Morni hills get a touch of saffron: VHP to open meditation centre here
The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) is likely to complete work on the centre in a year. It will have four blocks, including a library.chandigarh Updated: Feb 06, 2018 21:13 IST
What stands out in Panchkula’s picturesque Morni Hills is not the greenery. Wooden posts painted orange, or saffron, have been put up at Dhar village in the Thandog block to demarcate a seven-acre plot where the Vishva Hindu Parishad has started the construction for a meditation-cum-research centre.
Difficult to access earlier, the village is also being connected to the rest of the world with a newly widened road.
A member of the Sangh Parivar group, an umbrella of Hindu nationalist organisations led by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the VHP is likely to complete work on the centre in a year. It will have four blocks, including a library.
Former RSS pracharak, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar visited the centre on January 5 to review the construction work.
News of the centre has created a buzz in this otherwise peaceful hilly town in Haryana’s Panchkula district.
Residents of the Thandog block are happy as work on metalling their road has been fast-tracked.
However, the Congress has accused the BJP of allowing its right-wing organisations to intensify their Hindutva campaign. Panchkula’s Congress leader Tarun Bhandari, who is also a treasurer of the Haryana Pradesh Congress committee, has accused the Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP government of working to strengthen organisations like RSS, VHP, Patanjali or its industrialist friends instead of working for the common man.
Haryana’s ruling BJP has also allowed Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali trust to develop a world herbal forest in the Morni Hills area.
The foundation stone for the meditation centre was laid down in October last year by VHP organising secretary general Dinesh Chandra, nearly a year after land was bought from eight to nine land owners in the village.
Dhar village is located close to the 11km main Shertal-Thandog-Harika Ghat road, which will be metalled in two or three months, Haryana PWD executive engineer Harpal Singh said. This road further connects to Sarahan village of Pachhad town in Himachal Pradesh’s Sirmaur district.
Vijay Pal Sharma, who runs a grocery shop in Thandog, said work on the road had been fast tracked since plans for the meditation centre were finalised. “We had heard since 1994 that the main road was to come up but it had not been made pucca (metalled) before,” he said.
A road leading to Dhar village from main road near Thandog government school is also being widened from six feet to 13 feet, mainly for motorable access to the centre.
Purshotam Sharma, a resident of Dhar, said the village, which could not be accessed earlier, now has regular movement of vehicles.
BJP leader and technical advisor to state government, Vishal Seth, who is overseeing work at the centre, however, said it’s wrong to link the road with the VHP project. Plans for the road had already been made and were now taking final shape, he added.
The Morni area is quite underdeveloped. Out of the 500 small villages, over 100, including Dhar and Kohlan, another village close by, have yet to get access to electricity. Just a solar photo-voltaic power plant, set up by the Haryana government at Kohlan a few years ago, provides three to four hours of free electricity to the village’s 10-12 homes.
Last year, Khattar laid the foundation stone of a bridge over Neemwala Road for smooth connectivity with HP’s Nahan area, but work on it is yet to begin.
Pawan Kumar Dhiman, a BJP leader from Morni and member of Shivalik Development Board that looks after Morni’s civic development, said all small villages in Morni will be electrified by 2019 and get a water supply line.