BOULDERS PAINTED with different colours in the river stretch adjoining tourist spot Chakki Mod near Kasauli in Solan district have raised concerns. Advocates of eco-diversity claim flora and fauna of the particular region is directly affected by this.
The boulders were painted by the operator of a homestay-cum-restaurant, Anand Singh of Solan, who claimed that it was only to decorate the surroundings. “It is a rainy rivulet passing next to my guest house. We painted the boulders with a view to decorating it. I took the restaurant on lease for three years six months back. We painted the stones with different colours only to make the place more attractive,” he said.
The river stretch near Chakki Mod is situated around two-and-a-half kilometre down from Kalka-Shimla National Highway-22.
Solan Deputy Commissioner K C Chaman said, “Paint on any boulders, rock lying in the natural rivulet is illegal. The paint will be removed shortly. Action will be taken against the persons responsible for this. Painting the stones/rocks lying in the middle of river is completely banned in Himachal.”
Professor Naval Kishore at Geology Department of Panjab University said, “If the painted boulders are in the middle of river then the paint will definitely impact the aquatic line of the water. The paints made with strong chemicals have an adverse effect on the flora of the surrounding areas.”
Rima Dhillon, Chandigarh-based bird enthusiastic, who has been visiting Chakki Mod for decades, said, “The portion of the rivulet, which has now painted boulders, was once hot birding spot as several bird species were found here at one time. Now the scenario has changed. Even birds, which shy from human creatures, do not sit on the painted/artificial stones. Six months back, sighting of crested kingfisher, kalij pheasant was normal here. But now, you will have to go deep further towards Bhojnagar to see this bird, which cannot easily change its territory.”
Jasbir Singh Randhawa, a former tea planter who worked in Assam and is now settled in Chandigarh, said, “Such things disturb the nature. Painted stones give an impression that these are private properties. And definitely, visitors treat these objects like their personal property. These are attempts to destroy the nature.”
In 2002, the Supreme Court had fined the Himachal Pradesh government Rs 1 crore for failing to save beautiful rocks, defaced by soft drink companies, in Manali area of Kullu district.