Burning Issues

Kedarnath -Way Forward


Kedarnath -Way forward

-Susan Sharma


The higher reaches of Uttarakhand (UK) witness naturalcalamities on an annual basis during Monsoons, but the unprecedented anduntimely Monsoons of 2013 caught the state unawares.  The death of pilgrims who visit the stateduring the "safe seasons" brought the state to global notice due tothe sheer size of the tragedy and the rescue work involved. 

On 30th August 2013 Times of India newspaper along with the Government of Uttarakhand organized a seminar "Resurgent Uttarakhand".  Here are some of the key take- aways  from the seminar.

Green GDP

Green GDP is conventional gross domestic product with figures adjusted for the environmental costs of economic activities.  It is a measure of how a country is prepared for sustainable economic development.   Professor Partha Dasgupta from Cambridge University initiated work for a national resource accounting for India.   Mr.Ashok Sen. AVP- Response, The Times of India, hoped that this should now see some progress.

H.N Bahuguna, Chief Minister, Uttarakhand

"I take care of Environment; you take care of the State"

was the key take away from Chief Minister H.N Bahuguna's address. Subsequent speakers reiterated this idea as UK is the Ecological Capitalof India (Dr.Anil Joshi).  The CM reminded the audience that out of 16 varieties of forests found in India 8 are in UK.   68% of the land in UK is forest area.  The young state is  short of power in 78 villages.  19 villages have been identified for rehabilitation on the concept of Gross Environmental Product(GEP).  He emphasized on the need to promote popular destinations like Nainital, Mussorie etc which are unaffected by the recent calamity so that the State has a revenue stream from tourism.  He also felt the need for NGOs working at grassroots to co-ordinate with District administration so that there is optimum use of resources mobilized by them. Preventing migration of hill folk to plains was another priority considering the fact that UK shared borders with China and Nepal.

Coming to infrastructure creation (the area currentlydrawing flak from all quarters), the CM said 200 landslide prone areas havebeen identified which need tunnels. Citing the example of  European Alpine commission, the CM hoped thatthe  Himalayan Development Authority willlook at the potential of UK to generate hydro power after looking at allengineering and environmental angles. The immediate need of the State-boulders/moraine in rivers to beremoved.


Jairam Ramesh -Minister for Rural Development

"Hydel projectsto navigate a middle path of fundamentalists like Engineers andEnvironmentalists."

He suggested a five point program

1.UK deserves a green bonus. Costs are local, benefits global.

2. Regulate faith based traffic ( good eg. Amarnath,Tirupathy, Vaishnodevi)

3. Problems of 11 Hindi States to be addressed in a transboundary fashion-In 2009, 11 CMs proposed to create a Himalayan DevelopmentAuthority. 

4. Constraints are not financial but institutional and human resources related. Local systems and structures to be put in place. These  are governance related issues. 

5. Professional Body Uttarakhand Development Authority to control mushrooming constructions. 


 Forum moderated by Sunitha Narain, DirectorGeneral, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)

Prof.Anil K. Gupta, Director,  Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology,DehraDun

Monsoon flow controlled by Himalayas. UK glaciers retreating.  2 major glaciers @6m a year and @11m a year.  Heavy rain carried debris/moraine of glaciers.  Migration from hills not good for border security. River bed/river alluvium construction is bad the foundation is weak.  Educate people.

Dr. Prodipto Ghosh TERI Sr Fellow and Ex Secy of MoEF

OECD country similar to UK is Switzerland.  UK prone to seismic events and other problems, but in 30-50 years UK can become another Switzerland.

Mr V.K Duggal, National Disaster Management Authority(NDMA)

 in UK for last 2 months supervising rescue operations and now helping with the road map for future.

 5 point program

1. Maintain traditional ethos

2. Infrastructure as modern as possible (ropeways etc.)

3. Factorize hazard vulnerability-mitigation projects for 25zones

4. Balance of development and ecology-Experts taken abinitio, not later.

5.Technical input for Early Warning System outside Governmental System

3 day workshop in Wadia Institute 1-3 Sep to prepare road map.

