While an average 50kg bag of cement is sold at Rs 260 across most hardware store outlets in the country. But that ain’t the case for local residents at Vijoynagar town of Arunachal Pradesh who pays a hefty Rs 8,000 for one bag of cement and it ain’t easily available as well.
Vijoynagar, a small town under Changlang district with just 1,500 residents, is mostly inhabited by Chakmas and Hajongs. It has no proper surface communication or motorable roads. It normally takes a five days walk from Miao to reach the town.
“People have to walk 156 km for five days from the nearest road-head, in Miao in the plains, through the Namdapha National Park, to reach Vijoynagar”, said Jumli Ado, a junior engineer with Public Health & Engineering Department during an interview with PTI.
His PHE department is undertaking construction of Individual Household Latrine (IHHL) in the town, under the program Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Gramin).
The Chakma porters charge Rs 8,000 per cement bag and carry it on their back for continuous five days via the India-China-Myanmar tri junction, through Namdapha National Park, to transport the material.
Bordumsa village (Headman) Shekhep and ODF consultant Nyabon Pongtey also added, “Many government proposals for road constructions has been announced but it has not seen the light of the day. Even a packaged of salt, which costs Rs 20 per kg in the state capital, is about Rs 250 in many border areas, including Vijoynagar”.