Notun Leikul is a small village located on the second highest peak in Assam. It is located 11 km from Haflong, the district headquarter of Dima Hasao Assam and is the first village to provide eco-tourism and homestay. Many people including foreigners visit the picturesque village in the midst of the hill yet there is no proper road.
After repeated requests were made to the administration and the government for the last three years for the construction of a new road that fell in deaf ears, the residents of the village themselves decided to make the road.
In a Facebook post on May 24, they wrote “This is the third day of our ‘self-road repairing’ project, we crowdfunded our project by every household of the village donating for the materials and one member from each household volunteering as a labour to repair our road. No expert to guide us, no rollers to strengthen our road. And with the project far from being over our resources and raw materials have dried up.”
A Village that needs help
The Logical Indian spoke to Luna Singson, the son of the village head. He said, “It’s a small village. Everyone donated some money. But that was obviously not enough. Someone donated Rs 500 and someone donated Rs 10. We are all trying to run our families, it is not possible to pay too much money.”
The road that they are repairing is the road that leads from inside the village and connects with the National Highway. They say that with the construction of NH 54 the approaches the village has been destroyed. A major excavation was carried out to construct the NH four years ago that lies 40/50 metres lower than the village.
The area is also a landslide-prone area. The villagers have requested again and again for a wall to be created that can prevent landslides to some extent, but like the demands for a new road, this demand too fell in deaf ears.
The current temporary approach road of the village from the highway is an abandoned one. That road was constructed when the Hon’ble Governor of Assam Shri Jairamdas Daulatram was scheduled to visit the village in 1956.
Now, they are short of money and resources. Their construction was halted three days ago because of lack of resources.
“When the whole district was crippled by insurgency, N. Leikul village stood firm and started the eco-tourism movement in the district, although insurgency and tourism sounded like the two opposing poles of a magnet we held on. We started the homestay project against all odds, no reliable communication system, no infrastructure. We have welcomed and guided all kinds of trekkers, be it local or from outside, without any discrimination.” they say.