Problems of implementation

1.short working season

2. 3 tier governance- Planning Executive Funding

Dr.Gautam Sinha, Founder Director  IIM Kashipur

Water resources and infrastructure planning from regional levels. Use community knowledge.  Work atcommunity level to increase preparedness for pre and post calamity work


Second Session -Forummoderated by TK Arun of Economic Times 

Prof..Anil P Joshi, Founder Himalayan Environmental Studiea& Conservation Organization(HESCO)

1. Will it come again?

2. Is environment degradation responsible?

Himalayan range is global-60% of water in India is given by Himalayas.   UK has opened our eyes.  UK is Ecological Capital of the Country(Mumbai financial capital, Delhi political capital).  Ecology and economy to go together.  New avenues for local employment must be explored-Raise forest and get paid; Harvest monsoon water and get paid for it.  This will prevent migration from hills. Sep 9. at Constitution Club, New Delhi, Himalaya Day is being observed.

Dr. Ashok Khosla, Chairman, Development Alternatives

Agrees with paying for ecological resilience.  Immediate results for wrong things.  In plains costs (for environmental degradation) are lower. Pitorgarh used to be centre for medicinal plants.Biggest job creator in the Himalayas is to bring back the health of the ecosystem.

Dr LMS Palni, Former Director,  GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environmentand Development

GB Pant Institute had prepared a report on geographical peculiarity of Himalayan States.   Little happening on the ground.

 Some recommendations

1.Carve out mountain specific engineering programs

2. Industries based on Himalayan resources eg.medicinalplant

3. Roads should be ridge aligned and not river aligned.

4. Himalayan Dev authority met in 2009 no conclave afterthat.   Need to consolidate-Resurgent Himalayas not just UK

Prof. Pradipta Banerji, Director,  IIT Roorkee

Development and Ecology should be replaced by Aspirations and Ecology.  Learn from history of disasters and move on. Get on the ground and get dirty.  Look after the aspirations of people.   IITs/IIMs must work together with people on the ground. 

Infrastructure building- Railway line through tunnelling from Rishikesh to Rudraprayag.- life cycle costs say over 50 years needs to be considered. Solani Aquaduct near Roorkee is a national heritage as much as Kedarnath.  Road map-get working on the ground.

Mr. Vijay Kumar, Operations Manager, Danish HydraulicsInstitute

Technology approach to facing disasters.  Early Warning Systems(EWS) like in Bhakra and Krishna Basin.  Forecasting &reservoir operations system for real time decision making.  SMS warnings to mobiles can help prevent loss of life.

Rakesh Sharma Addl Secy UK

Ozone layer depletion cause for 16th 3 hour deluge.  and 17th 4 hour deluge. Year after year lives are lost.  But this year the untimely occurrence caused more deaths.  



Events in September



 NCR Delhi

Event for Sunday 29th Sept. 2013
Nature walk at Sanjay Van 29th of September 2013
Sanjay Van is one of the most well preserved forest cum garden in Delhi. It also has its rich cultural heritage in the form of monuments. With some of the high-elevated points which give a view of the whole of Delhi around it makes the place one of the most beautiful places to watch for Nature in Delhi. Its hidden stories from the historic past is very intriguing to anyone who reads more about that place. The Lake inside is a home to several migratory as well resident birds and thrives with lots of micro flora and fauna
Lets explore the hidden treasures of Sanjay Van on 29th of September 2013

Date      29th Sept 2013 
Time 6.00am to 10.00am
Walk and talk about wildife around monuments and little titbits of history of the monuments there.6.30-10.00am
Quiz on wildlife from the walk 10.00to 10.30am
Last date for registration 28th afternoon 
Registration fee Rs 500/- per head (anyone above 10years is considered as adults. Children below 5years free and children below10 years 300/-). Please make sure that you book in advance to ensure seats. Please deposit the fee in the ICICI bank Account no. 626401520312. IFSC code ICIC0006264, a/c holders name Sajeev TK
Preference:- First cum First max group size 20 adults
Send an email with names of the participants after cash deposit for confirmation to isajeev@yahoo.com or send an SMS to 9899155856
Sajeev T K

