Arunachal Pradesh: Grim fate for WWII wreckages


CHANGLANG: The discovery of three WW-II era planes brought the tiny hamlet of Ranglom in Arunachal Pradesh into the limelight recently but human greed got the better of this.

It was 35 kms from district headquarters of Changlang that wreckages of three WW-II era planes were discovered but for ones who never understood its value and significance, it disappeared as surprisingly as it was found!

One out of the three wreckages (that of a cargo plane and two fighter jets) has vanished from the site. According to village elders, most of the planes' parts were extracted or bought by greedy scrap vendors while the rest was used by ignorant villagers to fabricate utensils and decorative items.

"The illegal extraction might have filled a few coffers but it has robbed the region of its history," lamented the elders.

Sensing the vulnerability of the wreckages, a group of youths from Changlang, led by one Ngongpa Zongsam, met with Changlang (south) MLA P Khimhun and informed him of the status of the corroded wreckages, upon which the MLA assured to provide funds for the upkeep of the site and the safety of the artefacts.

Zongsam and a team of searchers will be leading an expedition soon to track other wreckage sites that hunters claim to have come across earlier. "We are certain to discover at least 4-5 new sites or plane wreckages," said an enthusiastic Zongsam, who thinks the findings would help in the growth of tourism in Changlang district.

The district administration has chipped in its support by prohibiting the trading of metals extracted from these historic planes. The administration's response has raised hopes for the safety and preservation of the artefacts. The wreckage of the cargo plane, on the outskirt of the village, has become a part of the local folklore as the crash had been witnessed by the villagers.

The village is not only the oldest but also the poorest village in the district. No wonder the villagers are pinning their hopes on the discovery of more WW-II era plane wreckages to change the destiny of the village!