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THE CITIZEN BUREAU | 31 AUGUST, 2014

Floods And Landslides Leave Tourists Stranded in The Land of Dawn-Lit Mountains

Incessant rains has thrown life out of gear in Arunachal Pradesh


NEW DELHI: The tourist's tryst with the scenic quaint Mechuka Valley in West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh turned out to be a rather hauntingly memorable experience.

The Incessant rains and floods which has thrown life in Arunachal Pradesh out of gear and has crippled many districts in the state didn’t spare even the tourists who had come to enjoy the picturesque Mechuka valley.

The valley, a tourist hotspot, has been completely cut-off for the last 10 days leaving several tourists, including foreign nationals stranded there. The heavy relentless rains washed away large portions of the Mechuka-Aalo road at several locations as a result of which the once beautiful valley has now water potholes everywhere leaving no exit option for the tourists.

“Around 5,000-odd population of this landlocked valley is completely cut-off from the rest of the state for the last 10 days and there is a shortage of essential commodities”, informed Pasang Dorjee Sona, the Mechuka MLA to The Telegraph.He further said that he had information that several tourists are also stuck in the inclement weather. “I have met a tourist from Sweden who told me that he and his friends were stranded in the valley”, he added.

Stating that prices of essential commodities have shot up in the last few days owing to the roads being blocked, he said that he has already informed Itanagar in this regard.

Fearing that the crisis would continue , he said “As the road has been damaged at several places, it is unlikely that the damaged portions would be repaired within the next few days. The magnitude of damage was so extensive that restoration work even on a war-footing will take at least two to three weeks”.

Talking specifically about the Mechuka-Aalo road, he stated “Vehicles carrying essential goods to Mechuka and its nearby areas are stranded at various locations along the Mechuka-Aalo road. Not a single vehicle has managed to pass through for the last few weeks”.

Mechuka Valley is home to the Buddhist Memba tribe and is also dotted with many Buddhist remains.The Siom river, which flows through Mechuka, provides for a breathtaking view of the valley.

Further, its location adds to the above described scenic beauty of the valley. Situated merely 29km from McMahon Line( which separates India from China) and 6,000 feet above sea level, it is one of the most sought-after picturesque destinations in land of the dawn-lit mountains.

Despite the Mechuka valley being the tourist hotspot, the Mechuka-Aalo road which connects the valley, has often been neglected in terms of its maintenance.

Confirming the negligence, a district administration official said that “it has become almost a regular affair during the rainy season that the particular road is damaged”.

Further, he added “ Last year, after the washing away of two Bailey bridges at Gapo and Tato on Mechuka-Aalo road by flood waters, the entire area had to experience massive shortage of essentials, including LPG cylinders and groceries.”

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