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Vyans valley villagers oppose ‘Heli Darshan’ of ‘Adi Kailash’

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Vyans valley villagers oppose ‘Heli Darshan’ of ‘Adi Kailash’

B.D. Kasniyal

Pithoragarh, May 8

The residents of all seven villages of Vyans valley in Dharchula sub-division of Pithoragarh district have opposed the helicopter services to ‘Adi Kailash’, as according them this move of tourism department to start such services will snatch livelihood opportunities from tribal youths of the valley.

“We have courted arrest at Dharchula protesting in support of our demands a day before, and will  continue our protest until the tourism department alters it’s policy of heli travel to ‘Adi Kailash’ and ‘OM Parvat’, the Shaivite Hindu religious places situated in the valley,” said Rajendra Singh Nabiyal, president of Vyans Valley Sangharsh samiti.

Since the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 12, 2023 to ‘Adi Kailash’, there has been tremendous response amongst religious tourists from across the country to visit the place and to view the ‘Kailash peak and ‘Parwati Sarowar’.

” More than 600 local youth and households are getting livelihood out of pilgrimage done by devotees of Lord Shiva from all over country and if these pilgrims will be taken by helicopters and will be taken back to Pithoragarh the same day the people running taxi services from Dharchula to ‘Adi Kailash’ will lose their livelihood,” claimed  Nabiyal.

The local residents of Vyans valley said that if the heli services will be started, it would attract other helicopter companies resulting in maximum travel in winter and leaving least pilgrims for summer.

Villagers of seven villages of Vyans Valley of Dharchula sub-division of Pithoragarh district holding a protest demonstration against ‘Heli Darshan’ programme of ‘Adi Kailash’ at Dharchula town. of Pithoragarh district.

The tourism department of state is running ‘Helicopter Darshan’ programme to ‘Adi Kailash’ and ‘OM Parvat’ from last month on trial basis that is being opposed by locals.” The policy is this that ‘Heli Darshan’ programme will be run only in winter months, from October to March, while the summer season of pilgrimage will be conducted by road,” said Kriti Chandra Arya, District Tourism Officer, Pithoragarh.

According to Arya, only 8 percent pilgrims visiting Kedarnath shrine in Garhwal avail  helicopter services while the rest 92 percent pilgrims traverse the land route. The same will be followed in ‘Adi Kailash’ where only a small size of pilgrims will take ‘Heli Darshan’ and the the taxi services or home stays will not be affected by it,” claimed the District Tourism Officer (DTO).

Gunji, the village near ‘Adi Kailash’ has been declared as a vibrant village by government of India with the intention of minimising migration from this region situated on Indo-China border, by providing employment to local youths round the year.”This move of bringing pilgrims by helicopters or vehicles registered out from Dharchula, will destroy very concept of vibrant village envisioned by our Prime Minister Modi,” said Nabiyal.

The locals have said that over 100 youths from Dharchula local have taken loans from banks to purchase taxi vehicles. ” if they will not get pilgrims round the year, they would be unemployed and will not be able even to pay bank’s their instalments of loans,” said Nabiyal.

The tourism department has said that the trials of “Heli  Darshan’ programme have been successful and remain viable from financial points of view.”It is almost certain that the scheme will be continued from October this year to March next year,” said the DTO.


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