ITANAGAR: The people of inaccessible Vijaynagar administrative Circle in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh, have a reason to smile, as the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) launched its mobile 2G services in the area through satellite network on Saturday.
With this development, the 4,400 residents of 16 villages in this remote Circle located close to the Indo-Myanmar border — who were deprived of surface communication as of date — would be able to communicate with people from the rest of the world.
To reach this region, it takes around six to eight days on foot through dense forests from the nearest Miao town, which is around 157 kms away.
Taking to twitter, Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Monday congratulated the people of the Circle for the development.
"Vijaynagar is a beautiful place in Arunachal. I am delighted to know that this remote border town near the Indo-Myanmar border is now connected with mobile connectivity. I thank BSNL Corporate and the local administration for their hard work in providing mobile services in the remote areas," Khandu tweeted.
Though chopper is not an object of interest for the people of this area, a vehicle and telecommunication facility are things of curiosity for them.
The villagers depend on wetland and jhoom cultivation for their livelihood. The basic requirement of groceries is met by a few local shop owners who bring these goods mostly on foot. For other essential requirements, the people depend on the military helicopter which carries out sorties in the Circle, depending upon the weather conditions. During monsoon, even a kilogram of salt costs around Rs 800. The region is surrounded on three sides by Myanmar and the other side by the Namdapha National Park.
Even as the State government has been putting in all efforts to connect the remote administrative Circle with Miao under the 'Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana', the ambitious 157.56 km-long road project has, however, been delayed due to realignment and diversion of the road to avoid the Namdapha National Park.
"Erecting the mobile tower in the area was not at all an easy task," said BSNL Sub-Divisional Engineer (SDE) Karma Tsering.
"The State government and the Indian Air Force extended us the necessary help and logistic support to transport the mobile and satellite equipment which had to be airlifted amidst the COVID-19 pandemic," Tsering said in a statement.
The SDE added that the BSNL staff had to stay at Jorhat in Assam for almost a month to airlift the necessary equipment to Vijaynagar.
"It is a historic event for Vijaynagar Circle which was devoid of telecom connectivity till date," Changlang Deputy Commissioner Devansh Yadav said.
"The 2G BSNL connection with solar power will vitalise the growth of this region," he added.Spread across 8,000 square kilometres, Vijaynagar was discovered by the Assam Rifles during an expedition named 'Srijit-II' in 1961. The expedition was carried out under Major General AS Guraya, the then Inspector General of Assam Rifles. The valley was later named by him after his son, Vijay.