The Wilful Destruction By The Himalaya Must Stop -Ramachandra Guha
The Himalaya are India's most important natural asset. Without them, the country would not survive. These grand mountains are a barrier to invaders, the source of our greatest rivers, a rich reservoir of biodiversity, and home to our holiest shrines. Ecologically, economically, culturally, and strategically, the Himalaya are vital to the future of India as a nation.
The politicians who now rule us claim to revere the Himalaya, yet, under their watch, these mountains are witnessing a savage attack on their integrity. This attack takes the form of an ill-conceived project known as the Char Dham Pariyojana. Costing an estimated 12,000 crores, this scheme aims to widen some 900 kilometres of roads, ostensibly to provide quicker access to the four holy shrines of Jamnotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. The scheme has been executed with utter recklessness, an absolute lack of concern for environmental and human safety. A public outcry compelled the Supreme Court to appoint a committee of experts, which recently submitted a 800-page report on the devastation already caused by the project.
This report makes for chilling reading, and I shall come to it presently.
But first, let us remind ourselves about some crucial facts about the Himalaya. Although marvellous to behold, in an ecological sense, these mountains are very fragile, and especially prone to earthquakes and floods. And yet, disregarding these features, successive governments have mounted a four-pronged assault on the Himalaya and its people.
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NDTV, 30 August, 2020, https://www.ndtv.com/opinion/killing-the-himalaya-one-cut-at-a-time-by-ramachandra-guha-2287551