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Two Good! 2G Cheers for Remote Arunachal Village

Two Good! 2G Cheers for Remote Arunachal Village

2G in Arunachal Village

When the country is moving towards 5G mobile network, an Arunachal village lights up with pride,having snailed into its first 2G connectivity

India is on the threshold of launching 5G mobile telephony having already lived happily with the 4G services.

A large majority in the country are now pretty adept with such terms and user services as video call and conferencing, Webinar, home delivery,so on and so forth.

An extremely remote and non-existent village – for all practical purposes ‑in Arunachal Pradesh has recently gone into a celebratory mood for an entirely different reason.

Vijaynagar, close to Indo-Myanmar border and hemmed in by thick forests in all three sides, needs an eight-day trek from the nearest town Miang, about 175 kms away.

Nearly seven or eight treacherous mountains stand between Miang and Vijaynagar, famous for its inaccessibility and mysticism.

It’s only natural that the villagers of Vijaynagar broke into celebrations when the maiden mobile tower of BSNL went `mobile’ so to say, on August 1, 2020

In the last parliamentary polls, helicopters that had ferried the booth officials and a pair of cops to conduct the elections, failed to land following days of inclement weather to pick them up for the return trip.

Eventually, the polling staff and cops had to undertake a 22-day trek to reach the nearest town Miang for smooth delivery of the EVMs.

It’s only natural for the villagers of Vijaynagarbroke into celebrations when the maiden mobile tower of BSNL went `mobile’ so to say, on August 1,2020.

Never mind for being a laggard of three Gs; after all, it’s mobile service with 2G!

All the Vijaynagaris are immensely proud that their village has finally etched its name in the mobile map of the country.

However, weather god was not at all quite beneficial to them initially and continued to play truant as the Indian Air Force aircraft carrying all the necessary equipment for the tower, had remained grounded at Jorhat in Assam for more than a month.

The moment the sky cleared up and permission to fly was granted by the authorities, the sorties began and equipment was dumped at the tiny stretch of a near defunct-but-revived-recently airport close to the village.

Army engineers aided by BSNL staff worked almost round the clock to erect the tower before its inauguration on August 1.

History of Vijaynagar

Spread over a cluster of 16 tiny settlements having a population of around 4,400, the village ironically owed its roots to the Chinese aggression of the 1960s.

Military intelligence reports said that People’s Liberation Army(PLA) of China had been on the prowl to make incursions into the eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh.

The then Assam Rifles authorities immediately swung into action and dispatched two battalions under the leadership of Major General A S Guraiya.

A new airstrip came up at a height of 5,000 ft to enable IAF Dakota aircraft to land. Maj Gen Guraiya christened the advanced landing ground and adjoining areas in the name of his son Vijay.

Slowly came up the settlements around Vijaynagar ; the  airstrip which had been decommissioned after the Indo-China war, was re-commissioned  last year, thanks to the same reason though !

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Curiously enough, inspite of the inhospitable terrain and an acute crisis of essential commodities like sugar and salt besides medical facilities, a majority of the Assam Rifles jawans who had hailed from the village and retired during the past decades, opted to live in Vijaynagar .

And no wonder, their next generation has developed a strong penchant to join the services their predecessors had served.

“We used to get some salt and sugar when air services were operational; in fact, that was when I was a kid,” recalled Ramesh, an Assam Rifles jawan.

Ramesh who trekked more than a week to appear his Tenth Standard examination, had purchased one kg of sugar and salt each at Miang, dishing out Rs 250 a kg!

“ It was for the first time then that I saw TV, electric light and cars,” relapsed Ramesh into the past.

For several decades, Vijaynagar had neither a school nor a doctor, let alone power or a medical facility.

While a school came up recently without a teacher though, a young doctor named Gumlat Miao, set his foot in the village in 2017 and began treating people.

Hence, for the people of this village, the 2G mobile facility is like a dream come true.

“ The distance of eight days’  trek is suddenly removed by barely ten keys of your mobile – it’s a kind of fairy tale type for these villagers which the rest of the nation can’t even dream of,” remarked Karma Tsering, subdivisional engineer of BSNL, Jorhat.

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