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HindustanTimes Mon,20 Oct 2014

Urni villagers to stage five-day protest at Rekong-Peo

HT Correspondent  Shimla, August 19, 2014
First Published: 20:35 IST(19/8/2014) | Last Updated: 20:42 IST(19/8/2014)

 Residents of Urni village, that recently witnessed landslides, said they would hold demonstrations from August 21 to August 25 under the banner of Karcham Wangtoo Sangharsh Samiti (KWSS) at Rekong-Peo, demanding provision of agricultural land. The recent, massive landslide led to the devastation of the entire village and displacement of residents.

Chief of the Urni Gram Panchayat Suneel Negi said apple orchards of residents and National Highway -22 had been destroyed in the landslide. Negi, who is also general secretary of KWSS, said residents would stage a five-day dharna outside the deputy commissioner office at Rekong Peo, after which, further strategy would be decided.

"We are helpless. We cannot see out livelihood getting destroyed in front of our eyes. The government has been giving assurances but with every passing day, our village is getting destroyed in the landslide," he said.
 
Deputy commissioner of Kinnaur DD Sharma said work on identification of land was in progress. He said the district administration was trying to regulate traffic in Kinnaur district and efforts were on to identify alternative options for villagers.

In July, members of the Urni Panchayat had met chief minister Virbhadra Singh and demanded replacement of land as their orchards had been destroyed due to frequent landslides in the village. Following this, Virbhadra Singh had assured residents that the government would initiate steps to rehabilitate them.

The district administration then prepared a proposal and identified land (for rehabilitation of villagers) in the adjacent Panchayat Chagaon. However, half of the identified land falls under the forest area.

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