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Pangi residents feel politically ignored
Kuldeep Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Shaur (Pangi valley), November 12
Residents of Pangi valley say they are the victims of a vicious political circle created by two dominant lobbies of the Congress and the BJP.

They have no choice but to vote for one candidate once and the other the next time.

Moreover, if anybody from here intends to contest elections or accompany a candidate of his choice for filing nomination, he has to travel over 600 km to Bharmour via Lahaul, Kullu and Kangra districts.

All their pleas for inclusion in the Churah region, currently with the Rajnagar segment, have fallen on deaf ears. Pangi residents have even formed a joint front with residents of Tisa in the Churah area and filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the high court demanding their inclusion in the Churah segment.

Residents in this distant pocket of the tribal Bharmour segment in Chamba district say they enjoy trade and geographical contiguity with Udaipur subdivision of Lahaul valley and cultural affinity with Churah region of Chamba district.

“We have nothing common with Bharmour and our case regarding our inclusion in the Churah constituency as proposed by the delimitation commission is pending in the high court,” they say. Over 3,500 people of Pangi had signed a memorandum and submitted it to the commission proposing their inclusion in Churah, they said.

They also have a lot to complain against the alleged two lobbies of the contractor mafia headed by Ram Charan of the Congress and Bhani Chand of the BJP. For them, they are the “political kingpins” of the two parties that have been governing this segment for years.

“Nothing has been done to preserve and promote Pangi’s biodiversity, including herbal wealth,” said Om Parkash, a tribal from Hillor village. “Apple cultivation has not been promoted among Pangwals, except in a small pocket of the Luj-Dhabas area. Cultivation of nuts and vegetables has immense scope in the area but nothing worthwhile has been done to promote it,” he pointed out.

Nothing substantial had been done to promote tourism in the valley as the two leaders, Tulsi Ram from the BJP and Thakur Singh Bharmouri, both seeking election from Bharmour, had created and promoted the two local lobbies of contractors in Pangi, rued Pangwals. “We have not been able exercise our political rights as Pangwals are a minority and dominated by leaders from Bharmour,” rued Beli Ram and a few villagers.

Pangwals alleged the two lobbies had been patronised by the two leaders over the years. All works and contracts of roads and other schemes are dished out as per whims and fancies of these two contractors depending on which party was in power and which MLA was representing them.

On the other hand, officials in Pangi said all-round development had taken place in the valley under single-line administration. Tourists were coming to Pangi from Lahaul and across Saach Pass. The Udaipur-Kilar road was maintained by the BRO and now the state government had taken it over for proper maintenance.

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