ensure smooth progress of the work.

28 Jan 2021

GOVERNOR EMPHASISES ON NEED TO IMPROVE ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE FOR DEVELOPMENT OF RURAL AREAS

The governor pointed out that the road from Miao to Vijaynagar in Changlang district has still not received proper attention and progress on the road is “disappointing”, it said.

Work on Phase IV and V of the road has made no progress. Mishra said that the road besides being a boon for the people has national strategic importance which cannot be allowed to lag behind.

“This kind of delay in such an important road construction is beyond comprehension,” he said and stressed on timely and proper implementation of the road.

The governor further emphasised that utilising every paisa of the allocated fund in the project must be ensured and advised the ministers for close monitoring of the road project to ensure proper deployment of funds and manpower. Mishra while discussing the issues of the road project reiterated that the Vijaynagar area in the eastern tip of the state has enormous potential for tourism for wildlife watch, adventure trekking, eco and cultural visits and huge scope for other economic activities as well.

He said that along with economic prosperity of the local people of Vijaynagar, Ramnagar and Gandhigram, the PMGSY road would facilitate in the conservation of the flora and fauna of the Namdapha National Park besides ensuring national security, the release added.

Eastern Sentinel, 28 Jan.

5 February 2021

Finish early or hand over MV road to central agency, Yobin society demands

“The Miao-Vijaynagar (MV) road construction work should be handed over to GREF/BRO-like road organizations if the RWD doubts its own efficiency to provide road connectivity in the area within a stipulated time,” the society said in a letter to RWD Minister Honchun Ngandam.

AP Times, 5 Feb

High-level team inspects Miao-Vijaynagar road

MIAO, 4 Feb: A high-level team led by RWD Minister Honchun Ngandam, UD Minister Kamlung Mosang and RWD CE inspected the ongoing construction of the 157 kms long Miao-Vijaynagar road in Changlang district.

“The road is strategically important for the state, the nation and Changlang district,” said Ngandam, and directed the contractors and engineers to expedite the construction by deploying men and machines “in triple force.”

“The PMGSY road from Miao to Vijaynagar has been pending for the last many decades, but today we have covered at least 40 kms from Miao. I expect that by March 2021 at least 100 kms of the road will be completed,” Ngandam said.

AP Times, 5 Feb 2021

6 February 2021

The importance of MV road

Fed up with the constant delay in execution of the Miao-Vijaynagar (MV) road, the Yobin Welfare Society (YWS) has written to the RWD minister to either complete the work on time or hand over the project to central agencies like the BRO. Vijaynagar, situated in Changlang district, does not have road connection and people have to walk for seven days on foot to reach Miao, the nearest town. The demand of the YWS makes sense and the state government should take it positively. Despite several assurances by successive governments, they have failed to complete the MV road.

At present the road is being taken up under the PMGSY by the RWD. This too has been delayed. If indeed the state government is finding it difficult to execute the project it should consider handing it over to the BRO. They have the experience of executing projects in difficult terrains like Taksing, Sarli, Kibito, etc, in Arunachal and in places like Ladakh, Sikkim, etc. The experience will come in handy in executing the MV road. It is a great tragedy that till today Vijayanagar circle does not have road connectivity. The people of the area have suffered enough. It is time the state government introspects. Is it not a crime to deny road connection to a large population living along the international boundary? From the security point of view also, early construction of the Miao-Vijaynagar road is paramount.

AP Times, 6 Feb 2021

High-level team led by RWD Minister Honchun Ngandam, UD Minister Kamlung Mosang, Chief Engineer RWD, Er. Nyodu inspected the ongoing construction of 157km long Miao-Vijaynagar road. (Arunachal Today, 5 Feb 2021)

9 Feb 2021

Governor meets defence minister

Arunachal Governor BD Mishra briefed Defence Minister Raj Nath Singh on the state government’s proposal of making a memorial to Major Bob Khathing in Tawang.

The governor also raised the issue of border roads and bridges by the Border Roads Organization – particularly for the Miao-Vijoynagar road – under various flagship programmes of the central government.

AP Times, 9 Feb 2021

6 Feb 2021

Amid impediments, construction of MV road goes on

This is a long write up that covers the story of MV road, present status and problems, but here is the conclusion statement:

Unless there is proper coordination between the RWD and the forest (wildlife) authorities, the possibility of getting the road through is still a distant dream.

