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'Better Call Sol': Arunachal Activist Goes The Extra Mile to Ensure Potable Water for Town, CM Responds

Arunachal Pradesh-based social activist Sol Dodum (right). Pic/News18

Arunachal Pradesh-based social activist Sol Dodum (right). Pic/News18

Sol Dodum walked to state capital Itanagar from his hometown Seppa in East Kameng, a distance of 225 kilometres, from April 15 to 18

Young social activist Sol Dodum went out on a walk— a longish one. The Arunachal Pradesh resident started out for state capital Itanagar from his hometown Seppa in East Kameng district on April 15. All by himself on the serpentine hill roads, Dodum walked non-stop for days, covering a distance of 225 kilometres, and reaching his destination on April 18. Every step that he took had a purpose— the young man sought clean drinking water for his town.

A visibly tired Dodum informed that he had received threatening calls from an unknown number. “I shall continue to fight for the genuine demand for the general public and I am doing nothing wrong in my peaceful protest,” he stated.

Dodum walked the extra mile to ask the government to mend the damaged roads and provide a clean drinking water supply to the residents of the Seppa township.

During his long journey, people who got to know about his endeavour joined him on the way and marched together to Itanagar.

Dodum and his supporters urged the state government to transfer the incumbent deputy commissioner of Seppa and to initiate a high-level inquiry into the heavy-handedness he had faced on April 12 during his protest against the public health engineering (PHE) department, which, he says, failed to provide potable water to denizens as assured.

“I have carried out the best form of nonviolent democratic protest in the form of a foot march from Seppa in East Kameng to Itanagar, the capital city of the state, to impose the charter of demand to provide pure and clean drinking water supply to the denizens of the Seppa township,” said Sol Dodum.

Chief minister Pema Khandu on Thursday sought a report on the demand for potable water by Sol Dodum from the PHE minister and concerned department within a couple of days.

“The minister and PHE and WS (water supply) department have been directed to send a committee headed by chief engineer (CE) for on-ground verification,” stated the CM. “Accordingly, as per the report action would be initiated to provide clean and hygienic drinking water to the Seppa township and also any other action suggested by the chief engineer will be taken.”

Speaking on the memorandum submitted to the CM office by Dodum, Khandu said it was yet to be seen as he was preoccupied with the Assam CM on the boundary issues between the two states.

“Though I have not gone through the demands, I already came to know about the ongoing issue through social media and accordingly a direction was issued,” added the Arunachal chief minister.

Sports & youth affairs, environment & forest, and water resource minister Mama Natung has invited Dodum for a round-table discussion.

The deputy commissioner of Seppa, meanwhile, has imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in the town to prevent large gatherings as people have come out on the streets to express solidarity with the young man and his resolve to end their woes. Irked activists even barged into the DC office to press for their demand.

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first published:April 23, 2022, 08:00 IST