Last Word On Himalayan Ski Village Yet To Be Heard

Shimla: Dust on the controversy over setting up the country’s first Himalayan Ski Village (HSV) around hills of Manali is yet to settle, for the promoters are contesting the government cancellation notice saying that it is totally in error and in continuation of a politically motivated charade.

At the same time highly placed government sources revealed that the HSV Company had replied to the project termination notice that was served on them following a cabinet decision taken last December.

The company reply is said to have been receive on 5th February in which the promoters have countered the government committee’s report findings that valley residents of Manali were opposed to the $ 350 million tourism project. The committee was set up under directions of the High Court to re-consider the Ski Village project.

Contrary to the committee’s findings, sources reveal, HSV in its reply has stated that whereas the tourism venture had employment potential for thousands, only a few people were opposed to it.

Claiming the HSV project was being made a victim to local politics, John Sims, MD of HSV when contacted stated, “while the same government floats numerous tenders without any public input, the show cause notice served on us is totally in error and a continuation of the politically motivated charade.”

He went onto add that the international image of Himachal as an investment friendly state was losing out and good employment opportunities are lost.


On the other hand the high level committee’s report findings (a copy is with My Himachal News) hold that the government “has the right to forfeit the bank guarantee and to terminate the IA (Implementation Agreement) and if feel appropriate, invite global tenders for the project.”

HSV promoters which include Sims and Alfred Ford, a family member of famed owners of Ford Motor Company, have deposited Rs 75 lakhs, of which Rs 25 lakhs is earnest money and Rs 50 lakhs towards Destination Himachal Fund, after signing the MoU and IA for the project.

The report concludes that the Detailed Project Report for the project was incomplete as it did not include an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) which the company was bound to obtain before any lease of government or forest land could be made.

For undertaking an EIA, a public hearing for or against the project was essential, which was not done. The report records that at a public hearing conducted by the committee on the proposed project site on 6th June, 2009 found that the “local people openly rejected this project.”

The Ski Village concept plan proposed by Alfred Ford, chairman HSV, on 19th March, 2004 was given a nod by the state on 9th December, 2005 and an IA was signed on 5th June, 2006. The detailed project report submitted on 3rd March. 2007 laid out a plan to construct 170 seven star rooms, 1000 four star rooms and 100 chalets on 93.1 hectares of land, of which 16.3 hectares was to be on government or forest lands near Palchan village of Manali.The project was touted to be the country’s largest tourism FDI proposal, which expected to attract about $ 350 million of investments.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik has nurtured Hill Post for over a decade. A chequered path had him drift from managing family owned apple orchards, to turning a documentary filmmaker, to a journalist - with India’s leading television networks and newspapers, to boot strapping in founding Start-Ups. He lives in Shimla.

5 Comments

  • If Himalayan Ski Village draft / proposal / project details are not up-to date then government should give them appropriate reasons to modify / reconsider issues. If still not satisfied with their representation then opt for Himachal Ski Village, at least that can be done.

    And for local politics, protests, people are innocent, just follow mob psychology, one day they may repent when same sort of project or proposal gets finalized for Srinagar or Uttrakhand.

    There is no substantial reason to oppose as localities do not understand the potential of project. This is a global world and opposing without actual analysis would be a real harm for Himachal, as well as INDIA. When we go out of our state and meet fellow citizens that we are from Himachal and narrate beautiful stories of tourism and our destinations, viz. Manali, shimla dharamshala ..etc. I would be a matter of pride for Himachal if and International Ski village comes to our land, whole picture of Himachal will change drastically , giving it an international identity. In the name of foregien tourists we just receive back packers, Hashish and marijuana lovers..to whom people cater well, who oppose for a standardized modern tourism investment.

    If drugs and marijuana activities are properly checked, then guest houses will be vacant in full seasons who are mostly used by foreign tourists. Then no one says ‘that such activities are illegal” because it helps them sustain economically.

    Regarding opposition of this proposal, as foreign company or so, then its hypocrisy, same people when their sons and daughters get a lucrative MNC job in Chandigarh or Delhi speak louder and claim high. Why not they ask their children to shun that too? If foregien investment is the issue then they must stop using all MNC products, right from tooth pastes, computers,
    mobile phones, cars, shoes.

    All manali folks specially youngsters are most funky and use the best of attire and accessories as compared to rest of state, then their parents dont say that don’t wear reebok or dont buy a nokia mobile. Same people when buy luxury cars or jeeps then claim pride by bringing Toyota Camry or Ford Endevours or Honda Civic..even our CM travels in MNC cars..isnt it ?