AP Times, 6 Feb 2021

16 Feb 2021

He also flagged off construction work of the Miao-Vijaynagar Road in Changlang district and sought its early completion saying that the Governor’s Office is monitoring the project and no inordinate delay in completion would be tolerated.

Assam Sentinel, 16 Feb 2021

27 Feb 2021

Gov reviews progress of Miao-Vijaynagar road

ITANAGAR, 26 Feb: Governor BD Mishra on Friday reviewed the progress of the Miao-Vijaynagar road in Changlang district with the senior engineer working on the project.

Stating that early completion of the road has become highly pressing, he observed that “the disjointed one side and single line works approach has caused all the delay so far.”

For this strategically important road, unless multipronged work is adopted and the work fast-tracked, this road will never see the light of day,” he added.

“The 157 km road must have five to six simultaneous points on both ends of the road, from where the road construction activity must be taken up,” Mishra suggested.

There are a number of rivulets on the route – some perennial, some seasonal – which need bridges.

The governor observed that “the contractors have not yet placed bridges fabrication order nor commenced the construction of the abutments for the launch of the bridges.

AP Times, 27 Feb 2021

16 March: CM calls for speedy execution of Joram-Koloriang road, Hollongi airport

Chairing a meeting on e-pragati through virtual conference with the deputy commissioners, officers and agencies of the central government, and field officers, the CM expressed satisfaction over the progress of the Miao-Vijaynagar road.

AP Times, 16 March 2021

17 March 2021: CM sets another ambitious target

Chief Minister Pema Khandu has announced that Vijaynagar and Tali, the two administrative circles which do not have road connectivity till now, will get road connection by March 2022. He made this announcement while addressing a BJP event in Namsai on Tuesday.

AP Times, 17 March.

18 March 2021:

While discussing the Miao-Vijaynagar road with the minister, who is the local MLA of the area, the governor suggested that the supply orders for 11 bridges required on the road must be placed now for their manufacture. He further emphasized that the abutments and embankments for launching of these bridges must be prepared now, so that there is no loss of time.

Mishra said that the “acid test of the road will be when a civil bus will be able to operate from Miao to Vijaynagar nonstop, in all weather conditions throughout the year.” He also informed about the assistance offered by the Indian Army in completion of the vital road. “It must be studied seriously and availed of as needed by the state,” he said. (Raj Bhavan)

AP Times, 19 March 2021

22 March 2021: Khandu sets deadline for completion of MV, Tali roads

Khandu said the MV road, work on which began when Arunachal was a union territory, is yet to be completed and his government would ensure early completion of the road.

“The Miao-Vijaynagar road is one of the oldest roads, which has been under construction since UT time, but we couldn’t give connectivity,” said the CM.“

I took this challenge to complete within this year. Another challenge I took is road connectivity in Tali constituency. This year, I will ensure that connectivity to both Vijayanagar and Tali is completed,” he asserted.

AP Times, 23 March 2021

AYSU Delegation to Itanagar

Photo of AYSU Delegation (Left to Right): Shokoye, Yofuna, Nomasay, Salina, Dilihey, Josawu, Sosadi, Ngwazosa, Lewadi and Gujusa

The All Yobin Students Union (AYSU) made a purposeful visit to Itanagar from 2 – 11 June 2017. The team met several key officers and leaders –Chief Minister, Chief Secretary, AAPSU President, Education Minister, BJP State President, BJP State Gen Secy, AITF General Secy and our Local Minister. The discussion with the Education Minister was published at AP Times Readers Forum.

A detailed deliberation with the Chief Minister on 8th June took place. The team forwarded for news release to the newspapers (AP Times & Eastern Sentinel) twice but did not appear. Below is the summary of the meeting with Chief Minister:

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The Yobin have a lot of unresolved issues left unattended by the government during the last four decades. With these areas that require immediate action, the executive members of the All Yobin Students Union (AYSU) called on the Chief Minister, Pema Khandu at his chamber on 8th June. The AYSU was accompanied by the local MLA cum Minister of WRD Shri Kamlung Mossang. A memorandum was submitted for the following grievances.

