It will be a shock to most of the people if they learn that 7 villages in Uttarakhand which houses nearly 400 families were all this time dependent on China for basic food supplies. Yes, these villages in Uttarakhand have no roads or communication facility which has made them depend on China for basic needs.
The Byas valley of Dharchula receieved no help from any government till today which had made them dependent on China, The salt, cooking oil, rice and wheat which were grown in China was being supplied via Nepal.
Despite making many requests to the previous governments they had received no help. An article published by India Times News, few residents had expressed about their plight saying, “We are living as orphans in our own country although we are situated in an important border area with two neighbouring countries. The government should consider our demand for extra ration sympathetically,” said Krishna Garbyal, a resident of Garbyang village which is one of the seven villages including Bundi, Gunji, Kuti, Napalchu, Nabhi and Ronkong whose residents are currently forced to buy daily essentials brought in from China.
This year, villagers say, the rations supplied by the state government have not been able to reach them on time as the access road to the valley has been blocked for several months near the Lipulekh pass which connects these villages to the rest of the district. “The nearest marketplace is in Dharchula, which is over 50 km away. Because the route is blocked nowadays, supplies are very erratic and we are not able to get our government ration on time as it takes a massive effort to transport foodgrain and other items on mules and porters to our village,” said Ashok Nabiyal, a resident of Nabhi village. Reported India Times News.
“The government provides only 2 kilo rice and 5 kilo wheat per family under the public distribution system (PDS) which is not sufficient for us. We are often forced to purchase daily goods from Tinkar and Changru villages of Nepal, whose residents source these items from the Taklakot bazaar in China,” Nabiyal said. According to the villagers, the Chinese goods that they are procuring from the Nepalese villages are “less expensive than those that they get at the marketplace in Dharchula.” “The transportation cost in bringing goods from Dharchula to our villages is substantial. On every kilo, there is a transportation cost of around Rs 30-40. As a result, even a packet of salt which is for Rs 30 costs us Rs 70 by the time it reaches here,” Nabiyal said.
Though, the Army’s Border Roads Organisation (BRO) was constructing roads in the area, it was presently unsuitable for civil vehicular movement which had created huge problem for the villagers.
Following this a PIL was filed in the Uttarakhand High court, which then directed the state government to take immediate action. The state government which took the issue seriously, arranged for helicopters which will now supply all the basic needs for the villages. The helicopter has already started its service and nearly 9000 people, nearly a dozen villages near China border in Pithoragarh district have started receiving supplies.
The helicopter that flew from Dharchula helipad undertook many sorties to the remote area to provide 27 quintals of ration and essential items, said Manoj Kumar Burman, the district supplies officer (DSO). Burman said it is for the first time that a chopper has been used for providing essential supplies in the remote area close to the China border.
“The old natural paths used by villagers had been cut as the Border Road Organisation is constructing a road in the area. Due to this, the people in the area were facing problems for some time,” he said. Burman said the helicopter will take more sorties to the villages within a few days. Hindustan Times.
Now, the villages of Lamari, Bundi, Chaiya Lekh, Garbiyang, Napalchu, Gunji Nabi, Rongkong, Kuti, Kalapani, Nabhi Dhang of Pithoragarh will no longer have to depend on China for food supplies.