Bhadarwah Residents Decry Himachal Government For Staking Claim On Padri Tourist Resort

Allege Conspiracy Behind The Claim

Amir Iqbal Khan

Bhadarwah:-Jan 15: The recent move of the Chamba Administration of Himachal Pardesh Government to claim ownership on the World famous tourist resort of Padri Dhaar which originally falls under the territorial jurisdiction of Bhadarwah of the district Doda of Jammu and Kashmir has stoked a controversy which is believed to spark yet another spell of mass agitations in the entire Additional District Bhadarwah and other parts of Chenab valley region.

The residents of Bhadarwah getting bewildered on the claim being staked by  Deputy Commissioner, Chamba(H.P) in a letter reportedly flashed to the Deputy Commissioner Doda in which Famous Tourist Resort Padri Dhaar of Bhadarwah has been quoted to be a part of Himachal Pardesh and not of Jammu and Kashmir. People have alleged that some politically motivated forces are behind this pre-meditated planning which is clearly aimed at further bringing geographical degeneration of this region. They also attribute this conspiracy to be linked to the ongoing hidden process of subtraction of the land areas to be included to carve out new administrative units at the cost of sloughing away certain areas of Bhadarwah.

Experts believe that rising popularity of Bhadarwah on the map of Tourism coupled with the mesmerising tourist spots having come in to the eyes of the world and consequently the heavy tourist rush on these spots has further whipped up the selfish motive of other parts of the Union territory and country which are becoming apparent to divest Bhadarwah of its age old pristine glory and thus, want to negate the uncompromising treasures that have been bestowed none other than by Nature to this part of land.

“It is because of the increasing popularity being gained by Bhadarwah in the recent years in terms of its exposure to the world on tourism front that thousands of tourists of diverse interests are visiting this place every month which acts as “eye burner” for some vested interests who want to sabotage this developmental process by way of creating unnecessary controversies,” said Narayan Parkash Khajuria-a legal luminary of Bhadarwah.
“Padri Dhaar is legally an inalienable part of land belonging to Bhadarwah Additional district and from ages, this area is inhabited by the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir who have their ancestral cultivable lands and other immoveable property apart from Nomads who pay Gahcharai taxes to the government of Jammu and Kashmir through the Department of Forest and majority of them have also been given the proprietary land rights as well and so, question does not arise on any body’s claim on this significant tourist spot,” Mr. Khajuria further maintained.

The people further allege that the process of conspiracy of cutting down the size and stature of Bhadarwah politically and geographically has been going quite since long. This is supported by the evidence that of late, the order of the “Surface Transport Ministry GOI” had given requisite sanction with release of funds and initiation of inviting tenders for the construction of Expressway(Four Lane surface transport Link) via Thathri Gandoh Kahaljuggasar to Chamba Himachal Pardesh(H.P) diverting thereby the already existing traffic that used to cross through Bhadarwah valley via Famous tourist resort Padri and Khundi Miral connecting Chamba district of HP. This is seen by the residents of this place as a tactic to sideline Bhadarwah which is now followed by the present conspiracy of delinking Padri and other adjoining areas from Bhadarwah.

“Surprisingly, government has gone a step ahead of the previous governments in extending the distance of road by at least 90 kilometers from Jammu to Chamba district of Himachal Pardesh through Thathri Gandoh Kahaljuggasar. What was the need of laying another road? when already a surface link to Himachal existed as Doda Bhadarwah Chamba road and which is the shortest and the most safest route known so far, catering to the needs of both tourists as well as other commuters. Only the thing to do was to upgrade this road and it should have been connected as per earlier plan by joining Kahaljuggasar area of Bhallessa with Bhadarwah Chamba road one at Baalpadri Galli and second near Shingni Langhera(on H.P side). But since the government had something else in its mind which was only to give a set back to Bhadarwah economically,” rued Maria Muqaddas -a layer by profession adding, ” The Himachal Government’s recent claim for Padri and other areas of Bhadarwah Additional district is a pre-conceived plan which must be seen in unison with the diverting of the road linkage from other side at the cost of the economy kilometrage one has to undertake while travelling through newly designed road for which survey work has completed and construction on the tunnel near Kahaljuggasar is going to start; why dilly dallying tactics on the Bhadarwah Doda road? is being adopted in terms of its maintenance and repairs which, one should understand connecting it with laying of another surface link which besides other things has to overburden the state exchequer to incur unimaginable expenditure on it as it makes the journey more lengthy,” he further pointed out. Expressing dismay, she also observed that this is against the Prime Minister’s Vision of Shortening the distances of places and Hearts in the country.

People of Additional District Bhadarwah while warning both the governments of Himachal Pardesh as also UT of Jammu and Kashmir that they have become weiry of the routinely issued orders and decisions based on obvious derision for dwarfing the Naturally bestowed stature of Bhadarwah Valley. They further warned that there shall be no option left with them but to launch chain of agitations against the ulterior motives of vested interests who are averse to the progress and prosperity of this place.

However, they have demanded that Prime Minister and Home Minister should look in to these regionalistically motivated moves that hurt the sentiments and interests of the residents of this region.