Event for the weekend Saturday 28th Sep.
Natural and Cultural Heritage walk at Humayuns Tomb on Saturday 28th September 2013

Humayun's Tomb has some of the oldest tree specmens and harbors a variety of bird life in its monuments. The garden around the monuments provide natural habitat for small animals to survive even amidst the mushrooming citylife around it. The old growths (trees esp) are home to several holenesting birds like parakeets, mynas, hornbills etc. The end of monsoon season gives you a chance to look in to some of the wildlife there in its true beauty. Lets explore how the monuments have helped the wildlife (birds butterflies bees and others) to survive in the cities through ages.

Date 28th Sept 2013 

Time 6.30am to 10.00am
Walk and talk about wildife around monuments and little titbits of history of the monuments there.7.00-9.30am
Quiz on wildlife from the walk 9.30 to 10.0am
Last date for registration 27th afternoon 
Registration fee Rs 500/- per head (anyone above 10years is considered as adults. Children below 5years free and children below10 years 300/-). Please make sure that you book in advance to ensure seats. Please deposit the fee in the ICICI bank Account no. 626401520312. IFSC code ICIC0006264, a/c holders name Sajeev TK
Preference:- First cum First max group size 20 adults
Send an email with names of the participants after cash deposit for confirmation to isajeev@yahoo.com or send an SMS to 9899155856
Sajeev T K

Green Jobs

JRF positions with FERAL

IWC Member Chaitanya Krishna ( chethikrishna@yahoo.com) has sent information about the following openings in FERAL.

Two Junior Research Fellow (JRF) positions are open forworking with FERAL (http://www.feralindia.org)on large mammal surveys in the Shencottah Gap, Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. Thework primarily involves implementing camera trap surveys. The areas to becovered lie between Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve in the south andPeriyar Tiger Reserve in the north.

This is a challenging field position involving intensivedata collection. It will involve a lot of walking in difficult terrain. It willalso require staying in remote forest camps for long periods of time. Abilityto work independently under tough conditions is a must. A bachelors degree isthe minimum educational qualification required, although a masters is an addedadvantage. Knowledge of Tamil/ Malayalam, as well as ability to drive afour-wheeler, are additional qualifications.

This position is for a period of 1 year, beginning immediately.Salary will be as per DST norms, and will commensurate with experience. Simplefood and lodging will be provided on field, as will be medical insurance.

Interested candidates who meet the above conditions canplease send their CV with a cover letter stating their research intereststo srinivasv@feralindia.org and feral@feralindia.org


Last date: 25th September 2013

Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted


News and Views

News and Views


There is good news for nature lovers wishing to volunteer for hard core volunteering projects in wilderness areas.  

Here is the link to volunteer for a pilot project underway in Melghat Tiger Reserve, Mahahrashtra, by WRCS, Pune.


Be there on 20thOctober for a chat with the Executive Director of WRCS, Jayant Kulkarni.  


Kedar Valley refuses to leave the mind space of naturelovers.  The effort to rebuild the valley by tree plantation, building eco-lodges away from flood plains and giving employment to local people will take a long time

Please read the latest update on Uttarakhand in this ezine.    The tipping point for protecting the Himalayas is here. “Sustainable aspirations of the people of Uttarakhand” is the mantra for development.  

Let us make a small beginning. 

Help Yashpal Negi rebuild Mandakini Magpie Bird WatchersCamp at a place safely away from the earlier camp, which was washed awayby the floods.  ( All but the kitchen which rested on a rock,  is gone, says Yashpal Negi).  Bird watchers who stayed with him in the past, vouch for his passion.  

