Sensitive Indo-China border | BRO road repopulates Damin and Huri areas

By Pradeep Kumar

ITANAGAR, Aug 29: Though Arunachal Pradesh assembly had threadbare discussion on large-scale migration of people from Indo-Tibetan (China) border areas on Saturday with Chief Minister Pema Khandu terming it alarming, but Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has succeeded in repopulating Damin and Huri areas of Kurung Kumey district.

While responding to a short duration discussion, moved by senior BJP MLA Lokam Tassar on “impact of de-population across border region of the district and remedial measured to address the issue”, the CM had said the GoAP has taken up several measures through various central schemes to stop it.

The border de-population in Kurung Kumey, Kra Daadi and Upper Subansiri districts, sharing  border with Tibet region of China is alarming, the CM had said, adding the GoAP has submitted a special package of Rs 4195 crore to Union MoHA for developing infrastructure in border areas.

Almost 83% of tough Hapoli-Sarli-Huri axis road, ie, Sarli junction to Huri, in the remote district, is complete due to new technology and innovative out of the box solutions adopted by the BRO, its Project Arunank chief engineer Brig A S Chonker told this daily on Sunday.

Conceived by the China Study group in the 80s, its work had begun in 1997 but the treacherous terrain had posed numerous challenges in which 21 brave hearts were killed. Transporting construction materials was another challenge after handing over of over 200-km feeder approach roads to other agencies in 2014. Thus, about 30% of the road could be built till 2019, he said.

Migration was noticed from this remote district’s Sarli, Damin and Huri for over last seven decades. People of the area wanted timely rations, medicines, good schools for their children, telephone connectivity and electricity besides other basic necessities, which could not be possible for want of a road, he reasoned.

Thus, BRO’s 85 RCC under 756 BRTF took over this last stretch in September 2019 with a vow to accelerate work. It has decided to complete the road within this financial year with the support of its director general, coinciding with 75 years of independence, being celebrated as Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.

Huri was connected by traffic worthy 200-feet Huri Bridge by airlifting materials to launch its vertical cliff face after constructing permanent abutments with months’ of strenuous works.

As present state chief minister has been repeatedly advocating development of far flung border areas de-populated by migration on priority to stop migration by offering comfortable life in the hinterland, the BRO initiated the reverse migration to sparsely populated and strategically important Damin and Huri areas, he informed.

“The ongoing repopulation process would serve as a boon to national security. We will live up our motto ‘Shramena savam sadhyam (Hard work conquers everything)’ by either finding a way or making one to achieve the goal,” Brig Chonker said with conviction.

Confirming new settlement in both villages, 756 BRTF commander Sandeep Gupta said that the road has been serving as a panacea and made local denizens happiest lot, as they were dependent on ration air dropping for their survival. The gaon bura, flanked by his family members, recently heaped praises on the BRO, he added.

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