Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly speaker Pasang D Sona has urged the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to take immediate and necessary action to restore surface connectivity to Shi-Yomi district bordering China.
The request from Sona comes a day after a vital RCC bridge near Yapik village in Tato circle of the district was completely washed away by flash floods on Monday night, cutting off the entire district from the rest of the state.
The bridge over Sikam Sibu stream falls on the Aalo-Mechuka road.
The strategic road acts as a lifeline, not only for the people of Shi-Yomi but also for the security forces who use it for movement of troops and other essentials.
The distance from Mechuka, a sub-division in Shi-Yomi district to the last Indian Army outpost along the Indo-Chinese border, is around 30 km.
The outpost is manned by the Indo Tibetan Border Police.
Sona, who also represents the Mechuka Assembly constituency, in his letter to the BRO Project Brahmank chief engineer R K Dhiman, said the Sikam Sibu bridge that connects the Aalo-Mechuka road assumes importance as it is the only route through which the people of the district travel to various parts of the state.
“With the washing away of the bridge, the people of Shi-Yomi district are now cut off from the rest of state. The Aalo-Mechuka road which is connected by the Sikam Sibu bridge is strategic for the movement of civilians and defence personnel and transportation of essential commodities, life-saving drugs, construction materials, etc.,” Sona said.
The speaker said supply of essential items and evacuation of emergency patients through sorties would also not be possible at present due to the inclement weather.
Shi-Yomi deputy commissioner Mito Dirchi said it should not take more than five days for the bridge to be restored.
“Our team surveyed the site today and the bridge should be connected within five days. We are, however, hoping that it takes less,” he said.
The DC said there should not be any issues for that period in regards to food items.
Kiran Rinya, the president of All Shi Yomi District Youth Association said, “It has only been two days that the bridge has snapped, however, the people from Mechuka, stuck at Aalo are already facing a lot of issues in terms of accommodation.”
Aalo is the headquarters of West Siang district. Those from Shi-Yomi have to normally travel through West Siang to reach other parts of the state.
“The Covid-19 crisis has made it worse for those presently stranded at Aalo as it is becoming tough for them to find accommodation, especially for those who have been sent on home quarantine,” Rinya said.
Rinya said his team spoke to the West Siang district disaster management officer today but even they are pre-occupied with the Covid-19 crisis.
“We hope the bridge is restored soon,” Rinya said while appealing the authorities concerned to look into the situation.
On the stranded, deputy commissioner Dirchi said, “Those returning from other states would be put in quarantine at Aalo and the rest can stay at their relatives’ homes.”
“There is very less that we can do at this moment,” he said.