1. First, for restoration of the Scheduled Tribe status to the Yobins. The GoAP notified Yobin as ST by the Extra Ordinary Gazette (no. 82, vol xxii dated: 30 March 2015) but the Article 342 has been misapplied in the case of Yobins. Objection was to the misapplication of the law, NOT to the tribe. Hence, that order was cancelled on 25 January 2017 but the government did not provide any option to relief our problem. The CM assured to take up with the Central Government to make this reality at the earliest as he had done earlier. He convened a meeting on Yobin ST issue on 21 April and the matter taken to the Govt of India.

2. Second, for the Miao-Vijoynagar Road to be completed soon. Since the road completed in 1975, it was not maintained, the road therefore became almost untraceable. A PMGSY scheme provided fund with the laying of foundation stone by the then Union Rural Minister Jairam Ramesh in 2011. Unfortunately, the tender was given to contractors, instead of the demand of the public to be given to BRO. As feared, the work never progressed till today. We still have to walk four days on foot. Nothing changed during the last 6 years. The CM sympathized with our struggles in road communication. He promised a special meeting will be called on the 22 June to take this case forward.

3. Third, for the Settlers of Vijoynagar to be restricted to the land the government has allotted. The Assam Rifles Ex-Service Settlers were brought in to Vijoynagar in the 1960s. Specific plots of land were provided for them both for residence and agricultural purposes on a lease of 30 years, with tax to be paid to government. The first renewal was done in 1990 and the next due in 2020. But now the settlers are coming out of their settlement areas and encroaching our land. These illegal activities were reported to the local administration, Circle Officers. No decisions and action has been taken to safeguard the indigenous people. This problem was reported to the CM and requested that action to be taken so that the Settlers would confine and be satisfied with the land the government allotted them and not beyond and disturb the local harmony. The CM would do a study and call on a decision.

We grateful to the HCM for his kindness and willingness to look into the needs people of this border area. We look forward to see the promises fulfilled and provide us relief from current difficulties.

Centre clears road project in Arunachal Pradesh–a note

This is one of the most precise news items I read on MV Road. Lots of information are compact within this small space. The only weakness: There is no report on WHEN the construction will begin. (Liahey)

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Centre clears road project in Arunachal Pradesh By Sushanta Talukdar (The Hindu, 29 October 2013)

It is the country’s longest road project under PMGSY

The Centre has cleared the 157 km Miao-Vijaynagar road project that will connect the remote Vijaynagar circle in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh along the India-Myanmar border, 100 km of it passing through the Namdapha National Park.

Touted to be the longest road project under the Prime Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana, it will have altogether 25 bridges along its stretch.

At present, there is no road to this border area with 13 recognised villages and one unrecognised settlement. For over 5,000 people of these villages, the only alternative to air transport is a six-day walk from Vijaynagar to the nearest town Miao through the dense jungles of Namdapha. There is no electricity in Vijaynagar.

The Miao-Vijaynagar road was motorable till 1976 and has fallen into disrepair since then. The project, estimated to cost about Rs. 160 crore, is targeted to be completed in four years, Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh told The Hindu on Monday. When completed, it will directly link the Advanced Landing Ground of Vijaynagar, considered to be one of the toughest ALGs in the country at an altitude of 4,200 feet, and also an Assam Rifles post that was opened in 1962 in this remote and strategic frontier.


The project is estimated to cost Rs. 160 crore and will be completed in four years.

On completion, the road will directly link Vijaynagar’s ALG


Prisoners of Geography

Source: Written by SUSHANTA TALUKDAR (The Hindu, Vol 20, Issue 20).

In a frontier settlement in Arunachal Pradesh that has no link with the rest of the country other than IAF flights.

PHOTOGRAPHS: RITU RAJ KONWAR


An AN-32 aircraft at the airstrip in Vijaynagar, where life revolves round IAF sorties.

“UNPREDICTABLE” is the word to describe life in Vijaynagar, a picturesque valley on India’s eastern frontier veiled by clouds and surrounded by majestic mountains. A trip to this remote, inaccessible settlement in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh is a lesson in how human beings survive extreme conditions.

Located at the tri-juncture of India, Myanmar and China on the periphery of the world famous Namdapha Tiger Reserve and National Park, Vijaynagar is a completely air-maintained human settlement. The colourful, little-known Lisu tribal people are its first settlers. They migrated from Myanmar in the 1930s. The Nepali residents of this once ungoverned territory are ex-servicemen of the Assam Rifles and their families, settled there by the Government of India between 1963-64 and 1970-71. An Assam Rifles outpost was opened in 1962, and the first batch of ex-servicemen was flown there in 1963. Three more batches were moved in by 1970-71. The Nepali settlers were given incentives in the form of cash, cattle, implements, houses, land and free air travel, besides jobs in the Assam Rifles.

