A trek through the mountains is a way of life in land without roads


Ramesh also laid the foundation stone in Changlang district in eastern Arunachal for a 157-km rural road that will link Miao to Vijoynagar on the Myanmar border. "This will be India's longest rural road, of which 100 km will pass through the 1,985-sq km Namdapha National Park," he said.

Like people of villages close to the China border in East Kameng district, residents of Vijoynagar and Gandhigram too have to trek over 80 km to reach Miao to collect various items other than essential items like rice, pulses and salt that the government airdrops with the help of Indian Airforce aircraft.

"People trek five to six days from Vijoynagar and Gandhigram up to Deban inside Namdapha National Park to catch a jeep to Miao. They usually barter among themselves, like a full-grown chicken for a kg of salt. Sometimes they pay up to Rs 100 for a kg of salt," said Kamlung Massang, legislator of Miao and a minister.

Vijoynagar is the only administrative circle HQ in Arunachal without a road link to the outside world.

In Itanagar, Chief Minister Nabam Tuki says only about 1,500 of the state's 3,880 habitation have been linked with fair-weather roads till date. Of these, 1,000 are located within 10 km from the international boundaries with China and Myanmar. "Roads have been our priority in the past couple of years," said Tuki.

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