Representatives of a number of local deities on Friday met with members of the Estimate Committee of the Himachal Vidhan Sabha at the site of Aut-Largee closed road and urged them to reopen the 4-km stretch lying closed for over five years.
The Estimate Committee comprising MLAs Kuldeep Kumar, chairman of the committee, and members Maheshwar Singh, Sarvin Chaudhary, Sanjay Ratna, Mahender Singh Thakur and Mohan Lal Bragata, visited the site and had a meeting with the representatives.
Notably, the controversial 4-Km stretch was a part of the Chandigarh-Manali national highway 21 prior to the construction of Largee Hydro Power Project. A large portion of the 4-km stretch was submerged in the water reservoir of the power project following which a 2-km tunnel was constructed by the project authorities to bypass the submerged area five years ago.
However, the construction of the tunnel was opposed by the representatives of the local deities, who approached the Himachal government and a high-powered committee of the state assembly a number of times but in vain.
Since then the local deities have been visiting local fairs and religious congregations by crossing hills and not through the tunnel, which is tough exercise that could be risky.
The representatives opine that being head of the local areas, it won't be proper for them to take deities through the tunnel because it's against the deities' supremacy and Lordship. “How our deities can pass through (under) the hills when they are owner of the hill or say the owner of the entire nature, which is against our religious belief,” said Dharm Prakash, a 'gur' (priest) of a local deity.
The representatives further said there was heavy traffic round the clock in the tunnel, and thus, how could they feel safe with usual paraphernalia of deities that includes musical band, priests, member of management committee and followers, who accompany the deity whenever a deity goes out to other place from her permanent place of rest.
The representatives demanded restoration of the road round the year, saying that deities move throughout year to participate in local fairs, religious congregations and on the personal invitation of the local people of the area.