Besides the threat from landslides after the recent rain and snow in tribal district of Kinnaur, villagers of Rarang has a problem to grapple with that has caused environmental damage which, in turn, has affected their lives.
The "indiscriminate" blasting to widen the Hindustan-Tibet road on July 25 has become a cause for concern for villagers as it dried the natural water source of the village.
This is not all. Tremors occurred due to heavy blasting has posed threat to the newly constructed houses as cracks appeared in the buildings as well as septic tanks constructed under the Sampooran Swasthaya Abhiyan (total sanitation), besides breaking window panes.
People had protested on the main highway last Saturday, demanding the district administration and the general engineering reserve force (GRFF), a wing of Border Roads Organisation (BRO) that maintains the Hindustan-Tibet highway, to take up the issue seriously. Though the blasting has stopped, the threat looms.
"Heavy snowfall last winter and the recent snow-rain disaster triggered landslides, damaging properties. People oppose any activity that causes further damage to the village situated on a rocky mountain," village 'pradhan' Rajinder Negi said.
He said villagers' demand was guided by their deity. "The deity expressed annoyance (at the blasting activity) and ordered to stop such activities. It assured us to revive the water source after the 'pooja' (prayer). After the prayer service, water source has started been revived to some extent," Negi said.
On villagers' demand, a team, comprising additional district magistrate (ADM), Pooh; GREF; officer commandment; and contractor undertaking the task of widening the road, visited the village on Monday. "After the meeting, officials have provided in writing to stop heavy blasting till further orders," the 'pradhan' said.
Villagers have even raised the issue with Kinnaur MLA Jagat Singh Negi, the district administration and the GREF.
The Kinnaur MLA said, "It has been a matter of concern as the terrain is fragile and the villagers' demand is justified. The contractor carried out indiscriminate blasting to accelerate the widening work. I have urged the district administration to look into the matter."
Deputy commissioner (DC) Capt JM Pathania said, "After meeting the villagers, I have directed that the widening work will be resumed with controlled blasting and asked the villagers to keep a vigil at the work in progress. If heavy blasting is resorted to again, they should inform me."