There are 13 recognised villages and one unrecognised one in Vijaynagar. The Lisus are concentrated in four villages, Gandhigram being the largest Lisu village.


Apart from the two civilian sorties, there are some three sorties a month for the soldiers guarding the strategic frontier.

Narrating tales he heard from his grandfather, a local Lisu leader, K.D. Yobin, said the Lisus living in Putao in Myanmar used to frequent the jungles of Vijaynagar to hunt wild animals. Between 1935 and 1936, some Lisu families cleared some patches of jungle and settled down here. In 1962, an Assam Rifles aerial patrol detected smoke billowing from the thick jungles. Later, an Assam Rifles team, after a long foot march, located the Lisu families.

Yobin says Vijaynagar was called “Daodi” by the Lisus. “It was later named Vijaynagar by Major General A.S. Guraya of the Assam Rifles after his only son, Vijay, who was born here. Major General Guraya was deputed by the Government of India to survey this area,” he said.


Maintenance work in progress at the Advanced Landing Ground in Vijaynagar, which is among the toughest ALGs for IAF pilots.

India shares a border with Myanmar on three sides of Vijaynagar. On one side stand the Mugaphi hills. On another are the Kachin hills, which separate Vijaynagar, an island of peace, and the Kachin region of Myanmar, which used to be a dream destination for armed cadre of militant outfits of north-eastern India, who went there to receive arms training under the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), a rebel outfit of Myanmar that runs a parallel government there. For the entire duration of the Frontline team’s stay in Vijaynagar, between April 2 and April 7, the Mugaphi hills were capped with snow. These hills often hide behind rain clouds, which can disappear as quickly as they come.

The jungles on the hills are rich in fauna and flora. Families of Hollock gibbon, the only ape found in India, roam the jungles on bright days. Skulls of monkeys and horns of wild deer and other animals displayed in some Lisu homes point to a tradition of hunting, which the Lisus have not yet given up.


Horses are often used to carry cement and sand to Vijaynagar from Miao.

Having lived side by side over the past four decades, the Lisus and the Nepalis have started sharing each other’s skills. A wooden pestle used by the Lisus called “aje chidu”, which pounds without human interference, using the pressure of running streams, has been adopted by the Nepalis.

AN-32 – The lifeline


People of the tribe return home after collecting firewood in Dowdi village. In the absence of cooking gas and electricity, they depend on firewood for fuel.

The transport aircraft AN-32 of the Indian Air Force, known as the workhorse of the IAF’s transport fleet, is virtually the only mode of transport for the about 6,000 residents should they wish to travel out of Vijaynagar. The IAF usually operates two civilian sorties every month from the Mohanbari airport in upper Assam’s Dibrugarh district. In addition, there are some three sorties a month for the Assam Rifles personnel guarding the strategic frontier.

For the pilots of AN-32, the Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) at Vijaynagar is one of the toughest. Life in Vijayanagar revolves round the AN-32 sorties. Residents look out for the red flag that the IAF puts up on the Air Traffic Control tower of the ALG to indicate that the weather is fair enough for the plane to land. However, the weather is so unpredictable, particularly during the rainy season, that thick rain clouds and fog may suddenly engulf the valley, forcing the IAF to cancel scheduled flights. Sometimes, the residents watch the aircraft circling above the high mountain ridges and then returning as the pilots fail to see the ALG through the thick envelope of clouds. The residents can tell just by looking at the sky if the aircraft would land or not.


Another displays the claws of an eagle he killed.

Whenever they see the aircraft descending for a landing, the residents rush towards the ALG – some to receive family members, some to avail themselves of the opportunity to fly to Mohanbari. After quickly off-loading the passengers and parcels, the pilots and the cabin crew get the aircraft ready for take-off after 20-30 minutes.

Residents who manage to travel out often have to wait at Dibrugarh for days, weeks and sometimes even months to fly back home. The sick and the aged get priority. On many occasions, Assam Rifles officers have asked their jawans to postpone their leave and wait for the next sortie so that the sick and needy residents could be flown to Dibrugarh. When the flights get cancelled for too long and homes start running out of provisions, Assam Rifles and IAF personnel share their own rations with the villagers.


