Cement bag costs Rs 8000 at this border town in Arunachal

Itanagar, Nov 14: Believe it or not, people living in Vijoynagar town of Arunachal Pradesh pay Rs 8,000 for one bag of cement, that too if it is available.

Vijoynagar, a sub-divisional town under Changlang district with just 1500 residents, has no proper surface communication. People have to walk for five days from the nearest thoroughfare in Miao to reach the town. 

Though there is a weekly helicopter service for transporting supplies but that is largely subjected to weather condition.

"People in this town, mostly inhabited by Chakmas and Hajongs, charge Rs 8,000 for a bag of cement and flat Rs 2,000 for WC pan," Public Health Engineering department junior engineer Jumli Ado told PTI.

The PHE department is undertaking construction of Individual Household Latrine (IHHL) in the town, a project partially funded by Centre - Rs 10,800 from the central government and Rs 9,200 by the state for one IHHL. 

"All materials are transported to Vijoynagar, at the India-China-Myanmar tri-junction, through Namdapha National Park by Chakmas. They charge Rs 8,000 per bag of cement (Rs 150 per kg)," Ado disclosed. 

They carry those materials physically and walk down 156 km for five days to reach the destination, Ado said, adding one could imagine the challenges this hilly state faces in achieving the open defecation free (ODF) status by December.

Ado, while taking part in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan - Gramin  (SBA-gramin) awareness programme at Namphainong village of the district on November 4, had said despite numerous challenges  IHHL project is moving at a fast pace.