If watching a bridge is much more exciting than crossing that bridge, then you can be sure that it is a very beautiful bridge!” This particular one is not only beautiful but a crucial connecting link for remote villages in Arunachal Pradesh amidst nature’s fury.
It was on the June 27th that a major portion of National Highway connecting Siang, West Siang, Shi-Yomi and Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh with the rest of the world was washed away in the monsoon fury. With the vital supply of essentials, including medicines and foods being disrupted, the villagers of Rottung started carving out a 3-km-long walkway along breached portion to reach Pasighat and other places. This, however, was treacherous and took an extra one-and-a-half hour.
Engineers of the Pasighat highway division said that restoration work would take at least 15-20 days. It could be more and the wait was agonizing for the people on the other side of mountain.
The resilient people of the Adi community of Pangin and Kebang circles of Arunachal’s Siang district then decided to take things upon themselves. Thus, the Lelek Bridge Construction Committee was formed.
Steel cables, bamboo’s, stones were brought. Hardworking men and women gathered and the age-old indigenous technique of Adi craftsmanship with bamboo was there to guide them through. After four days of collective hard work in extreme conditions, the bamboo suspension bridge was ready.
Approximately 30-meters long, the bridge is prepared to ease the woes of the people of Siang, West Siang, Shi-Yomi and Upper Siang districts till the highway is restored.
“The bridge will ensure that people now do not need to climb the hill to reach the other side. It will ease the travel time till the permanent solution arrives, says Tagum Sitang, Bridge Construction Committee Chairman.
“Initially the authority, including district administration and the highway department had objected to the construction of any structure near the block point. However, the senior citizens and public leaders decided to construct the bridge after seeing the agony of the people,” added Sitang.
Chief Minister Pema Khandu took to his twitter handle to appreciate and showcase the tenacity and girt of his people in difficult times.
“Appreciate community leaders rising to the occasion in response to challenging situation” writes CM Khandu.
Appreciate community members rising to the occasion in response to challenging situation. pic.twitter.com/a5TwdipnrC
— Pema Khandu པདྨ་མཁའ་འགྲོ་། (@PemaKhanduBJP) July 19, 2021
The Pasighat-Pangin highway is a vital lifeline for Siang, West Siang and Shi-Yomi and parts of Upper Siang districts of Arunachal Pradesh. The district administration had issued a travel advisory, asking people to refrain from taking the route.
Earlier in 2020, locals in Gasehng a remote village in Arunachal Pradesh constructed a suspension bridge of bamboo and cables so that their kids could go to school.