Guwahati, July 4: While incessant rains have triggered off a number of landslides, thus cutting of road communication in several districts of Arunachal Pradesh, the Indian Air Force on Tuesday evacuated 169 persons from two flood-affected districts. A BSF helicopter with Kiren Rijiju, union minister of state for home on board on the other hand had to make an emergency landing in a village near Itanagar due to inclement weather.
Union minister Rijiju was on his way from Guwahati to Ziro in Lower Subansiri district to take part in the Dree festival that had begun on Tuesday, when bad weather compelled the BSF chopper to make an emergency landing near Itanagar after it faced heavy rain and fog on Tuesday afternoon. The Mi-17 helicopter with Rijiju and seven other passengers and crew members on board landed in an open field near Itanagar, with a PIB Home Affairs tweet hailed the experienced BSF pilots for making a safe landing.
Meanwhile, Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu, in a tweet said, “Successfully evacuated 169 stranded people that include women, children from flood affected areas of Sagalee and Dambuk through IAF.” While Sagalee in Papum Pare district is about 88 km from the state capital, Dambuk in Lower Dibang Valley is about 350 km away.
An official in Itanagar said several major roads have been snapped due to the landslides across the state. While the Itanagar-Naharlagun highway has remained cut off since Saturday, the capital is now approachable through a circuitous diversion. The Itanagar-Holongi road that connects to Gohpur in Assam – which is more disaster-prone than the Itanagar-Naharlagun road – however has remained unaffected.
Other important road links that continued to remain cut off included the Potin-Hoj road, Sagalee-Itanagar road, Sagalee-Seppa road, Alo-Mechuka road and Pasighat-Yingkiong road, the official said. “One major reason behind the landslides is the on-going road construction work that requires a lot of earth-cutting through the hilly region,” the official said.