More than 4000 villagers of remote Kangku Circle in the Lower Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh are just months away from having access to proper road communication for the first time post India’s independence.
Likabali is around 170 kms from here.
Thanks to the concentrated efforts of the locals and particularly the “No Road No Vote Central Committee” of the circle, a 65 km (approx) road from Likabali to the Kangku Circle under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) has finally been sanctioned for the region by the State’s rural works department.
The Kangku Circle consists of around 24 notified villages.
If claims of the locals are to be believed, the circle and these villages have been without a motorable road for more than 50 years.
The state of affairs of the area was such, that not a single vote was cast at five of the nine polling stations in Kangku circle of the 28 Likabali ST Assembly constituency, by-election to which was held on December last year as the voters boycotted the poll with a “No Road No Vote” warning.
The Likabali seat had fallen vacant after health and family welfare minister Jomde Kena passed away on September 4 last year at a hospital in Guwahati.
The locals had also threatened to launch a civil disobedience movement of surrendering their voter identity cards to the government if their demand was not met.
Following this, Chief Minister Pema Khandu had assured that his government would look into the grievances of the circle.
Speaking to this daily, Mikjom Taso, the coordinator of No Road No Vote Central Committee said that “this is a dream come true for the people of the circle who have till date suffered a lot due to lack of proper roads in the region.”
“The lack of connectivity has made our lives difficult and there is no development in our area. We have always relied on the roads of our neighboring state Assam even to reach out own villages. And the situation gets worse when there is medical emergency or inter-state disputes,” Taso said.
Taso on behalf of the Kangku Circle No Road No Vote Central Committee has thanked the local MLA Kardo Nyikyor, MoS for Home Kiren Rijiju, Chief Minister Khandu and the Central Government for approval of the road.
“We are hopeful that the construction work of the said road would start early and the villagers are ready to extend all possible cooperation to the executing agency. We hope to see a new dawn in our lives with the construction of the road which till now, we only dreamt of,” he said.
Reportedly, the administrative approval and technical sanction of the road in yet to be completed.