A Lisu tribesman shows off a traditional hunting implement.

After the cargo aircraft takes off, the centre of activity shifts to the post office nearby – the only financial institution in the entire administrative circle. “People bring in all kinds of goods, from grocery items to clothes to household goods, in parcels weighing 30 kg at the most. The salaries for the government staff and the pension money of ex-servicemen also come by the sortie and is disbursed by the post office,” says Bidyadhar Baruah, the postmaster who has been serving there for the past two years.

No road

The only alternative to air transport is a six-day trek through a 157-km stretch of thick jungles through Namdapha, to reach Miao, the nearest town. Residents hire Chakma refugees to carry grocery items and other household goods from Miao. The porters charge Rs.50 for every kilogram of the load, which they carry on their heads. Thus a bag of cement costs Rs.3,000 in Vijaynagar. During our visit, salt cost Rs.80 to Rs.100 a kg while mustard oil was Rs.150 a litre. Two Maruti Gypsy vans, one belonging to the IAF and the other to the Assam Rifles, are the only vehicles that ply within Vijaynagar.

No PDS


A Lisu fahter with his two little children.

The public distribution system (PDS) does not work in Vijaynagar, which means the residents have to buy provisions from the market at exorbitant prices. For four months from April, residents coped with an acute shortage of salt and rice as heavy rain made the IAF’s civilian sorties impossible. On August 6, 20 bags (1,000 kg) of salt were off-loaded from the AN-32 flight, while two special sorties in Pawan Hans helicopters brought supplies of rice meant for the midday meal scheme for schoolchildren, about 500 kg of salt, medicines and textbooks.

Every civilian sortie by AN-32, which is requisitioned by the Deputy Directorate of Supply and Transport (DDST) of the Arunachal Pradesh government, costs about Rs.2.24 lakh an hour. From Mohanbari to Vijaynagar, the AN-32 flight takes about 45 minutes. Even if the flight cannot land at Vijaynagar because of inclement weather, the DDST must pay the entire amount to the IAF. As these sorties are heavily subsidised, each passenger is charged only Rs.676 for a one-way trip. The incoming trips bring registered parcels and a maximum of 24 passengers while not more than 10 adult passengers and three or four children can fly out from Vijaynagar in each trip.


Shifting a patient out of Vijaynagar for treatment with the help of an IAF aircraft. A file photograph.

There is no electricity supply in this frontier settlement. The Power Department of the State government installed a generator set but it lies unused because there are no funds to buy diesel. The district administration has undertaken the construction of a micro-hydel power plant with a generation capacity of 100 kilowatt at Gaherigaon, with two turbines of 50 kilowatt each. This will perhaps be one of the costliest hydel projects of its size. All the building materials must be transported by porters or carried by elephants. Kul Bahadur Newar, a local businessman, has rented out his three horses to transport cement bags and sand to the plant site to earn some extra money.

As the residents eagerly await the commissioning of the hydel plant, solar plates, subsidised by the State government, serve as an alternative source of power. The residents can illuminate at least one room and switch on television sets with their help. Some of the residents have also installed dish antennae.

Satellite phones

Vijaynagar is not covered by landline or mobile phone networks. The Circle Office had one INMARSAT satellite phone. Before it went out of order in February this year, each call was charged at Rs.50 plus for the “hello” and Rs.5 a minute. The facility was restored on July 23, when a Digital Satellite Phone Terminal (DSPT) system was installed. “For using the new DSPT, the residents are no longer required to pay the extra Rs.50 and the call is charged at Rs.5 a minute,” said Circle Officer Rakesh Rai. In addition to the DSPT at the Circle Office, two more DSPTs have been installed – one at the market area and another at Gandhigram. Children can study up to Class IX in Vijaynagar. For further studies, they have to go to Miao. It is mostly the boys who go out.

There is only one public health centre with one doctor for all the 14 villages. Dr Mopi Loyi, who has married a Lisu girl, is very popular. In emergencies, the patients are carried on stretchers to faraway Miao if airlifting them is not feasible. Vijaynagar did not have a full-time doctor for about three years before Loyi arrived. A former student of the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences at Imphal, he left a posting in a hospital in Delhi and arrived in 2006 to serve in this remote location.

