With the Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra beginning next week, the district administration has decided not to allow the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to carry out construction work on the three-km stretch between Lakhanpur and Nazang till December as it will cause inconvenience to pilgrims.
"We will not permit BRO to begin construction of the stretch between Lakhanpur and Nazang till December as its construction will create hindrances in Kailash-Mansarovar pilgrimage as the trek route developed as an alternative lies below the under-construction road," Pithoragarh District Magistrate C Ravi Shankar said.
Pebbles and boulders may come down from the under-construction road above and pose a threat to pilgrims using the alternative route, he said.
"Such a situation has emerged as the BRO sat idle and did nothing during the last five months to construct the road," Ravi Shankar said on his return from a meeting to review preparations for the pilgrimage.
He said road construction on the stretch, a part of the 75-km road from Ghatiabagar to Lipulekh on the Indo-China border, would not be allowed till December as the pilgrimage would go on till September to be followed just about a month later by the winter time migration of tribals from high-altitude areas.
The stretch is used by yatris on way to Gunji as well as by traders engaged in border trade with China through the Lipulekh pass and tribals living in high-altitude areas who migrate to their temporary residences in lower areas during winter.
All stakeholders including villagers, traders and Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam officials have expressed their concurrence with the decision not to allow the BRO to carry out construction on the route to provide unobstructed passage to Kailash-Mansarovar yatris, the district magistrate said.
Though we are prepared to take the pilgrims from any route including airlifting them to Gunji from Pithoragarh, the first choice is through the Nazang route as it has been repaired recently, said T S Martolia of the Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam, the nodal agency for the Kailash-Mansarovar pilgrimage.
The three-km stretch was badly damaged in a massive landslide in November last year.
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