Fire Ravages Bulla Village

At around 4.30 pm yesterday, it was reported that a massive fire broke out at Bulla village, engulfing almost entire Kalung Village. The fire could be doused around 5.15 pm by the effort of people and fire fighters from Fire Department at Old Ziro. More details are awaited of the incident.

Update (20-11-2008):

The fire reportedly broke out from the house of one Kalung Tani, which burnt around 10 houses to ashes.

In an another incident, around 17 houses were gutted at Hong village on 19-11-2008. The fire started at around 8.30 pm which was doused at around 9.30 pm. In both the incidents, no casualties were reported.

The new Amazing Arunachal site

It may take a while for Arunachal Pradesh to become a tourism hot-spot or for tourism sector to become a sustainable revenue earner for the state. The reasons are many; some attributable to government’s lackadaisical attitude in promoting the true tourism potential of the state, lack of infrastructure, tedious and cumbersome entry formalities, misinformation about the region etc., to name a few. But then, there are some who are so enamored by the beauty of the state: the landscape, the people, their custom and culture, their cuisine etc., that they think Arunachal Pradesh could become a tourism hot-spot and are hell bent on showcasing the charm of Arunachal Pradesh to the outside world through whatever possible ways and means they can; notwithstanding the governments’ attitude and the bottlenecks that prevents Arunachal Pradesh to become a tourism hot-spot. One such person is Arif Siddiqui, who mailed in to tell me that the Amazing Arunachal site has been re-done, which earlier, if I am not mistaken, was started to showcase the Pangsau Pass Winter Festival and which mainly concentrated around this particular festival. Having known Arif for a while (though not personally but through net), I couldn’t help myself from visiting the Amazing Arunachal site which the site says is an endeavor by a group comprising Tom Simai, Arif Siddiqui and Kamlesh Mehta to expose the beauty of Arunachal Pradesh, which has so far been eluding the contemporary world, through words and through pictures. In their words:

It is a petite attempt to exhibit the beauty and reveal the enigma of Arunachal Pradesh to the contemporary world through camera lenses.

And true to their words, you are greeted with breathtaking photographs on the front page. Having accessed the site on a slow net connection, I only wished the page could load faster (even though the photographs are eye candy when fully loaded) or there was an option to skip the flash content and enter the site. But I could find none and I had to wait for ages to let the page load fully and to enter the main page.

The home page contains brief on Arunachal Pradesh, from where one can navigate to various other sections like pages on how to reach Arunachal Pradesh, entry formalities, brief on 16 districts of the state, culture and traditions etc. However, the most anticipated section i.e., the photo section is yet to be updated, which Arif says is in the stage of finalization.

Juxtaposing Arunachal Tourism official site and Amazing Arunachal, I found the contents more or less similar. However, I must admit that some sections had more information than the official tourism site of Government of Arunachal Pradesh and some sections needed more information to be added. And with the launch of this new site, I guess it has given those interested on Arunachal Pradesh an another option to look for information on Arunachal Pradesh.

Having almost similar contents, I’m looking forward to the photo section to be updated which would exhibit the beauty and reveal the enigma of Arunachal Pradesh to the contemporary world through camera lenses and which would make this site stand apart from the official site of Tourism Department of Government of Arunachal Pradesh.

Crossing over to China-Is it the case of mass exodus looking for “Greener Pasture” or the case of unintentional crossing over?

Amid fresh word of wars on border disputes between India and China over Arunachal Pradesh, Hindustan Times has reported a very interesting story about mass exodus across border by Arunachalee looking for a “greener pasture”.

As political heat between India and China over Arunachal Pradesh ratchets up, the state is also facing the challenging task of stopping border exodus as an increasing number of residents migrate to China and other neighbouring states in search of livelihoods.

Over the years, the Chinese have developed good infrastructure on their side while border areas in India are still backward. Feeling neglected, residents here are looking for “greener pastures” across the border.

With increase in unemployment problem in the state, no doubt there is migration of Arunachalee to other Indian states looking for (better) jobs, but do the people of Arunachal Pradesh (residing at the periphery of the border) indeed migrate across the border to China looking for “greener pasture”? I doubt. Considering the statement of state officials that there is stray incidents of crossing-over to China but no mass exodus, I wonder if it is the case of crossing over the border unknowingly due to unclear demarcation of boundary between India and China? Or is it the case of people moving over to China to visit their relatives residing just across the border? After all, it is said that people of Arunachal Pradesh also do resides just across the border.

BSNL-Ziro slapped with legal notice

It was expected. It had to come sooner or later. How long would they (the consumers’) be taken for a ride by BSNL?

On behalf of President, BJP District Unit, Lower Subansiri District, Ziro a legal notice has been served to SDO, BSNL Ziro to refund the the rental charges paid by BSNL consumers’ of the District, for the period when the service was not available, within 15 days from the date of issue of the notice which was served on 22nd of October. The four point notice states that:

1. That the Mobile and WLL Telephone is not functioning in the Lower Subansiri District since 14th June 2008 till date. The Mobile and WLL Telephoone users have been charged monthly rent at the rate of Rs. 225/- for Mobile, Rs. 100/- for WLL Telephone, service tax @ 12% without providing service and education cess @3% per month for the period from June to till date without providing services to the consumers. The consumers have paid the monthly rent charges on demand even without the getting services out of fear of disconnection. But the BSNL has no right to charge monthly rent without providing services to the consumers.

2. That the monthly rent charged from the Mobile phone and WLL Tlelphone users for the defunct period is deserved to be exempted and they are entitled to be repaid by the BSNL.

3. That it has been found that call charges are also charged for the defunct period without making any call by the users. The Mobile and WLL Telephone users have paid it out of fear of disconnection. It is illegal to charge call charges without making call.

4. That the monthly rent charged from the Mobile phone and WLL Telephone users are deserved to be repaid without further delay and Mobile phone and WLL Telephone network be restored immediately.

Further, the notice warns that BSNL would attract legal proceedings in the event of failure to refund the rental charges. Find copy of the notice here.

This notice comes in the wake of intermittent or rather nil service provided by the service provider since June 14th last when the mobile connectivity of Ziro exchange of BSNL was disrupted reportedly due to the torrential rain and subsequent landslide that flushed away the OFC connecting Ziro exchange with Itanagar exchange. Since then, no sincere effort has been/was forthcoming from BSNL side to restore the mobile service. The mobile network would be up intermittently only for 10-15 mins, that too after gap of 3-4 days. However, despite no service, it was made sure that the mobile bills were raised and served to the consumers’ on time claiming rental charges, which made one wonder, rental charges for what? For luxury of having BSNL’s SIM card without being able to put it into use?

Now, it has to be seen if this notice would jostle BSNL to take the restoration business seriously and if the poor consumers’ would be freed from the misery of having mobile connections without any connectivity and from payment for no service.

Related reading:
Rants on BSNL Service at Ziro-Hapoli