Bahuguna demands special policy for Himalayan region

The Pioneer , Sunday, July 27, 2008
Correspondent : Staff Reporter
Famous environmental activist Sunderlal Bahuguna and Tehri MLA Kishore Upadhyaya submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding a special policy for the Himalayan region that extends through different States of India. In which they have mentioned that there is need for controlling human activities disguised as development work which are having a negative effect on the environment in the Himalayan region, especially in Uttarakhand.

The PM has assured the memorandum signatories that the issue of consolidating environment preservation and development would be raised in the Parliament.

Upadhyaya said this while addressing a press conference held on Saturday in Dehradun. Interacting with mediapersons Bahuguna said that proposed privatisation of hydro power generation projects should be opposed by the people of Uttarakhand and all politicians irrespective of their political differences.

Recollecting the Chipko movement he said that today the people have little commitment towards caring for the environment. Even though human existence depends on environmental resources the level of public awareness and participation in conservation of environment should be increased.

The participation of women who have been considered the backbone of mountain society in Uttarakhand should be maximised, he added.

Upadhyay said that the memorandum emphasised on the role of Himalayas as permanent water reservoir for many Indian States. The environmental wealth in the mountains of Uttarakhand is suffering serious damage due to improper implementation of development works. Indiscriminate exploitation of the environment including smuggling of medicinal herbs, deforestation and poaching of animals is also encouraging the continued migration of people from the mountains to the plains.

Due to this the water level in rivers across the State is continuously decreasing. Drastic measures are needed to avert major catastrophe which would be inevitable if the continuing environmental damage is not controlled. In addition to the environment, the State is also geo-strategically important considering that it also contains international border. The Government must formulate a specific strategy for protecting the region, its inhabitants, land, forests, wildlife and the rivers. The MLA said that the letter submitted to the PM calls for formulation of comprehensive Himalayan policy that should address all the States of the Himalayan region.

SOURCE : The Pioneer, Sunday, 27 July 2008

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