Tinsukia: Despite being ‘cut off’ from the rest of the country, workers engaged in the supply of medicines and other essentials showed exemplary dedication and teamwork by carrying the items on their shoulders and walking atop a hanging bridge over a swollen river to Anini — the ‘last town’ of India along the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh‘s Dibang Valley district — on Sunday.
The workers were carrying medical supplies including oxygen cylinders through the hanging bridge to be loaded into trucks and other vehicles waiting at the other end of the river.
Anini, the ‘last town of India’ near the sensitive India-China border, has been completely cut off for all types of vehicles affecting transportation of medical and essential supplies amid a surge in COVID-19.
Speaking with EastMojo, Dibang Valley deputy commissioner Minga Sherpa said, “This is the second time in less than two months that the town has been cut off from the rest of the country.”
“Unlike last month, when we activated an alternative route, this time movement of all types of vehicles including those of the Indian army, the civil administration and the police has come to a ‘complete’ halt,” Sherpa said, adding, “The temporary Bailey bridge made by NHIDCL on May 10 for vehicles to cross the river, after the alternative route also became unstable due to incessant rainfall.”
On April 6, Anini was cut off from the rest of the country after the main bridge on the route collapsed. However, the district authorities activated another route through Etabe taking an additional 1.5 hours to reach Anini to ensure movement of troops and other important vehicles.
NHIDCL had promised to build a replacement Bailey bridge by the second week of May, said Sherpa. “They haven’t been able to do it till now, even six weeks after the collapse,” he added.
The Bailey bridge near Ambili over Dri River, a “crucial link” on National Highway 313 between Roing and Anini, is merely 10 km from the town. It is of strategic importance for movement of Army equipment and troops to forward areas along the Sino-Indian border, given the tension between the two neighbouring countries following the Galwan clashes in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed.
A new bridge under construction by the NHIDCL was slated to be opened in May, but has not seen the light of the day so far, making transportation to the border town very tough.