Ski villages faces wrath of ‘devta’ Pratibha Chauhan Tribune News Service Shimla, January 12 One of the biggest foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in the country, the 350 million Himalayan Ski Village in Kulu is facing opposition from the most unusual quarter, the local Jamlu deity, who has exhorted the 365 ‘devtas’ in the Valley of Gods to oppose the project. The ‘Jamlu devta’ perhaps for the first time today interacted with mediapersons and asked the erstwhile ruler of Kulu to call a ‘dharam sansad’ (congregation) of the devi-devtas of the valley so that they can prevent the project from coming up. The deity, through his ‘gur (oracle) aired his displeasure over the coming up of this $500 million project to be set up Ford an American company. The ‘Jamlu’ devta, whose temple is located at Batahar near Naggar, on the outskirts of Manali is opposed to the project because it is felt that with the coming of a foreign company, the religious sanctity of the area will be vitiated. Moreover, he feels that people of over two dozen villages will lose their traditional rights. The proposed ski village project is to be set up from Chanderkhani near Kulu to the Rohtang Pass, much beyond Manali. The state government has already given the go ahead to the project and a draft MoU has been signed with the Ford company. It is a common knowledge that people in the area do not dare to go against the wishes of their deities, who are held in high esteem. In fact any important decision in the family is taken after consultation with the family deity. It is for this reason that Kulu is known as the Valley of Gods and it is on Dashera that all 365 deities get together at Dhalpur in Kulu. Kulu Dashera has been accorded the status of international fair by the state government. The fact that people cannot dare to incur the wrath of their deity is evident from the fact that almost one dozen shops in Vashisht, having an ancient temple on the outskirts of Manali were razed to the ground on the diktat of the devta. The owners of the shops pulled down the shops after the devta intervened saying that the temple land had been encroached upon. It is for the same reason that 10 bathing rooms constructed by the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) for the convenience of the pilgrims at Vashisht, having hot water springs have remained locked and unused for the past three years. The devta declared these illegal and an encroachment on temple land. It remains to be seen as to what effect the latest dictate of the devata will have on the people as the government is keen that the project comes up at the earliest.