Blog by Prafulla Kaman
It is somewhat surprising but true that since early 80s ‘Assam Bandh’ has been a frequently heard and unpopular words in Arunachal Pradesh, particularly in districts bordering Assam.
It is because; the people of Arunachal have to cross Assam to go to other places of the state due to communication bottleneck.
For instance, Bomdila, the district headquarter of West Kameng is very near from Itanagar in aerial distance. But in practical, it is very far to reach Bomdila as people have to travel half of the road through Assam. Likewise, to reach Tezu in Lohit district, the people of Pasighat in East Siang have to undertake a gruesome day-long journey crossing the mighty Siang and Brahmaputra rivers, more so in summer.
When one has to go to distant place next day, he or she is accustomed to ask someone if there is any bandh call in Assam on that day. It is a fact that most of the bandhs in Assam are called hurriedly by the bandh callers. Nowadays, numerous local bandhs are called frequently on petty issues covering a particular district or a very limited area.
Be it a bandh in Lakhimpur, Dhemaji or Dibrugarh, it affects almost all in Arunachal although these bandhs are called in Assam.
The most unpleasant “bandh culture” in NE states is adopted particularly by the student communities and other organizations in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh in an effort to draw the government/ authority’s attention towards their grievances/demands. But, the agitating organizations never think of the fact that the unpleasant culture is causing huge loses to the economy of the states and man days. Some eminent critics had been raising voice against the negative impact of bandhs culture but their reformative views did not have the grant of legislation for several years. Subsequently, the apex court of the country during the last year declared bandh calls illegal. But the unhealthy practices adopted by those organizations have not been ousted.
The recent bandh called by Assam based peasant’s organization Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti and others students’ union, against construction of mega hydro power projects in Arunachal rivers has been creating mixed reaction among the people. The agitating organizations have claimed that it was time bound movement of the people for their safety and security from impending disaster.
Observing the present situation, it is unlikely that the Assam Government or the Central Government would initiate a strategic solution to the problem. The Arunachalis, who have no concern with the demands raised by the Assam organizations have been suffering a lot from such bandh call in Assam since long past.
Wisdom should soon prevail upon the organizations to realize that every bandh called has a very bad affect on the lives of innocent people besides losses in terms of economy.
COURTESY:THE ARUNACHAL TIMES,03/01/12