Mindless ‘development’ could bring more calamities like Chamoli and Kedarnath floods -Shekhar Pathak

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published Published on Feb 13, 2021   modified Modified on Feb 13, 2021

-The Indian Express

People do not want to risk their homes, fields, pastures, forests and rivers in the name of development. Most of such development work in the Himalayas is being carried out without an understanding of its fragility, seismicity, glacial behaviour, climatic changes and their collective destructive power.

The flash floods due to the burst of an artificial lake created by a huge landslide (rock, frozen mud and ice) in Rishi Ganga, inside Nanda Devi Sanctuary, is the newest warning given by the Himalayas to the blind supporters of “development” in the fragile mountains. The loss of lives, property and projects is immense. It is estimated at more than Rs 4,000 crore. In addition, two bridges have also been lost.

According to Planet Labs, ice along with frozen mud and rocks fell down from a high mountain inside the Nanda Devi Sanctuary, from a height of 5,600 m to 3,300 m. This created an artificial lake within the sanctuary in Rontigad, a tributary of Rishi Ganga. Within eight hours, this lake burst open and its water, laden with mud and stones, rushed through the Rishi Ganga gorge which opens near Reni. This is the same village where Gaura Devi and her sisters saved their forest in 1974 during the Chipko movement.

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The Indian Express,13 February, 2021, https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/mountains-glacial-behaviour-climate-change-chamoli-disaster-development-7186375/?fbclid=IwAR2Pt1NXLLFWBdD8jinjdXscb8MjWEQUNON7KU-t1vgkP_W2VLw3WlvOMck

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