Unrest having exploded up against the frequent road blocks, the Kinnaur district residents have decided to go ahead with their premeditated protest on June 15 at Reckong Peo. Hindustan Times had carried a report on the issue "Bad condition of Kinnaur roads - Locals submit memorandum to Centre, state government" on April 30.
Talking to HT over the issue, Hangrang Sangarsh Samiti president Shanta Kumar Negi said, "Almost a month has passed since we had written to the central and state government. We have only been responded in forms of letters issued to various departments, including chief engineer (CE) public works department, CE national highway, to look into the matter. However, there is still no clear assurance on how the things will be brought under control with permanent solution to mitigate the problem and any impending disaster."
The natives rue that the traffic movement often gets affected on NH-5 with landslide having completely blocked the road at Urni dhank for the last one year, while the highway at Purbani Jhulla is being affected on and off for the last four years.
"The problem at Purbani Julla is life threatening with rolling and shooting stones having damaged a number of vehicles and injuring people," said Negi, adding that the road condition was also not good at Lal dhank, Nathpa, Pagal nullah and Nigulsari, which also get affected by landslides, disrupting the traffic time and again.
Negi complained that the farmers and orchardist often find it difficult and have to bear losses, owing to difficult terrain and transportation of their produce to the markets.
Negi maintained that despite the road being strategically important to national security considering the fact that it was the only solitary road to the border shared with China, only temporary measures were being adopted to clear the road. "No permanent measures have been explored to address the frequent landslides," he said, adding that such an approach was contrary to the disaster management in the area that needed scientific measure to stop landslides."
The natives of Kinnaur, under the banner of Hangrang Sangarsh Samiti, had submitted a memorandum to the central and the state government on April 29, demanding a permanent solution to address the frequent road blocks at several points on National Highway-5, which connects Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti districts with the state.
In a written communiqué, the residents had threatened to hold a protest if the issue was not resolved. The natives had also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, union defence minister Manohar Parrikar, union transport minister Nitin Gadkari, governor Kalyan Singh Rawat and chief minister Virbhadra Singh about the issue, demanding for immediate restoration of the NH.