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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Himalayan Ski Village still a distant dream

Chief Secretary Sudripta Roy,who only three days back submitted a file to Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh favouring withdrawal of the SLP,said there was no proposal to revive the project.

Written by Ashwani Sharma | Shimla | Updated: April 16, 2014 11:57:04 am

Despite the Himachal Pradesh government recently proposing to withdraw a Special Leave Petition (SLP),filed by the previous BJP regime,against the Rs 1,600 crore Himalayan Ski Village project proposed by the earlier Congress government,the state is not planning any moves to revive the project.

Chief Secretary Sudripta Roy,who only three days back submitted a file to Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh favouring withdrawal of the SLP,said there was no proposal to revive the project.

“I have simply written to the chief minister suggesting withdrawal of the SLP filed by the previous government,which was opposed to the project. It is now up to promoters to come to the government to pursue the project. The chief minister is yet to take a final view,” he told the Indian Express.

In addition to the opposition by the BJP regime,the project has also been facing strict criticism on environmental grounds.

Local panchayats and environmental groups have already started regrouping to oppose the project and are now backing ack sitting Kullu MLA,Maheshwar Singh.

“I was opposed to the project before and will not compromise on my stand even now. The project is against culture of devbhumi. It could spell an ecological disaster and drive away locals from their rights on natural resources including land,water and livelihood,” he said.

The Kullu MLA added,“There is no need for such a mega-scale project in the ecologically fragile valley. We can’t allow an investment which is against culture and social values and way of life in the hills. Existing hotel accommodation in Manali is sufficent for the tourists and can even be upgraded.”

The High Court,in its order of 2012,had specifically made the promoters – Himlayan Ski village – get all necessary clearances before any move on the project,the company was set-up by Alfred B Ford,great grandson of US businessman Henry Ford.

When contacted Ajay Dabra,senior executive of the promoter’s company said: “The government decision [for withdrawal of SLP has come suddenly. We are studying the issue and will respond once the company gets ready at its level.”

Project profile

The Himalayan Ski village company proposes to develop world-class ski slopes between Kothi and Jagat Sukh,north of Manali,with gondola ski-lifts that will cater to well-heeled adventure tourists. There will also be a 600-room five-star hotel,300 chalets,food courts,handicraft village,theatre complex and convention centre. The state government has been assured an income of Rs 30 to 50 crore per annum. However,the local panchayats,NGOs and environmental groups have opposed the project raising environmental concerns.

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