ITANAGAR, July 10 – Battered by nature’s wrath, scores of people have started making an exodus from Arunachal’s calamity-hit Dibang Valley district, where half the population is facing starvation threat due to acute shortage of food and other essential commodities. The search for food for the hungry stomachs has already sent scores flocking to nearby Roing, the headquarters of Lower Dibang Valley district, and other parts of this hilly Northeastern State. Those treading the track include government servants, departmental labourers, daily wage earners, senior citizens and public leaders including panchayat members.
Dibang Valley Deputy Commissioner Tayor Jempen has said, “Amid the acute food shortage coupled with disruption in the district’s road communication, the people are left with no option but to flee to nearby Roing and other parts of the State in search of food.” “Half of the 7,000 population in the district are starving now. Hunger is adding on to the people’s anguish,” he said.
The district has remained cut off from the rest of the State since the last four months following massive damages to the Anini-Roing road, the lifeline of the district, and washing away of a major bridge over river Dri along the all-important route due flashfloods and landslides.
Jempen said, “Despite all-out efforts by the district administration with the State Government trying its level best to mitigate the people’s woes, inclement weather is not allowing the administration in air-dropping food commodities in the far-flung affected areas and even Anini, the district headquarters.”
He said, of the 15 ration sorties approved by the State authorities, five could only be materialised so far. These included three at Anini and one each at Italin and Anini circles.
The DC lamented all plans about restoration of the damaged road by BRO and relief distribution by the authorities in the disaster affected district remained on paper only with no extra efforts being made from either side. “Life has become very tough amid the food crisis in Dibang Valley. We are facing lots of sufferings due to negligent and unsympathetic attitude from the State Government,” said a senior district official on condition of anonymity.
Given the opportunity, the traders are charging exorbitant rates for food and other essential items. Presently at Anini, one kg of salt costs Rs 150, sugar – Rs 300, a 25 kg bag of rice – Rs 2,500, one packet Maggie – Rs 70 and Good day biscuit – Rs 40.
The official alleged that despite a brief lull in the weather condition, the authorities did not air-drop the food and other essential items, though the government had announced to press into service the ration sorties as and when the weather improves.