Old brigade gives voice to villages
It’s about the old brigade quietly making a difference in villages around Manali, which has no time to relax and has a daily job cut out for each member. A report by Archana Phull.india Updated: Feb 28, 2008 03:43 IST
It’s about the old brigade quietly making a difference in villages around Manali. This group of retirees has no time to relax and has a daily job cut out for each member.
Thoroughly read, some six of them, including former headmasters, ex-servicemen and a senior scientist, put their heads together at a village point and then spread out to villages in Manali belt to awaken people about glaring local issues socially and scientifically. They give voice to people and in this agenda there are no limits for them to rise to the occasion if anything goes against local interest.
These senior citizens, under the banner of Jan Jagran Avem Vikas Sanshtha, were the ones to file a PIL in high court against the most controversial multi-crore Himalayan ski village project allotted to a US-based company, as they feel the project is against the interest of locals and extremely damaging for hill environment.
The project had generated much heat with the previous Congress government going ahead with it despite protests. It’s now pending in the court with a hearing in March, and the company is not doing any activity on site.
“We had to file a PIL for cancellation of the project, because it would destroy the ecology in this beautiful hill till the Rohtang Pass, and because the previous government had signed the agreement on terms and conditions suitable to the company, not the locals,” says Lal Chand Katoch, the founder president of the manch, from a nearby village Batahar.
In fact, Katoch was the one to float the idea of a forum of the elderly in 1999, while he was still in service, with a social objective — to create awareness among people to stick to their cultural and traditions, and to make the youth shed the habit of smoking, drinking and drug addiction.