Manali: Death of Atal Bihari Vajpayee has Prini, the village that the former Prime Minister had adopted as a second home, in mourning for having lost one of their own.
”He was connected with us and our village like a family member and used to call our village his second home. He visited Prini many times and lived many days here,” recalls Shiv Dayal, president of the local Panchayat.
Reminiscing his association with Vajpayee, he adds, “he was such a great personality with down to earth nature which made him a unique and unforgettable human being. All villagers are very sad on hearing about the death of the former prime minister as if they have lost their own family member.’
Shiv Dayal talked to Hill Post over phone even as he with other villagers attended former PM’s cremation in Delhi.
Not only Prini but Vajpayee occupies a special place in the hearts of the people of Lahaul-Spiti, the adjoining district. It was on AB Vaypayee’s initiative that the Rohtang tunnel project was launched to provide year around connectivity to this remote Himalayan belt trapped behind high mountain ranges, with the passes only permitting accessibility for around 6 months in a year.
”A tunnel under Rohtang was first thought off by Moravian missionaries in Lahaul valley sometime in the year 1870 but it was only in 2000 that Atal Bihari Vajpayee formally announced of connecting Kullu-Manali valley with Lahaul by constructing this tunnel on a personal request of his childhood friend and local RSS worker Tashi Dawa alias Arjun Gopal,” says Dr Mohan Parsheera, president of Lahaul Spiti Janjatiye Kalyan Samithi (LSJKS).
“Work on the project has made progress and now the tunnel excavation has connected from both ends, which will enable year around connectivity for the people of Lahaul. The tunnel is a boon for Lahauli’s and the people will remember him with respect for centuries. We have been demanding that the tunnel be Atal – Arjun as a gesture of the true essence about friendship that a man of his stature can only stamd by, added Dr Parsheera.
LSJKS was constituted by Arjun Gopal in 1999 on the advice of Vajpayee for raising the issues of the district as well as the demand for tunnel connectivity to the land locked region.
The Kullu-Manali district administration paid it’s last tribute to the departed soul by offering flowers and lightening of 108 clay lamps at Shadhabai Gompa. People across the district from every political party paid their heartfelt condolences to the great soul.