Human hand behind disaster: Experts blame violation of environment laws for Uttarakhand floods

Floods human hand.jpg

New Delhi: Ecologists point out that the huge expansion of hydro-power projects and construction of roads to cope with the lakhs of tourists in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh has compounded the scale of the disaster.

Sunita Narain, director general of Centre for Science and Environment said, “This is very much a man-made disaster. There are of course links between climate change and extreme weather events as has happened with the torrential rain in Uttarakhand. But this has been exacerbated by the reckless construction of buildings, dams and roads in a fragile environment. Many of the settlements have been built right next to the rivers in blatant violation of environmental laws. There is a strong need to evolve a holistic Himalayan policy which will deal with all these issues."
Prof. Maharaj Pandit of the department of environmental sciences at Delhi University has demanded a study be conducted to assess the carrying capacity of the Himalayas, which are a young mountain range.
The expansion of roads has proved a major destabilising factor combined as it is with plans to construct over 200 dams in this sensitive eco-zone. Data with the Uttarakhand state transport department bears this out.
The state has seen a 1000 per cent increase in vehicular traffic in the last eight years, with ecologists having forewarned about the correlation between tourism increase and the higher increase of landslides.
Ganga crusader G.D. Aggarwal said, “Politicians and local mafia have all colluded to destroy the ecology of the mountains. The result is that one of the most fragile regions suffering poor soil stability is facing this calamity,” he said.

 

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