The Assam Rifles helps in organising medical camps. Changlang Deputy Commissioner S.B. Deepak Kumar told Frontline that one of his priorities for Vijaynagar was to impress upon the Ministry of Environment and Forests to revive the 157-km Miao-Vijayangar road as a forest road so that light vehicles can ply on it. “If the Government of India agrees to have this forest road revived, then the six days of journey on foot will be reduced to barely five to six hours of journey,” he said.


A wooden pestle used traditionally by Lisu tribal people in Gaheri village. As water from a stream fills the hollowed end of the pestle, it goes down. It empties itself and comes up, and the other end goes down. This process repeats itself and helps grind rice kept in a mortar at the other end.

The Arunachal Pradesh Public Works Department started building the road in 1972, and it was formally inaugurated in 1974. However, the road was abandoned after less than two years as the PWD could not maintain it. Forest experts are divided on whether it should be revived. Some experts say it will adversely impact the conservation efforts in Namdapha, but others say that a forest road will allow better vigil by forest guards.

The Field Director at the Namdapha Tiger Reserve, Yogesh, when contacted, said that the Government of India was in favour of a forest road, but one that was not blacktopped and was not more than three metres wide. He felt that the movement of light civilian vehicles could be allowed and that such a forest road could serve both conservation and communication needs.

A forest road can go a long way in giving these prisoners of the frontier freedom from unpredictable and irregular sorties and dependence on porters and elephants to meet their daily household needs. The revival of the road is also vital for food security as there is no government storage for stocking foodgrains at Vijaynagar. In the event of a major crop failure coupled with a long period of inclement weather, residents might face starvation.


7 Points Public Demand to Kamlung Mossang in 2004

In 2004 the three Congress representatives from the Yobin/Lisu community submitted a memorandum (Dated: 20 April 2004) to Kamlung Mossang, who was contesting for the MLA seat. Following were the points, as it appeared:

  1. Immediate recognition of ST status to Yobins/Lisus.
  2. Construction of MV Road.
  3. Settlement in regard rehabilitation problems.
  4. Demand for more ASM seats.
  5. Job reservations.
  6. Demand for a separate Anchal Block.
  7. Demand for hostel facility and textbook grants.

Initial attempts have begun for #2. Funds under PMYGS have been granted but we are yet to witness the day when actual construction of MV Road will begin.

#6 was achieved in April 2013 but it was processed in a very strange way. The announcement for a Vijoynagar Anchal Block was made just two months ahead of the Panchayat election. That also created an excuse “no time to allot additional ASM seats”. We still have only two ASM seats from 2004 until now.

Looking at the demand once again, the Number 1 priority (Restoration of ST status) is still not fulfilled even after ten years in power. Can we trust him for another term? That is a big question in the minds of all our people.

The induced slow death of MV Road

Source: The Assam Sentinel, 01 August 2010 (accessed: 10 August 2010).

ITANAGAR, Aug 1: Several remote areas near the international borders that Arunachal share with neighboring countries are still bereft of road communication. Roads were never in existence. In contrary, Vijaynagar in Changlang district had a motorable road connecting it with Miao. For obvious reasons the road, known as MV Road, was induced a slow death time-wrapping Vijaynagar to the early days of civilization.

Inhabitants of Vijaynagar mostly the Yobins, aboriginal Arunachalee tribe and Gorkhalis, who were settled by Government of India during 1961-62, track for 10 days – to and fro – along the dangerous porter tracks to buy essential commodities from Miao, 157 miles away. In contrast to the popular understanding that there was never a road connecting Vijaynagar, there was, in fact, a motorable road till about three decades back.

“After the first administrative set up was made functional in 1962, Miao-Vijaynagar (MV) road was motor-able and four wheelers like jeep used to reach Vijaynagar till 1975. The then Lt. Governor K A A Raja had visited Vijaynagar in a jeep. But after that the maintenance of this road was totally closed for reason unknown. Labors involved in road construction and maintenance was withdrawn by the government and in due course of time the road was totally closed,” informed Phusa Yobin, President of the Yobin Tribe Welfare Committee (YTWC).

The closure of the road has pushed back the natives of the place into the past. According to Phusa, the government subsequently halted the supply of essential commodities through air sorties without citing any reasons.

