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On 124 km walk to demand roads, Sirmaur villagers reach Shimla to meet CM Jai Ram

The 15-member group, which walked for three days and two nights, reached Shimla on Tuesday afternoon.

india Updated: Oct 10, 2018 10:16 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
HIndustan Times, Shimla
Sirmaur,Shimla,Himachal pradesh
A group of villagers holding placards to draw attention of the state government in Shimla on Tuesday.(HT Photo)

Angry over government’s failure to provide road connectivity to their village for last 16 years, residents of remote Chadbhar village of Renuka constituency in Sirmaur district commenced a 124-km foot march on Sunday to the state capital Shimla to draw attention of chief minister Jai Ram Thakur.

The 15-member group, which walked for three days and two nights, reached Shimla on Tuesday afternoon.

With placards, the protesting villagers camped outside Himachal Pradesh secretariat waiting to meet the CM to highlight government’s apathy. “Leaders from both main political parties kept promising us road, but no one seems to be bothered about our hardships,” said Rajimnder Singh, a villager.

Another villager Dilawar Singh added, “Our march is totally apolitical. We don’t want any party to draw political mileage.”

Presently, residents have to scale a steep climb of four kilometres to reach their village. The village is located in Churdhar mountains which is famous for a temple dedicated to local revered deity — Shirgul devta.

The residents of Chabhdhar, who marched to Shimla, were also joined by residents of Paijal, Suchawala, Jo-Ka Bagh and Khanatia hamlets, which together have a population of 1,200 people who suffer daily due to lack of roads.

Villagers said scores of tourists visit Chabdhar, which is also popular for its natural beauty, but successive government’s have failed to construct road to the village. Former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh led government in 2002 initiated work on Naurdhar Chadbdhar road and sanctioned ₹40 lakh for the same but work on the road did not start.

Residents have to carry ration and other essential commodities on their back while going towards the village. And situation turns worse at times when someone falls sick in the village.

The villagers said they had been pleading political leaders of both Congress and BJP to complete the road, but to no avail. “In the last 16 years, we have met Lok Sabha members, chief ministers, legislators and even leaders of political parties and everyone assured us that road will be constructed, but no one helped us,” said 27-yearold Tapender Singh, another villager.

He added, “It is due to apathy of the government that we suffer. We want the government to explain reasons for this discrimination.”

“It was after rounds of meeting in the village that we decided to march to Shimla. We are hopeful that at least our efforts will draw attention of chief minister Jai Ram Thakur,” said Arun (26), a resident of Chabdhar.

Another villager Rajinder Singh highlighted the plight of school-going children who he said travelled eight kilometers to reach their school.

He added, “Due to lack of road connectivity, development of the village has come to a halt. The mainstay of villagers is agriculture, but we have to pay heavy price for transportation of crop.”

Meanwhile, the Himachal Pradesh CM held a meeting with different departments on Tuesday to review conditions in the village.

First Published: Oct 10, 2018 10:16 IST