Climate Change and Sustainability in Mountain Areas — Scope and Challenges for Regional Cooperation and Integration: Mahendra P. Lama — Chief Editor; Sikkim University Press, Gangtok, in association with Indus Publishing Company, E-241, Tagore Garden Extension, New Delhi-110027. Rs. 850.

The Himalayas shape the climate, hydrology and soil fertility of north India. Therefore, preserving the ecological sanctity of the mountains is of paramount importance. The Himalayan region is considered as one of the richest biodiversity zones and possesses vast stores of clean and renewable energy, perennial rivers and high rainfall.

Much of the water comes from the glaciers, but they are melting at an alarming rate due to climate change triggered by global warming. There are concerns about the possible impact of climate change on agriculture and other commercial activities of the region, which are critical for the livelihood of the people in these areas.

The issues relating to climate change and sustainability require strong cross-border negotiations starting from sharing of people’s experiences and government-level actions.

They also require effective legal and regulatory frameworks where all stakeholders have a role. This book makes a case for collective regional action to deal with climate change.

River Bagmati — Bounties Become a Curse: Dinesh Kumar Mishra; Pub. by South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers, People, 86D, AD Block, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi-110088 & Peoples’ Science Institute, 653, Indira Nagar, Dehradun-248006. Rs. 595.

North Bihar is synonymous with floods. The season begins with the river Bagmati overflowing its banks and ends with either river Kosi or the Mahananda being in spate. Yet very little is known about the Bagmati, its basin, and its people.

Starting its journey from the Shivalik Range in Nepal, Bagmati enters India in Sitamarhi and flows down to Khagaria, where it joins Kosi. In the last 25 years, according to government figures, the embankments in North Bihar have been breached 371 times, with Bagmati alone accounting for 58.

Mishra reviews events from ancient times to the present, and documents the post-Independence history of the basin by interviewing stakeholders including Chief Ministers, politicians, bureaucrats, engineers, landowners, workers, activists and flood victims.

The book not only discusses the limits of possible interventions in the river’s regime, but also indicates alternatives.

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