“Presently FPIs and CPOs in Vijaynagar remain empty…. salt costs us Rs 55 per kg!” lamented Phusa.

Government’s decision to ignore development of the MV Road between 1975 and 1983 is beyond comprehension and baffling in the context of geographical importance of the last border town, Vijaynagar, along the international boundary with Burma. As if depriving the natives of a good road was not sufficient, in subsequent years the government almost made it impossible forever for the road to even exist.

“The little hope of MV road being revived was lost forever once the Namdapha National Park came into being in 1983. Now, the park authorities’ object to even minor maintenance of the road – that has eventually turned into a porter track – as it falls within the reserved park,” Phusa rued.

Was the decision to convert the Namdapha area into a national park already taken by the authorities after the visit of Lt. Governor KAA Raja? Or else what could hold back subsequent governments to ignore strategic border town’s road maintenance? It is surprising that government felt it more important to safeguard wild-lives at the cost of development of aboriginal Yobin tribes and national security.

Lest the state government or the central government changes its policy, this small town with populace of 6000 India citizens including Army personnel and ex-servicemen will have to keep walking like in early days of human civilization. There is a need for governments – centre and state – to revisit the development of MV road beyond the realms of vote-banks politics. After all MV road is not just about 2000 Yobins

MV Road – after inauguration

On February 19, 2013 the Union Minister for Rural Development, Jairam Ramesh, unveiled the inauguration stone for Miao – Vijoynagar Road. Nothing happen last four months.

Another news appeared on June 6, there will be sanction of funds for the road (TOI).

The goodnews is that the Minister will visit Vijoynagar on 16 – 17 June 2013 “to take first hand information about the area among other works”.

Jairam Ramesh at the laying of foundation stone (Photo: The Miao Times).

Jairam Ramesh at the laying of foundation stone (Photo: The Miao Times).

Details on foundation stone (Photo: The Miao Times).

Details on foundation stone (Photo: The Miao Times).

Miao-Vijoynagar Road: News Report

For the first time ever, the news on Miao-Vijoynagar Road (MV Road) was covered by the Frontier News (Published on Youtube, 21 February 2013). Good details were highlighted:

  • The vivid picture of the condition of this road (muddy areas, huge truck getting stuck and travelers pull/push).
  • General problem of the public: scarcity of essential commodities, lack of medical facilities, non attendance of school teachers, struggles of police in emergency cases.
  • Little bit about Nepali settlers living there. They have promised much by government, but nothing good was done for them.
  • ST issues Lisu/Yobin face (projected as muddled with the Chakma problem of 1980s

Though, there is no information given about the reporter, but I greatly appreciate the effort he/ she has done to highlight our issues. All the best to this reporter!

Watch this news on Youtube:

Miao – Vijoynagar Road: Sign of completion

Lasted updated: 22 February 2013

For the last three years, there were “patch” works on Miao-Vijoynagar Road (MV Road). There were small release of funds, constructors just push around mud and manage to pass the trucks and bulldozers. No drainages, bridges were constructed. The road is useful only in winter.

INDICATIONS FOR GOOD ROAD

Now there are good indications that there is definite plan to complete this road:

  • PMGSY sanction huge amount, Rs 268 crore on 22 January 2013.
  • Jairam Ramesh, Union Rural Minister, laid foundation stone on 19 February. He promised the road will be completed in three years.
  • Clear plans to build 25 bridges and 600 culverts.
  • The road is centrally sponsored project and hence “middle men” cannot meddle around.

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT MV ROAD:

  • This is the longest road ever granted under PMGSY.
  • About 100 km (under Namdapha) will be gravel road and only 57 km piece road.
  • First time ever, MV Road is in national dailies.

OFF SIDE: Few negative points or uncertainties I see

  • About 70% of the road are not tar road. Speed vehicle ride will be a drawback. The Central Government listened to Namdapha Wildlife Authorities. Of course, we did not even present our case.
  • There is no information about the execution body. Is it PWD or someone else?
  • Be prepared to see unwanted: there are many roads half constructed roads under PMGSY on Miao – Jagun Road. Someone told me there is even a road between Kharsang and Jairampur on MAP, not on GROUND.
  • AP Times reported a concern of Jairam Ramesh for the many uncompleted projects under PMGSY.

REFERENCES

Ramesh to join Statehood Day celebrations (18 February 2013, AP Times

Centre approves two vital roads for Arunachal (22 January 2013, Times of India).

