More disasters in store if steps not taken: S L Bahuguna

PRESS TRUST OF INDIA

New Delhi, June 21: Citing human interference in nature as being responsible for the nature's fury in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, noted environmentalist Sunder Lal Bahuguna today warned of more such disasters if people did not wake up now.
"I have been emphasizing for years to stop this reckless cutting of forests in hilly areas. If you keep disturbing the nature, disasters like this will continue to happen," he told PTI over the phone.
Bahuguna said walnut trees should be planted in the mountains instead of pine trees. "Walnut trees have wider leaves and are capable of absorbing water while pine trees, which the British had planted, cannot do that and thus land has become vulnerable to erosion and heavy rain can lead to floods and landslides. We should replace them once things are settled in the state," said the veteran.
Dr Anil Joshi, founder president of the Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organisation (Hesco) suggested locals be involved in the process of disaster management.
Disaster management can never be effective if strategies are made in Delhi or at any other place, sitting in a room. Government should involve locals and victims while making plans. Victims of such tragedies in the past can give more practical suggestions," He said.
He also said the flood in the two states, one of the worst in the century, is a combination of natural and human interventions.
"The earth is witnessing extreme temperatures due to global warming and this disaster is a result of such extreme weather phenomena. There have been a significant increase in cloudbursts in the past decade. This disaster was waiting to happen," he said.
"Human interventions have made the Himalayan hills prone to damage now. The saints created four Dhams in search of peace but human beings kept tinkering with the nature. The authorities must consider what should be the model for development," he said.
"They must not disturb the ecological balance while making the economy-based model for development," he added. Joshi also accused the government of not taking any precautionary steps.
"When they knew that the number of piligrims in the Kedar valley is going to be above its capacity, then why did they not issue an alert? What was the meteorological department doing? " he said.

Lastupdate on : Fri, 21 Jun 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 21 Jun 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 22 Jun 2013 00:00:00 IST




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