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                      LESSER KNOWN   HIMACHAL

Pangi: An Idyllic Mountain Valley

The tribal areas of the State are no longer what they were years back.  These areas now have almost all kinds of facilities which have enabled these areas taste the fruits of  development  being enjoyed by other parts of the State.   The Pangi valley in Chamba District  as the development in this areas is taking place as never before despite having extremely difficult terrain and indifferent climatic conditions.  It is poised to emerge as a tribal belt with cent percent road connectivity to all the Panchyat Headquarter within next 2-3 years will make this valley more prospress. 

The valley is one of the remotest tribal areas of the State, owing to most difficult access, the State government has accorded utmost priority in creating road communication infrastructure and providing connectivity to all the 54 villages of the valley. Consequently, the pace of development has been accelerated to a great extent in all the fields.

The last 4 years have witnessed expansion and improvement in the road connectivity to all the 16 panchayats headquarters of Pangi tehsil at large scale.  Out of these 11 panchayats headquarters stand connected with motorable roads.  The area of Pangi tehsil is spread over 1601 Sq. KM with a population of 17,598 persons as per 2001 census. So far motorable road length of 140 KM has been completed while jeepable road length is 57 KM. Out of these 26 KM is metalled. The cross drainage has been done on    35 Kms, while 60 Kms road now have the facility of soling. The wearing has been done on 32 KM length while the 26 KM road length is tarred.

One of the remarkable features of road connectivity in Pangi Valley has been the 170 KM road link from Chamba to Killar via Saach-pass. This is known as Alwas-­Killar road and it is part of Ahju khara Mukh - Chamba - Tissa- Alwas- Killar road. The total length of this road  is 67  KM from  Dind. This road was opened for vehicular traffic last year. From Chamba via Tissa Bairagarh and Satrundi, the road is motorable up to Bhatotu and from here to KiIlar, the 30 Km distance is jeepable. Earlier, people were required to undergo an ordeal of 800 Kms long journey to reach Killar from Chamba via Kullu and Manali.

The construction of this road was basically aimed at providing connectivity to District Headquarter Chamba from Killar. The construction of this road is also considered significant from the defense point of view. The distance from Pathankot railway station / Cantonment via Manali to Killar is more than 680 Kms.  Pathankot to Le via Jammu and Kashmir is about 920 KM. After the completion of this road link the distance from Pathankot to Leh via Saach pass has been reduced to 670 K.M. With the construction of this road the Pangi Valley with a population of 21,000 at present has been connected with the shortest route with its District Headquarter Chamba. The Chamba town via Manali-Lahaul is 680 KM and Kishtwar - Doda - Jammu the distance is 570 KM. The Saach pass remains open for vehicular traffic from mid June to October. While during the rest of the period the road communication is snapped due to heavy snowfall. The Sach pass is located at a height of 14500 feet above sea level.

In Pangi Valley the agro-climatic conditions range between a height of 7,000 feet to 11,000 feet above sea level and all the villages are located within this range of height. The number of revenue villages is 106 but only 54 villages are inhabited. Of these 30 have been connected with the road and the faster pace with which of road construction in the valley is taking place rest of 24 villages are likely to be connected with motorable roads within next 2-3 years.

The entire area of Pangi Valley is spread in 3 valleys. These are Saichu, Hudan Bhatori and Sural Bhatori. At present, the construction of link roads is in progress to panchyat headquarters of Resi, Kothi (Kariyuni), Luj, Kumar and Shoon. According to an estimate the State Govt. is spending around Rs. 5 crore every year under different schemes on the construction of roads and bridges in Pangi tehsil. As far as the bridges are concerned, the Killar division of state PWD has constructed 2 motorable bridges, 3 jeepable bridges,  3-foot bridges in different areas of Pangi valley. The work is in progress on the construction of 2 bridges.

The Saichu valley road is 22 KM from Killar and it connects Dharwas, Sural, Rus Unu, Tai Sural and Sural Bhaturi. Out of this so far 19 KM road length stands completed. The major road link in Pangi valley is Killar to Hudan Bhatori. It is 14.6 KM long and has been completed upto 13 KM. The link road to Mindhal village is 3.6 KM on the boundary of Lahaul and Jammu areas and it has connected panchyat headquarter of Mindhal and also holy temple of Mata Mindhal.

All the roads in Pangi Valley have given a big boost to the growing of cash crops in all the areas. During the last couple of years, the tribal people of the valley had taken up the production of Peas (Matar) in a big way. The Peas is mostly grown in rural Hudan and Purthi areas and is considered to be an off-season vegetable since it is grown during the months of September- October. The turnover of Peas in 2006 was estimated at Rs. 25 Lacs. The Peas grown in Pangi valley fetches appreciable rates between Rs.20-25 per Kg. and the entire crop is purchased by the contractors from Jammu and Pathankot area in the fields itself. The people of valley has also taken up cultivation of Apple besides other fruits, which is also fetching remunerative rates for their production and resulting in the economic prosperity of local people. 

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