  IndianWildlifeClub has been running a campaignto help Yashpal Negi.  

Help rebuild Mandakini Magpie Bird Watchers’ Camp Send moneyto 

Yashpal Singh Negi, 

 Kakragad, PO Bhiri, 

Dist. Rudraprayag Uttarakhand 246419, India

 Mobile No. 09412909399

 Bank Acctt. Detail State Bank of India - Bhiri, Code -9834, Saving Acctt. No. 11442534733

and Views.............

The World WildernessCongress being held  in Spain during Oct4 to Oct 10, 2013 made a note of the efforts our online club is making in spreading awareness.  An invite has been sent to us for making apresentation on“Online tools for education and community protectionof wildlife and wild lands” at the conference.    The relevantportion of the invite is reproduced.

Susan Sharma

Indian WildlifeClub 

Dear Susan,

 Your exemplary commitment to conservation and community leadershipis an important contribution to a global movement to protect Nature and humancommunities. Congratulations and thank you. We would be very honored if youwould join us as a featured presenter at WILD10, the 10th World WildernessCongress (WWC), to convene in Salamanca, Spain, 4-10 October 2013.

 The WILD10 process is an important contribution to protecting wild nature and building international support and understanding about the interconnection between Nature and people, prosperity and planetary systems. The WWC – the world’s longest-running, public,international conservation program – is a platform for all perspectives and a call for action, cooperation and positive models as human society works toward a more sustainable relationship with nature. Background information is attached;other details are at www.wild10.org. The contributions of indigenous and traditional peoples is essential to this process and we are very pleased that Indian lands, culture and wildlife will be represented at WILD10.

 We would like to showcase your work that culminated in the vast advances made in India. To do so, it would be ideal if you could attend the WILD10 “Global Gathering” plenary sessions on 4-5-6 October, and present in the Indigenous & Community Lands & Seas Forum 8-9-10 October. As part of our commitment to Indigenous and traditional peoples and communities, wild nature, lands and seascapes, there will be opportunities to present papers, research, oral histories, visual materials, cultural displays and more. We can determine an exact date and time for your addresses as soon as we know your availability. Your participation at WILD10 would assure high level, productive global exposure to an international network dedicated top reserving and protecting wild nature and community on a global scale. Your presentation would focus on“Online tools for education and community protection of wildlife and wild lands.”

The Conference events are being streamed live and anyone can attend the Conference online. I found the sessions a great learning opportunity.

So here is http://www.wild10.org



Wilderness Volunteers

Volunteer at WRCS

Be a part of our volunteer base
Why Volunteer?
Read ourblog and be a part of it by contributing your volunteer experiences.
Steps for volunteering
Not a member? Register freehere. 

Step 2: Pay Rs 200/ towards documentation fee. If you do not wish to use our payment gateway , you can credit our account directly. [View account details] 

Forest Patrolling at Melghat Tiger Reserve 
Melghat Tiger Reserve (MTR) is located in Amravati District of Maharashtra and is an important protected area for tiger conservation. The field staff of the tiger reserve patrols the forests regularly for protection of wildlife. Considering the vast area to be patrolled additional manpower from civil society will help to strengthen protection and enhance the status of wildlife in MTR. With this objective Wildlife Research and Conservation Society (WRCS) is implementing a pilot program for volunteer participation in patrolling activities in MTR in collaboration with the tiger reserve authorities for protection of wildlife and forests. This is a call to invite volunteers to participate in this program. Participation in the program will give volunteers an opportunity to witness the forests and wildlife at close quarters and contribute to wildlife conservation. Batches are sent every Sunday, it's a 1 week volunteer program, you are welcome to stay for more than 1 week. 

This project is open to Indian Nationals only. 

As soon as the application form along with Rs 200/- is received by us, yur application will be forwarded to WRCS Pune for further action. You will hear from them directly about the next course of action.
The final selection of volunteers is by WRCS. 
Documentation charges of Rs 200 is non-refundable.

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