PMGSY roads to link Lada, Vijayanagar with rest of Arunachal (21 January 2013, AP Times).

China ‘push’ gets Arunachal Pradesh roads (by Rahul Karmakar, 21 February 2013, Hindustan Times).

Miao-Vijaynagar road foundation laid (by Pranjal Baruah, 21 February 2013, Times of India).

(Side note: all news writers misspell Vijoynagar as Vijaynagar)

Miao-Vijaynagar Road: What after the VIP visit?

By Avia Ngwazah, first published in Assam Sentinel on 25 November 2010. Used with permission from the author.

Time has never been this good for Yobin community over these many years with road development speeding up, with a target to complete in January next. But with our experience of deprivations over these many years, ‘good intents’ too are viewed with cynicism, if not suspicion. Though such cynicisms are not without reasons.

The road was made jeepable by 1975 when the then Governor of Arunachal Pradesh KAA Raja came through the MV Road in a fleet of 12 jeeps. Bridges of wood logs were constructed over the streams and rivers on the way; concrete bridges were built over rivers and streams only up to the 40th mile. When the road was newly built I remember well, soon afterwards, our neighbours bought a jeep. Also an uncle who had a jeep at Dawodi village used to fetch essential commodities from Naharkatia (Assam). But very soon, the road was abandoned, disrupted and the jeeps became useless! Sitting idle for years, the jeep was sold off to one of Assam rifles’ Majors who transported it to Dibrugarh by plane.

Subsequently, almost all the bridges and logs disappeared and the road too disappeared over the years. One wonders why the road construction did not continue after the visit of his Excellency KAA Raja! It was as though the road was made only for that one VIP visit. In a way, this stretch of Miao-Vijaynagar road has been one of the longest road projects ever undertaken in India!

One becomes more cynical when one hears about sacrifices made by thousands of people with their tear and sweat. Recently, I had visited West Siang district. There I met at least five gentlemen of different generation, who were the builders of MV Road. When they came to know that I am from Vijoynagar, they immediately asked about the Lisus, the Road, Dawodi etc. I told them that we have no road now! Their jaws dropped as I narrated them that we trek for 6 days to reach Vijaynagar from Miao! They were aghast in disbelief as if disappearance of MV road was their personal lose. Their reactions were in a sense a reflection of the fact that efforts of thousands of poor citizens who toiled on the MV Road were wasted. It is also a matter of fact that many lives were lost in the process of making the mammoth 157-Km MV Road in the early 1970s.

Noise of earthmovers and bulldozers may be generating lot of excitement amongst media, well wishers including the office of Governor JJ Singh and that of now Capital Deputy Commissioner SB Deepak Kumar, who walked for days to reach the forbidden town during his stint in Changlang, as much as amongst those who know about Yobins and Vijaynagar but frankly, we do not hear anyone from Vijaynagar expressing hope that the MV Road will be made a standard road by PWD.  Most of the people in Vijaynagar do not share the same optimism about PWD department as most believe. The current crop of PWD engineers are adopting the same technique and methodologies adopted years ago by their own seniors: roads are narrow- only fit to be used for one way traffic and bridges are built with wood-logs again! All signs indicate that the road would work-out only for one season. In other words this means that the road construction activity is only to quench His Excellency Governor JJ Singh’s desire to hoist the tricolour at Vijaynagar on January 26, 2011. This very same PWD would be in trouble if Governor JJ Singh says that he wants to hoist national flag on August 15, 2011, forget 2012 because January 26 would mean a dry month with only ankle-deep water flowing over river ‘Pagla Nadi’ at the 6th Mile, which is otherwise a ferocious wild river during monsoons. Question is, will the road-builder leave it like that or will they construct standard road after the VIP visit? Will the government continue to fund till the road is done, as indicated? Or will it be conveniently forgotten yet again?

Optimism, which has been the diet of Yobins all through these dark years, makes us believe that the Governor would visit during monsoon months too. And also believe that new crop of officers like Dr. SB Deepak Kumar, who after the trekking the MV Road, does not brag about his feat but advocates re-making of the road to alleviate people’s sufferings. With this band of new officers, India will just thrive and likes of Dr SB Deepak Kumar will not have to walk the 157 Kms ever again, instead they will drive in and out of Vijaynagar!