Tiny Himachal village cut off, nears food crisis

Tiny Himachal village cut off, nears food crisis

Rainfall, landslides have prevented supplies from reaching Bara Bhangal

Villagers have resorted to limiting consumption and using remaining winter rations. Credit: Twitter

A tiny hamlet in Himachal Pradesh, accessible by a long and arduous trek of over 50 kilometres, is on the brink of a food crisis as they await rations and essential supplies from other areas.
Mules escorted by men are the usual avenue for rations and supplies to reach Bara Bhangal, a back of beyond village in the Baijnath sub-division with the tourist hotspot Dharamshala as its district headquarters.

However, incessant rainfall and landslides have destroyed a footbridge and a major part of the track used for mules. As a result, the village has become inaccessible for months on end.
If the supply situation continues, the village could plunge into a serious crisis. The villagers have resorted to cuts in consumption and using whatever winter rations they have stocked at home.

The village has a population of about 675 and more than 1,000 nomadic shepherds who camp at various locations. The shepherds also depend on rations for daily needs and for the livestock.
The authorities explored the possibility of using helicopters to drop supplies into the area. However, that plan was grounded due to bad weather in the region.  The government is now examining other ways to reach the village.
The village usually remains cut off for months at a time because of heavy snowfall. The treks open around April when the snow melts.  That is normally when the supplies reach the village. Villagers usually stock rations and supplies to get through each winter.

The authorities in Himachal's Kangra district said the government will use a helicopter to drop supplies into the village. Till Aug. 7, however, the bad weather has left the craft stuck in Chamba.

The local community has submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioner calling for urgent intervention to help the village.

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