    And regarding pollution at Manali Himalayas, just come in summer peak season and stand by Beas River , then see who is concerned with environment, just watch the back side of Solang valley, where i have captured pictures myself, thousand of plastic bottles, chips packets, all sorts or garbage is there lying and no one bothers, its sheer hypocrisy. Ask fellow citizens that where does that sewage goes in Manali with more than 900 hotels?? to air or gets vanished in pots? Its river Beas that consumes all Shi*. No one speaks for that. People dont even know the ABC of pollution and speak louder. if strict pollution & hygiene norms are implemented then there will be chaos all over, because no one bothers.

    Politicians are afraid because they really dont want people to prosper and get financially independent , it scares them subconsciously. Who needs a politician if life is prosperous and everything goes well in life. Priests and politicians…always in silent nexus and conspiracy with each other … the real Mafias of souls..who want whole humanity to suffer..so that they always remain in power. If people were intelligent enough then they shouldn’t have opposed.

    People are be-fooled in name of Devtas, deity culture and local customs. Ask them that did which devtas allowed harsh construction of power generation hydel projects, which devtas allowed construction of 900 hotels in Manali alone? Which Devta says throw garbage in River beas or throw away plastic bottles in forests and dont care about environment.

    All dramas, just give contracts of construction to village pradhans, let them be the negotiators of land deals and give them life time contracts for Supply of Ski Village groceries , tourism services..they may never speak a word against this.

    And regarding hypocritical statements of politicians “Desh ki Suraksha ko Khatra hai” is neta logon aur mantri – tantri logon se poocho ki tum me se kis mai ke lal ne apna beta fauj me bharti karvaya desh ki seva ke liye?? I guess not a single one will be there. In desh premiyon se pucho ki kabhi
    Siachin ja ke dekha hai ki how our Jawans live in such harsh weather all through year with snow and snow all around, not even a bird to see… Ask our so called desh ke premi neta log ..ki ek Maheen Lga ke Aaao Siachin post pe..then they’ll prove authentic.

    Himalayan Ski Village Nahi ban ne dena to fir Himachal Ski Village Banao, thats what people will say after some time. Fir Paisa kahan se lainge..neta log? Apne accounts se transfer karenge? Ki world bank se begging karne jainge? Why CM is hovering around world bank aid? Ab kyun Hath jod ke mang rahe hain paisa world bank se? Wahan bhi to gore hain..all foregien people controlling entire world bank organisation and financial distribution

    Paisa Khud paida karo..itni kabliyat hai to..Nahi hai tabhi ti year by year our state gets Debt ridden..transfers karvao…thekedaron ki jholiayn bharo.. aur donations lo aur elections jeeto..thats a policy and system of all politicians..and we think they are leading us to some Wonderland !

    • Hi,
      This is Khek Ram from Old Manali I read some of the comments,
      I agree with whatever Rajneesh Sharma wrote and it’s really true most of the local people don’t know anything and they just follow whatever the others say. I think most of them they don’t even know what is a ski village properly.

      When i heard about ski village i was very happy and i am still waiting for it to start while i don’t have any idea will it start or not,
      If it starts i am sure there will be lots of benefits for the locals.

  • We all are waiting for this beautiful gift. It will bring OUR HIMACHAL in front of the international society.

    Anup Ranta.

  • Hi Rajneesh Sir,
    Full respect and affirmation to what you have said. I am studying in IIT Guwahati, Assam. Unfortunately, people outside Himachal Pradesh are all concerned with a certain Himachal brand called ‘Malana Kreem’. Its very true, that the tourism in Himachal in no way generating appropriate funds, it should be. The tourism in Himachal is only contributing by polluting the nature’s affluence we himachali’s are endowed with.

    Our state politics fortunately enough is not marred with the filth, as prevalent in the rest of India. But with the HSV episode, no longer are the days away.

    There are hardly any jobs for engineers and post graduates from top MBA schools in Himachal pradesh. My friends were looking up to HSV and some other investments which would have surely followed. But Alas!!!

    The Devta-Politician nexus is making sense to me now. The innocuous villagers in Kullu, are psychological perturbed by petty things. For small issues they rush to the devtas, who warn them of dire consequences. Religion in kullu-manali, is suffocating the local residents who are completely closed to any technological or social change and slaves to the benevolent dictatorship(as I put it) of the Village Pradhans and The God men.

    The educated lot of Himachal Pradesh should come up and enlighten the masses about the issue, lest we repent on other opportunity gone wasted.

    Regards,
    Manav Verma,
    BTech Computer Science and Engineering,
    IIT Guwahati, Assam.

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