Arunachal: Villagers Renovate Darak-Potom PWD Road

Potom village

Villagers renovate and maintain the PWD road from circle headquarters Darak to Degi Potom village, which further runs through Belo-Likar-Ronya to Yomcha, thereby connecting two administrative circles of Darak and Yomcha subdivision.

The portion of the road from Darak to Sala Potom was sanctioned in 2004-05 before the starting of the PMGSY scheme, with initial sanction length of 10 kms. With that distance, the road in its normal course could not reach the village.

However, desperate to bring the road upto the village at any cost, the villagers of Potom actively took part in survey and forced the department to pull the road upto the village. The result of that survey and road-cutting later cost them heavily after many years.

The road from the Boje area up to Sala Potom is steep, and inclines at almost 20-25 degrees’ angle in some parts. This inclination along with the hilly terrain and poor surfacing and drainage cause the road to be damaged every monsoon.

Since the beginning of its commission, the villagers had to do almost three phases of repair and maintenance of the road with minimal or without any government support every year. These three phases are: Pre-monsoon preventive repair maintenance, which is usually done in May; monsoon maintenance, which is done during the peak rainy season when landslides and debris block the road; and lastly, post-monsoon maintenance, when damage from the monsoon period is repaired, so that the road can be used for the rest of the season.

Two years ago, there were medium earthquakes with epicentres at Darak circle, which was soon followed by cloudburst-like conditions in August 2019. These accumulated conditions caused severe damage to the road from Darak up to Potom village. Almost a hundred landslides happened in this stretch of the road. The department, with the help of the people from Potom, cleared the road to enable passage of vehicles, but the road was terrible for normal journeys as all drains and culverts were choked and landslide debris obstructed the surface of the road all along.

Last year, during the Covid-19 lockdown period in May, massive social service was done by extensively deploying men and machines. An excavator was used for five days, from early morning to late evening, clearing the road surface, debris blocking culverts and drains, etc.

People from Potom and Boje villages also worked for seven days and the budget for all expenditure was raised by the villagers of Potom with some contribution from Belo and Boje villages.

The PWD could not provide any help due to its departmental constraints. Even expenditure worth around Rs 3.8 lakhs submitted by the PRANA could not be reimbursed due to lack of any funding from the state government. But that did not discourage the people of Potom village. People from Potom, including women and youths, and residents of Darak, Kamba and Aalo also took part in the two-day social service.

The Darak to Potom road is a glaring example where communities can actively participate in the governance process for their own welfare. Mentu Potom, social service secretary of PRANA, urged the state government to make this inter-circle road a two-lane road on priority. 

Courtesy: Gijum Tali

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