The 4th Askot-Arakot Abhiyan (1974-84-94-2004) expedition by PAHAR, which began on May 25 from PANGU has covered over 60 villages of district Pithoragarh. The group is trekking 20-25Kms. a day. Today, it has reached KEEMU in Bageshwar district. Over 1,000Kms long distance will be covered before July 10 at Arakot near Himachal border.
It was quite interesting, listening to the coverage of this ABHIYAN by Shri Rajesh Joshi of the BBC London on the Radios.
Here is an update and comments made by the villagers:
- Bhim Singh Dhami of GHATTABAGARH said, “Nothing has changed here in the last 50 years. The villagers are backward and no one comes forward. This is really a ‘Silent Valley’, except for a KACHI road, no change has taken place”
- In GARJIYA DHAR area, there are no basic health services, no schools, no electricity, said the Ward member Sarswati. “We want our children to be educated, but for fear of wild animals and difficult terrain, we send them to a school, you can see the condition” The school has hardly any structure, just a common meeting place.
- The villagers of MADKOT are living a stressful life. Most of the cultivatable land has fallen barren by regular landslides. Dan Singh Dhanik told the trekkers that their village of 150 plus habitats faces a new challenge of VARUNAWAT kind.
- The nationwide Pulse Polio campaign of the Govt. looks like a media hype here as it has yet reach these villages.
- NGOs are scared of entering these villages as there are hardly any facilities available for them to stay. Basically, they are the people who need NGOs to work. However, Foundation for Ecological Securities has begun good work with the help of villagers.
The members who want to join the ABHIYAN can write to me for more details at email@example.com
– Chandan Dangi