Flights Of Fantasy
[ M Panging Pao ]
The last few years have seen major improvements in road and rail connectivity in Arunachal and adjoining areas. Many of these vital roads, rails and bridges are not only connecting far-flung districts and states, they are strategically important for the entire Northeast also. These roads, rails and bridges will help usher in economic development, give access to the bigger markets of Assam, and allow organic products from Arunachal to be exported out of the state. Robust roads, rails and bridges will also boost tourism by allowing tourists and visitors from neighbouring states to visit exotic places in Arunachal by facilitating faster and trouble-free travel. These key roads, rails and bridges will also allow rapid mobilization and deployment of military forces for the defence of the nation.
The important bridges inaugurated in the last few years include the longest road-rail bridge of the country in Bogibeel, connecting the northern and southern banks of the Brahmaputra, and thus connecting many districts of Arunachal with Dibrugarh, Tinsukia and Jorhat in Assam. The bridge allows people from Lohit, Namsai, Changlang, Tirap and Longding districts to travel to Itanagar much faster, cutting down travel time by almost 6-8 hours. The other important milestones include India’s longest bridge, the 9.15 km Sadiya bridge, connecting Dibrugarh/Tinsukia to Roing/Tezu, and the 6.5 km bridge connecting Roing and Dambuk. Recently, the bridge over the Sissiri or Sisar was also inaugurated, connecting Dambuk and Roing with Pasighat and thus completing the Dibrugarh-Pasighat-Dambuk-Roing-Tinsukia-Dibrugarh circuit.
Similar progress in roads has been made along the Pasighat-Pangin sector and the Pasighat-Mariyang-Yingkiong sector. This entire circuit, along with the roads in the Roing-Tezu-Namsai-Miao-Jairampur area, is a driver’s delight due to the smooth two-lane roads with proper markings. Many of these roads are comparable with roadways in Europe and the western world.
Similarly, in the western sector, the Itanagar-Sagalee-Papu Valley-Seppa road and the Hollongi-Itanagar road are also well laid out. All these roads are part of the ambitious 2000-km-long Trans-Arunachal Highway (TAH), planned to connect the western and eastern corners of the state. The TAH is under construction and progressing at many places. Once completed, travelling in Arunachal would be a delight, cutting down travel time between major towns by many hours.
However, there are many more roads and bridges awaiting completion. Especially important is the Banderdewa-Naharlagun-Itanagar road and the internal roads within the capital complex. Likewise, the Itanagar-Ziro-Daporijo-Aalo-Pangin, Likabali-Aalo road and the Bhalukpong-Bomdila-Tawang road are in a bad shape and remain to be completed at the earliest.
The speed at which roads are being constructed and inaugurated – at the rate of 8-10 bridges and 8-10 major roads per year – Arunachal will soon transform into a roads paradise. It would not be wrong to say that there is a road revolution occurring in Arunachal and adjoining areas. These roads, rails and bridges allow enthusiasts to have breakfast in Arunachal, lunch and shop in Assam, and return for dinner and sleep in their homes in Arunachal. (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)