Development far from Kathan village

[Bengia Ajum]

KATHAN, 10 Feb: Located just a few hours’ drive from nearby towns like Tezu and Namsai, Kathan village in Lohit district is one of the most backward areas of the state.

To date, there is no proper power supply and no mobile network in the area. Also, the condition of the Wakro-Kathan road is dilapidated.

The locals have alleged that, despite knowing that Kathan is a sensitive area – considering that constant skirmishes occur between the indigenous Mishmi tribe and the Chakma settlers – the state government has neglected developing the area.

Even though electric poles have been erected and power lines have been laid, till now there is no electricity. “We are dependent on solar lights, candles and firewood for survival. Even in this 21st century, we are living the lifestyle of the 19th century. I appeal to the state government to immediately restore power supply in our area,” said a local villager.

There is no mobile network, so the people have to go to the nearby village to make urgent phone calls.

“In times of crisis, we face a lot of difficulties. Just to make a single phone call we have to look for a mobile network and go to the nearby village,” the villager said.

The students seem to be the worst sufferers.

“Due to Covid, and the state government’s decision to conduct online classes, our children are affected a lot. How can we expect children to attend online classes when there is no electricity and no mobile network?” the villager asked.

Kathan also does not have proper drinking water supply.

Also, in recent years, militants from Changlang have started to enter into the area and terrorize the locals.

“Militants have started to terrorize us and carry out extortion. This has further made life more miserable for us,” the villager added.

However, he agreed that the state government’s decision to establish a police outpost in Kathan has improved security in the area. “Now we feel more secure. But the police outpost needs to be expanded. A proper police station should be established and more police forces posted,” he said.

The people of Kathan also claimed that they are pushing back attempts by Chakma settlers to encroach on their land. “If the traditional Mishmi territory is breached, then they will get emboldened and try to capture other lands too. The state government needs to look into the issues concerning the people of Kathan with utmost importance and try to resolve them at the earliest,” the villager added.