Mussoorie, May 6
The villagers irked at failed promises of providing road connectivity to Masrana-Kimoi villages blocked the national highway 707 A for more than five hours on Mussoorie- Dhanaulti road leading to Masrana village on Saturday.
The blockade began at 7.00 am morning and continued till more than five hours resulting in traffic jam and causing inconvenience to the commuters on Saturday. The blockade resulted in traffic jam and long queue of vehicles of pilgrims on their way to Uttarkashi was seen on the road.
The urban development minister Madan Kaushik who was on his way to Uttarkashi to attend district plan meeting was also caught in the traffic jam. He tried to persuade the villagers but villagers returned him empty handed. The urban development minister had walked to the other side where a vehicle was arranged for him to Uttarkashi.
The villagers alleged that due to the apathy of the government they we’re finding immense difficulties in meeting their basic needs on daily basis and had to tread several kilometers in case of any medical emergency that has resulted into several deaths in the past. They said that school children from affected villages were forced to walk on foot to reach their schools situated in Mussoorie and have encountered wild animals such as Leopards etc on the return to village on several occasions. The traffic blockade led to a long queue of vehicles ferrying tourists on both sides of the road. The tourists heading towards Dhanaulti and Uttarkashi were also caught in the jam for several hours which led to heated arguments between the tourists and the agitating villagers.
Mohan Aswal the agitating villager said that they have been waiting for the eight-kilometer Masrana- Kimoi road and have raised the issue and agitated for it in past but no action has been initiated yet. He said that they were told back then that the NOC from the forest was not possible for the road due to six-hundred-meter road falling in the Rajaji National Park area. But after similar agitation last year they were able to get the NOC from the nodal officer environment, but the file since then is biting dust at the office of the Conservator and with no action in the sight they were forced to block the road as last resort. Jagbir Singh said that as their plea were falling on deaf ears they were forced to take this action.
Urban development Minister before leaving talked to forest conservator P.K. Patro and asked him to reach the site and find situation to their problem P.K. Patro who was heading for a meeting to Rishikesh had to return and reach the spot where he assured the agitating villagers of granting the NOC within three days period. Only after the assurance from the forest officials the villagers removed the blockade and left for their homes. Manvir Chauhan, Sanjay Chauhan, Mena Chauhan, Vinita Aswal and others were present on the occasion.