This is not a first hand account. Rather I’ve heard it from different sources. The local MLA (member of legislative assembly) from Jubbal-Kotkhai, Narendra Baragta, recently, at a public rally to appease the common man, announced – “Yeh jo Ching-Ming hai na, jo apne desh mein bade bante hain, yahaan dekho hamaare liye sadak bana rahe hain. Dhumaal (PK Dhumal, Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh) sahab ne unhe yahaan par sadak banane lagaa diya hai. Dekho Dhumal sahab kya kar sakte hain…” Not surprising, that there was a loud cheer from the crowd.
The tender for conversion of the state highway from Theog-Kotkhai-Hatkoti-Rohru into double lane was won by a Chinese company, (Long Jian Road & Bridge Ltd) last year. The company’s quotations were the lowest and armed with the latest technology, the work is in progress and as promised by it, the widening should be on schedule – in three years.
I’ll come to the dog issue later on. However, the first issue is of awarding the contract to a Chinese company. China border is not far off. There have been incidents in the past when Chinese spies have been arrested in Rohru-Jubbal-Kotkhai area.
The road widening work gives free access to the Chinese engineers into the area. What’s worrying is that Long Jian Road & Bridge Ltd, is a state-owned Chinese company. The company has detailed maps with it and free mobility to its engineers. Even though maps too can be sought today through Google Maps, but the Himachal government has personally handed over maps to the Chinamen. There is a great possibility of Chinese spies roaming openly. They simply have to flaunt the company’s I-Card and hence there’s no questioning.
Security issues have really been thrown to the wind. In fact it seems that Himachal is not really prepared for any untoward incidents and takes things lightly. The latest issue of ragging in the Tanda medical college is one just example, where the government has turned a blind eye to security and laws, in spite of having an Ordinance in 2001, which was let be, to be never passed as a Bill.
Allowing free access to Chinamen in the region – is it complacency on the Himachal government’s part or mere overlooking? How is the Himachal government keeping a check on the China company’s employees and making sure they do not involve in espionage
Or does the Himachal government feel that China and India are friendly neighbours like Nepal and India? Anyway the issue has to be addressed well, and be raised at the national level. What’s surprising is the silence of the opposition in the state.
Another issue, I intend to raise here is the possibility of extinction of dogs in the area. I’ve learnt from laymen that the Chinese engineers in the area (Theog, Chhailla and Kotkhai) enjoy their dinner with dog meat. It’s no secret that Chinese love dog-meat. In fact there are legal dog-meat shops in the North East of India. But these Chinese men target stray dogs. As the stray dogs dwindle out in numbers, in the area, the Chinese men send out their juniors to buy domesticated dogs. A black dog (for whatever reasons) is high on demand and gets high quotations of prices.
Also, it’s very possible that these Chinese men will lure young girls too (marriage or outside marriage) and soon we could see Chinese looking children openly roaming in the area. There is a joke around that like in Punjab, where the husband is away in Canada and the wife is lonely back home in Punjab. Local labour was hard to get, hence Bihari labour was welcome. Now, you can guess why many children had names like Ram Khilawan Randhawa. In Upper Shimla area, surnames have ‘ta’ in the end like our respected local MLA – Bargata, and our home-bred actress Preity Zinta. Soon, should we expect names like Yang Ming Kararta, Su Chin Tararta? (Note: I have no knowledge of families having surnames – Kararta and Tararta. These surnames are fictitious and are here only for representative purpose and I mean no offence to any family, which in the unlikely circumstances has the surnames – Tararta or Kararta).
Will the Himachal government please look in to the issue? Are there any NGOs who could take up the issue of security and the animal rights?