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Vyans valley villagers oppose taking over their traditional land for proposed ‘Shiv Dham’ project at Gunji village on Indo-China border

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Vyans valley villagers oppose taking over their traditional land for proposed ‘Shiv Dham’ project at Gunji village on Indo-China border


Pithoragarh, March 8

After the Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually sanctioned a sum of Rs 3220.61 lakh for the construction of a ‘Shiv Dham’ at Manila ground of  Gunji village on the Indo-China border in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand, under ‘Swadesh Darshan Scheme’, the local villagers are up in arms against the proposed ‘Shiv Dham’, claiming that the land is being used by all five villages of Vyans valley for their traditional religious rituals.

“The 20 acres of land, taken by tourist department for the purpose of construction of ‘Shiv Dham’ at Gunji, is the land on which all five villages of Vyans valley namely Gunji, Nabi, Rongkong, Kuti and Napalchu, organise a horse race after worshiping the Vyans Rishi every year,” said Rajendra Nabiyal, president of Vyans Janjati Sangharsh Samiti at Gunji.

The villagers, who submitted a memorandum to SDM Dharchula, Manjit Singh, on Thursday evening said that they welcome construction of ‘Shiv Dham’ at Gunji but any other land should be taken for that.”If the department takes up this land, our tradition of organising traditional horse race as part of Vyans Rishi worship rituals organised every year would stop,” said Rajendra Nabiyal.

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited ‘Adi Kailash’ region of Gunji on October 12, last year and had promised to construct a ‘Shiv Dham’ at Gunji to attract devotees of Lord Shiva from across the country under ‘Swadesh Darshan’ scheme of the union government.

The villagers have demanded to shift the project to some other land in the area.

Kirti Chandra Arya, district tourist officer has said that the administration has already acquired the 20 acres of revenue land at the Gunji village, on which the ‘Shiv Dham’ project is proposed to be constructed and a large statue of Lord Shiva would be erected.

A team of a consultancy company involved with the project had visited the area in August last year to acquaint the villagers about the project. The Gram Pradhans of villages of Nabi and Gunji were with the team and they did not object to the land being acquired, but now the villagers are opposing it. “We have also promised the villagers to develop the horse race ground there on which they agreed upon,” said the district tourist officer.


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