Ecologists point out that the huge expansion of hydro-power projects and construction of roads to cope with the lakhs of tourists in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh has compounded the scale of the disaster.
Sunita Narain, director general of Centre for Science and Environment said, “This is very much a man-made disaster. There are of course links between climate change and extreme weather events as has happened with the torrential
rain in Uttarakhand. But this has been exacerbated by the reckless construction of buildings, dams and roads in a fragile environment. Many of the settlements have been built right next to the rivers in blatant violation of environmental laws. There is a strong
need to evolve a holistic Himalayan policy which will deal with all these issues."
Ganga crusader G.D. Aggarwal said, “Politicians and local mafia have all colluded to destroy the ecology of the mountains. The result is that one of the most fragile regions suffering poor soil stability is facing this calamity,” he said.
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Unchecked infrastructure projects made it worse in Uttarakhand
Not just nature's fury, rampant unplanned infrastructural development is also to be blamed for the devastation caused by the recent floods in Uttarakhand. Environmentalists feel the damage to life and property there and also
in Himachal Pradesh may be the result of indiscriminate encroachments on riverbeds and unchecked infrastructure projects.
The South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) says too many hydropower projects, underground tunnels, roads, encroachments of riverbeds by buildings coupled with deforestation could have worsened the impact of the flash floods.
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