With road blocked at Urni for last three months and apple season round the corner, the worried inhabitants of Kinnaur have demanded the chief minister's intervention for creating an alternative route by using the adit tunnel of the Karcham-Wangtoo hydro project.
The existing link road en route Urni village connecting Tapri to Choling is being used to connect with upper Kinnaur. However, it is not suitable for heavy vehicular traffic that includes trucks loaded with apple owing to the narrow winding roads and steep gradient.
Considering the sensitivity of the issue, the natives under the banner of Him Lok Jagriti Manch (HLJM) and Karcham-Wangtoo Sangharsh Samiti, Kinnaur, have in a written communiqué through the Kinnaur deputy commissioner demanded for acquiring of adit tunnel 2 and portion of the flushing tunnel of Karcham-Wangtoo power project that is being used to divert Sutlej river.
According to the flushing tunnel site plan, the Kinnaur natives stated that considering the paucity of time for the start of apple season the said tunnel be vacated and be used for vehicular traffic to bypass the continuous road block owing to landslide near Urni for the last three months.
For the outflow of the river water, another tunnel can be constructed in between the adit-2 to Head Raised Tunnel (HRT) and adit AFT-3, they said
By construction of another tunnel to divert the river water, the vehicular traffic can enter through the tunnel from the outfall structure by linking it to the highway and exiting from anid-2 and vice-versa, they maintained.
HLJM convener RS Negi said, "In the light of the fact that the apple season that is short of about a month, this is the only available alternative that can be adopted to prevent the suffering of the natives and any kind of loss to the apple crop, which is the only mean of livelihood for the natives."
The consideration of construction of a new tunnel for vehicular traffic can be overlooked as it would be time consuming, taking more than six months, he added.
He said the tunnel that can be used for vehicular traffic is suitable as it is 5 metre wide and 7.3 metre in height.
Further, even the link road enroute Urni village is under threat of being buried due to landslide, said Viney Negi, president, Karcham Wangtoo Sangharsh Samiti.
If immediate steps are not taken to provide an alternative link to overcome the Urni landslide roadblock, apple crop of most of the areas of Kinnaur that has three sub-divisions will suffer, including Choling and Roonang villages of Nichar sub-division and all villages of Kalpa and Pooh sub-division, he said.