Travelling 113.2 kms via the ‘legendary’ road from Itanagar to Ziro shook me to the core – literally.
Forget the Itanagar road, the legendary road is drivable till Potin, when it unveils its true rollercoaster self. Monstrous as it is, you can imagine the whole new level it takes when the rain hits the ground.
And I, a person suffering from chronic lower back problem, had the “time of my life” while on the unforgettable journey.
The legendary road runs till Pangin. I was lucky that my journey ended in Ziro. Blessed be the ones who travel till Pangin! I very much think that the sleeping conscience of the citizens will awaken when the legendary road gets bloody by the ‘natural’ death of a traveller.
I wondered whom do we share our pain with. The ruling government in the state? No. The PWD minister? Who, come to think of, is the chief minister of our state? We are wise enough to know of the everyday mass corruption and to see right through the fake promises of the politics of appeasement that any authority in power indulges in. Among the many alternatives, what I want to propose – which I can as a citizen of this state – is that we unite as a civil society and demand what is fundamentally ours.
As Joe Biden, former vice president of the United States, rightly points out, “No fundamental social change occurs merely because the government acts. It’s because civil society, the conscience of a country, begins to rise up and demand – demand – demand change.”
I propose this, as my critics would label it ‘a utopian alternative’, regardless of the fact that the CM ‘reviewed’ the status of land acquisition process for the two-lane Potin-Pangin highway, among other things, in the review meeting attended by the PWD commissioner, chief engineers, the DC, and many others, as reported in this daily (‘Repair roads, CM tells PWD and TK Engg’, 7 June, 2019).
Forgive me for having a trust deficit, for I was born here and have witnessed as a child the saddening dilatoriness with which development proceeds in Arunachal.
A good road is a basic right. The Against Corruption and Unabated Taxation (ACAUT) of Nagaland is an example of people’s movement that we can learn from. I ask you, the reader, all the citizens concerned – How long till we wait for another enactment? How long till we ourselves act?
I rest my case here.
Centre for Political Studies,
Jawaharlal Nehru University,