Sujay Mehdudia

CHAMBA (HP): Faced with indifferent attitude of successive governments towards their demands and needs, residents of inhospitable and mostly snow-bound villages of Chhota Bhangal and Bara Bhangal have threatened to boycott the May 13 Lok Sabha polls. These villages fall under the Kangra parliamentary constituency.

The electorate, numbering around 8,000, are agitated over the authorities’ failure to give them a firm assurance that they would not be moved out of the Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary. In fact, officials say these residents have put up banners in their villages stating that politicians are not allowed there to campaign till they resolve their problems.

Last resort

Many of the residents in various villages including Swar, Bheda, Bagli and Khundiyan village say this is their last resort to draw the attention of the authorities to their problems. The residents are upset that they are being forced to move out of the Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary which will badly affect their livelihood. They are opposing any kind of rehabilitation and want that they should be allowed to continue living in their villages, something that is unacceptable to the administration.

Sensing the mood of the people, politicians have preferred to skip campaigning in the region.

The panchayats are part of the Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary spread over 944 sq km at altitudes above 3,000 metres. According to Bhim Singh, a panchayat pradhan of the area, elections are the best time to catch the attention of the media as well as the politicians. “We want a solution to our problems,” he added.