Persecuted by landslides at Rahni Nullah below Rohtang pass, residents of Lahaul-Spiti and Kullu, stormed into the shelter of deities and organized a worship here on Sunday.
Thousands of people including followers of prominent deities of valley, panchayat representatives, farmers, Manali taxi union and luxury coach union members, travel agents, vyopar mandal gathered at Rahni Nullah and performed rituals to please the deities. They claimed that government and border roads organization (BRO) have failed to maintain the Manali-Rohtang-Lahaul highway and now only God can do something for them. They said the difficulty in maintenance of this highway could be due to some kind of divine fury so they provided offerings to them.
“When we asked about the status of working progress on Manali-Rohtang highway, BRO officials said they will not respond to the public. They are a unit of central government and officials in Delhi will answer our queries. This is strange. They are hiding their shortcomings,” Ram Singh, a follower of lord Ghepan, head deity of Lahaul-Spiti, said.
“Who said general reserve engineering force (GREF) is the most efficient road building organization of the country. This is shameful that they have failed to find remedy to only 200 meter sinking stretch for last one year. They are busy more on criticising each other than making plan to solve the problem. We have lost our faith from the organization and prayers are the only hope,” another follower Dorje said.
A farmer from Goshal village Amar Singh said their vegetables were rotting in the fields and weather has no mercy on them. “We have only six months to earn the livelihood for a year. But landslides, untimely snowfall and ignorance by government have made our living hell. Now only almighty can understand our pain,” he said.
Pritam Chand, a farmer from Shansha village said that landslides at Rahni nullah were occurring due to the water seeping from holy Dashaur lake situated above Rohtang pass. He added, “Deities of valley make their ablutions in the lake. The destruction of highway may be due to the tampering with lake and abode of other deities at Rohtang pass. The worship is our last hope.”
Agitated public said that on the pretext of rest, BRO has declared Tuesday a no traffic day on Rohtang pass for no use and public was suffering its consequences as this is the lifeline of both Kullu and Lahaul-Spiti. They said if worship won’t work, they will have to take a tough stand against organization and government.