Ski Village public hearing turns ugly



Kullu: High-pitched protests are something uncommon in Himachal Pradesh, but on Saturday residents of Kullu valley redefined social resistance as they nearly turned violent protesting the Himalayan Ski Resort project during the public hearing called at Kothi village.

Drawing criticism for having called a public hearing without even having the detailed project report, the six-member committee constituted by the government for the purpose was forced to watch the protest as mute spectators as villagers made their verdict known to them.

The committee members could not say anything as the gathering kept on agitating against the project by raising slogans. The situation turned worse amidst hot exchange of words between the family of one of the directors of the project and public resulting in manhandling of a family member of the director. Luckily the situation did not aggravate further even as a handful of cops stood there as side spectators.

The protest was spearheaded by Jan Jagaran Avam Vikas Sanstha. BJP leader Maheshwar Singh expressed doubts about the agenda of the meet, stating that it was not clear whether the government wanted opinion on the MoU signed in December 2005 or any new arrangement. Former MLA Chandersen Thakur claimed that he had requested the government to provide him the DPR of the project but the request was refused.
Chairman of the committee, Monisha Nanda, tried to justify their silence by stating that they were there only to know public opinion on the direction of the high court, but the frustration on the faces of the committee members was quite visible.

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  1. Sounds trout (read fishy!) Not as crystal clear as Beas waters…Not even the MLA ?! Seems "East India Co." is here again to do "business" this time with H.P.!

  2. Mr Mohan would like to request you to kindly talk sense on this forum and don’t try to convert it into forums like present on rediff, etc.

  3. Hi Vivek??? What "nonsense" has hurt you so much!? May be you need to take your sense of humour at a higher level,if any…or are you the serious activist types!

  4. Everyone has his own view being outside from Kullu i see project very great for generating good employment and bringing out more tourist to Himachal, but there may some other problems in establishment which i am not getting anywhere on internet. i dont know the exact cause of protest against the Project.. i know something that local gods were not agreed for the project. if that is the only cause i would not like to comment anything but if its something else someone please point out pros and cons of the project ..

  5. Amit: the problems are many. Making artificial snow for ski resorts is the single most environmentally-damaging form of tourism. The local herders depend on the area for grazing. Water and electricity supplies will be diverted from the towns in order to feed the ski village. The village is proposed to be built along a sensitive area for the Indian military. The mountains are sacred. The project is being headed up by an American, whose #1 priority will be to turn a profit for investors; the welfare of locals will run a far distant second. If Himachal wants a ski village, why not build one a la Gulmarg without outside interference? Prices of everything will rise dramatically once the foreigners start flocking to the area. Kullu's poor will become much, much poorer (just like in U.S., where businessmen are notoriously self-serving). Lastly, many believe the ski village is a thinly-veiled real estate development scheme. Indian nationals from outside of Himachal are not allowed to buy land in Himachal. The ski village will be selling condos to internationals.

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