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Himalayan blunders that are ravaging the Himalayas

  • Published
    28th Aug, 2023

Context:

Amidst Himalayan beauty, environmental degradation of habitat is rising as evident in Uttarakhand and Himachal face tragic consequences due to unsustainable development, frequent disasters, and compromised safety.

Lack of structural scrutiny

  • Chardham Mahamarg Project Impact: Uttarakhand's infrastructure project claims forests, lives, soil, and water sources, bypassing environmental laws for development.
  • Bhagirathi Eco Sensitive Zone: Protected area holds Ganga's last natural flow, but approvals for project ignored EIA, legal directives, risking ecological damage.
  • Environmental Risk: Pristine regions face peril as road’s Defect liability period (DLP) width under the project threatens deodar trees and mountain slopes.

Challenges and Threats

  • Road Width Contradictions: Ministry contradicts own standards, widening hill roads to DLPS despite risks, ignoring Supreme Court's directions and rationale.
  • Unanswered Questions: Concerns arise over road-width changes, contradictory requirements, missing EIA, increased carrying capacity, and shift to strategic importance.
  • Tourism vs. Ecology: Overburdened shrines' capacity increased, disregarding ecological impact. Nature's warnings prompt reassessment, Supreme Court involvement for implementation.

Rising loss of Himalayan habitat

  • Gangotri Glacier Threat: Fast-receding Gangotri glacier faces black carbon deposits due to vehicular movement, forest fires, escalating melting.
  • Himalayan Destruction: Greed-driven actions by political, bureaucratic, and real estate interests damage forests, rivers, and lives.
  • Conservation Priority: Protecting Ganga's pristine stretch demands minimizing road width near Gangotri. Sustainable development requires preservation of lifelines.
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