Sentinels Of A Frozen Frontier

Because of the vagaries of nature, the army posts stock up supplies which can last up to six months in each of the forward posts. A driver posted in the area for the last three years explains: “In the winters, the Sela Pass gets blocked for days because of heavy snow. Often, we are stranded on either side of the pass for several days.” Besides, there are several landslide points along the Tezpur-Tawang road. On July 6, after heavy rains, half a hillock came crashing down on a bridge between Bhatukpong and Sessa, blocking all road communication for three days.

This abrupt breakdown of communication and accessibility is a major blow for the stranded troops. Says P Pandian, an NCO (non-commissioned officer): “I had a reservation to go home in Tamil Nadu. Because I am stuck here, not only has the reservation become irrelevant, I am also losing three days of precious leave. And on top of that, I will have to travel unreserved for three days in the train.”