iconimg Saturday, August 29, 2015

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Shimla, July 19, 2013
After rain wreaked havoc in Uttarakhand leading to loss of life and property, chief minister Virbhadra Singh's wife Pratibha Singh, newly elected Lok Sabha member from Mandi, demanded to divert the pilgrimage route to Mansarovar from Himachal Pradesh. Pratibha on Saturday called on union external affairs minister Salman Khurshid in New Delhi and suggested him to start Kailash Mansarovar Yatra through Himachal Pradesh as it would be more convenient and dependable since the entire route from Himachal to Tibet was rocky and stable from avalanches point of view in comparison to that passes through Uttarakhand, from where the present yatra is routed.

She apprised that various jathas of the yatra were cancelled every year due to bad weather in higher hills in Uttarakhand and due to lurking danger of avalanches and natural calamity.

She said the Himachal route was more secure and convenient for pilgrims and en route facilities to the pilgrims such as medicine shops, medical centres, rescue posts and halting places were far better than that being provided in Uttarakhand.

Later, she pressed for restarting the old trade route through Rampur to Tibet and told that in ancient times traders from Tibet did business from there.

"Opening of trade route to Tibet will open new opportunities for marketing of traditional dry fruits, handicrafts, handloom and other local products and it will generate economic activity in the region," she said.

Later, she met union commerce minister Anand Sharma in New Delhi and requested him to extend the industrial package in the state till year 2020 keeping in view industrial backwardness of the state.