The Telegraph
Sunday , August 31 , 2014
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Tourists stranded in Arunachal’s Mechuka Valley

Jorhat, Aug. 30: Several tourists, including foreign nationals, are stranded in the picturesque Mechuka Valley in West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh.

The valley, a tourist hotspot, has been completely cut-off for the last 10 days as large portions of the Mechuka-Aalo road were washed away at several locations following heavy rain.

Mechuka MLA Pasang Dorjee Sona told The Telegraph over phone today that the 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.

He said he had information that several tourists stuck in inclement weather.

“I have met a tourist from Sweden who told me that he and his friends were stranded in the valley,” Sona said.

Mechuka Valley, about 29km from McMahon Line which separates India from China, also known as Menchuka, is located 6,000 feet above sea level and is one of the most picturesque destinations in Arunachal Pradesh.

It is home to the Buddhist Memba tribe and the 400-year-old Samten Yongcha monastery of Mahayana Buddhist sect is a contemporary of the much-revered Tawang monastery. Mechuka is also dotted with many Buddhist remains. The Siom river, which flows through Mechuka, also provides a breathtaking view of the valley.

Sona said that there could be a crisis as prices of essential commodities have shot up in the last few days as the supply route has also been cut off.

“I informed Itanagar in this regard,” the MLA said. He added that the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), which has been carrying out repairs on portions of the road damaged by rainwater, claims that the road would be motorable within the next few days.

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

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, he said.

A district administration official said it has become almost a regular affair during the rainy season that the particular road is damaged. 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.

Gopal Chetry, a businessman from Rangapara in Assam who visits Mechuka once a week, said: “It would take at least a fortnight to re-establish the road link for passage of vehicles. However, it will take more time to completely restore the damaged road.”

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