As a part of my first trekking trip this year, I along with two others embarked towards remote Lissing and Messing villages in Siang district between 5 and 6 January.
We reached Lissing before dusk, after six hours of trekking from the nearest motorable road near Yibuk village, negotiating steep mountain slopes, ramshackle hanging bridges and turbulent river waters.
The road from Boleng to Yibuk was in a dilapidated condition. I skipped travelling by my car after seeing the road’s condition, and opted for a motorcycle instead. The village, consisting of 12 households, was in complete darkness.
One of my co-trekkers, Talut Paboh, a native of Lissing, told me how they (the villagers) face numerous problems while travelling on this trekking path.
“Since my childhood days, I have been trekking on this route, facing many difficulties. We have to carry sick and dead persons on makeshift bamboo stretchers. Even household items and building materials have to be carried as head-load till the last destination,” said Talut, who is in his early 30s.
The charge for carrying a cement bag up to the village is Rs 1000. Even the rates of CGI sheets and other construction materials go up after reaching the village. On the other hand, agriculture produces like oranges, large cardamom, ginger, etc, get exhausted because of poor market linkage.
Talut’s father, Taking Paboh, who is the gaon burah of the village, said any political leader who comes to power always makes excuses about how the village’s low population does not meet the road construction criteria.
“The villagers depend only upon the mercy of god during emergency or natural calamities,” he said.
In 2007-08, the DoNER ministry sanctioned a project for improvement and extension of the Dosing-Pareng-Sine-Yibuk-Liging road (Phase I) at an estimated cost of Rs 30 crore through the NLCPR, but it did not materialize properly. The earth-cutting for the road has been done halfway between Yibuk and Liging (Lishing-Messing junction). But this portion of the road is of no use. The road portion from Suple to Yibuk is viable only for SUVs and trucks.
Paboh said even if the road is constructed up to Liging, it would be easier for the villagers of Lissing and Messing to carry their loads up to their respective villages.
The Saubhagya Scheme or the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana – the Centre’s project to provide electricity to all households – is yet to reach these villages. With the initiative of the present power minister, however, solar plates have been provided to the villagers.
Lissing and Messing villages are strategically located near Mouling National Park. Earlier, before the market linkage with mainland India was established, salt and other edible items were imported from Tibet and brought to India through these two villages. There was barter trade between the Adi Bori people and the villagers.
Messing village’s head gaon burah, Tapor Mibang, said if a proper road is constructed to Kaying via the Liging junction and Messing, it would be easier for the people of Kaying and Payum circles to reach Boleng, the district headquarters of Siang.
If a proper trekking route is established from Messing/Lissing to Mega village (in Payum circle) through the Ngorung Adi mountain pass, and to Gaming village through Gangging Adi, it would probably be the best trekking destination in the state.
The area has huge scope for agriculture and tourism, if explored properly.