Dambuk; at the mercy of nature
ITANAGAR, May 28: Apart from 1894 Anglo-Abor War at Yapgo, Dambuk is known today for its backwardness. A small Sub-Divisional Headquarter located in Lower Dibang Valley District with a meager population of 4014 as per 2001 Census, it is the place where the second Primary School of the State was established way back in the year 1946 at erstwhile Tapat village after the one at Pasighat.
But picture today is quite gloomy as the area remains cut-off from rest of the world for 8 months at a stretch beginning from March to October every year as it is surrounded by mighty Dibang in the East, Sissiri (locally known as Sisar) in the west and south. Even the country boat services are discontinued during the period as it becomes too risky.
People crossing the Sisiri river on elephant during summer on way to Pasighat
The discontinuation of the Pawan Hans helicopter service, only mode of transportation during rainy seasons, among others, have made the lives of the people more miserable and further pushed them back. The people of Dambuk have not been able to witness and enjoy the facilities and development fruits unlike other parts of the state even in this fast changing world. When one thinks of moving out from Dambuk, the voyage is same as experienced during 1970s; ride on the back of elephant, walks for miles on the sandy rivers on sunny days and get fully wet by crossing the rivers. Apart from the patients, the worst sufferers are the students seeking admission in various colleges.
One has to either cross Sissiri river by riding on an elephants, risking their lives or cross the rivulet of Dibang River on foot and literally putting up their hands in order to safegaurd their certificates and clothes from getting wet.
Even those seeking certificates and others documents have to take the trouble of crossing rivers and wasting time, money and energy at Roing, the district headquarters because of bad road communication. And there is no guarantee of early return as there are always chances of getting stuck in the district headquarter as the Dibang Ghat the only route from Dambuk to Roing remains closed when there is heavy rains fall.
All these hardships could have been minimized if present SDO Headquarter is upgraded to Independent ADC Hqs as genuinely demanded by the people since long.
Besides this communication bottleneck, Dambuk town and its nearby hamlets are often threatened by the Sine River every year which flows just 1 km west of the township. This river has already created havoc and fear among the minds of the people by flooding the erstwhile Poblung and Tapat (Patbuk) villages during 1986-87 besides inundating many cultivable lands. Another river, Sisiri flowing some 7 km west of the township has already inundated some portion of Wet Rice Cultivated Land at Ibrom during 2009 and rest of the WRC fields are in danger of being washed away.
Not everything is going right for the people of Dambuk Sub-Division. Even many infrastructure development activities, especially related to roads and electricity, are in shambles. The construction of two major permanent RCC bridges on Sissiri River, one at Dambuk to Paglam road at 19km point by M/s SOMA Enterprise under PWD and another at Zero Point connecting Dambuk to Pasighat via Aohali-Mebo road by M/s Singhla Enterprise under GREF which is progressing at a snail pace is a matter of grave concern too. The completion period for permanent bridge over Sissiri along Dambuk-Paglam road has already expired on March 2012 but even the constructions of pillars/posts are yet to be completed.
The story of other one at Zero Point is not much better. The under construction PWD road from Bizari to Paglam is also facing many hurdles as many contractors left the bridge incomplete and the black topping works of the road has stopped due to case between some firms. Construction of Power Tower from Mebo to Dambuk via Aohali for drawing electricity supply of 33KV Power Line from the Ranganadi Power Grid from Pasighat is stuck in the tendering process itself, as the case is awaiting a court verdict.
Three electric poles for drawing 33 KV line from Meka to Dambuk by Indo Power Project Ltd that was slated to be commissioned on last week of April was washed away by Dibang river few days back. In the last 40 years, the power supply has remained the same; two hours daily in Dambuk township.
However, despite all these odds, there are few things that people of Dambuk can boast about. More than 100 families are orange growers, which is a major source of livelihood. Though faced with difficulties like communication bottle neck, lack of proper roads to the orchards, little technical know-how by the growers and improper marketing, people of the area have taken up orange on a large-scale.
November to February is a busy season as it is the only time of the year when the roads are open. Almost every work is carried out during these months.
A visitor, who comes to this place during winter, will never be able to gauge the difficulties faced by the people.