Restoring The Himalayan Ecology - Eastern Mirror
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Editorial

Restoring the Himalayan Ecology

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By The Editorial Team Updated: Sep 07, 2023 12:07 am

The move to assess the carrying capacity of the 13 Himalayan states in India should be welcomed as the proposed study will ascertain maximum population size that the region can sustain without degrading the ecosystem. Although the proposal is not a new one, it has been kept in abeyance for years under several pretexts. There have been instances wherein even after assessing carrying capacity, steps suggested in the reports have not been implemented. Himachal Pradesh is a serious offender in this regard as the state administration is yet to act on the recommendations of the committee that studied varying capacity way back in 2017-18. Several other states have made similar mistakes, thus allowing monsoons to create havoc in terms of loss of lives and destruction of property. In little over two months’ time, the ongoing monsoon season has left Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand completely unrecognisable with roads like Chandigarh-Manali highway reduced to a mere village link. With more than 200 roads closed and plenty of broken bridges, people living in the two states are going through unbearable hardships as both tourism and agriculture; the main livelihoods of the people have been severely affected. In Himachal Pradesh alone, the overall damage has been estimated at INR 10,000 crore which is bound to increase as it will take months for the affected states to restore normalcy.

The seven North Eastern states along with Sikkim, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal and Ladakh form the 13 Himalayan states of India, which are geographically prone to natural disasters. The threat of being ravaged by natural calamities has increased severely as the fragile ecology of the Himalayan region has rampantly been damaged in the name of development. Roads have been constructed ignoring the landslide hazard risk, hotels, buildings and resorts, etc. have been built by mercilessly cutting slopes and trees. Due to the population pressure subsidence has taken place in Shimla, Joshimuth. Thus, a study on carrying capacity is much needed to save the delicate Himalayan ecology which is responsible for making India one of the most beautiful places on the earth. The Himalayas not only influence the climate in this part of the world, but also help India earn foreign exchange by promoting tourism.

So any damage to the Himalayas will affect the country’s well being in many ways, including the livelihoods of the people dependent on its natural habitat. Any violation of environmental laws in this part of the country should be dealt with firmly to protect it from further destruction. To allow the Himalayas to restore its traditional ecological status, the various stakeholders should work on a mission mode in accordance with the capacity carrying report, instead of silently watching this huge natural wealth go to waste and become a permanent sorrow for the country.

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By The Editorial Team Updated: Sep 07, 2023 12:07:42 am
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