Slamming the State government for encouraging industrial development in the ecologically sensitive Himalayan State, environmentalist Dr Anil Prakash Joshi opposed the proliferation of industries in the State, which, according to him, is “being promoted by the State government”.
The criticism of the Bahuguna government by Dr Joshi, who is the founder of the Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organisation (HESCO), came as the government is projecting industrial development as “essential” even when the sensitivity of the Himalayan State has become a known factor, especially after the 2013 deluge.
Among the many industrial projects that are in the pipeline is beverage giant Coca- Cola’s bottling plant which is to come up in Dehradun district’s Charba village and has faced opposition by the local population and the environmentalists.
According to a recent development UltraTech Cement Limited, an Aditya Birla Group Company, will be establishing cement plants in Dehradun district’s Tyuni and Almora district’s Someshwar regions.
The people who will be affected by these decisions of the government must be consulted before such steps are taken, Dr Joshi said.
Dr Joshi said, “Cement plants will be detrimental to the agricultural land and the health of the people residing in the area near the plants.”
Soon after the June 2013 deluge that took away thousands of lives and rendered many homeless, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna announced that the State would produce data for Gross Environment Product (GEP) to monitor the state of natural resources across Uttarakhand.
Mr Bahuguna had said that Uttarakhand would be the first State in the country to produce GEP data for Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
In July last year, a committee was formed to assess the State’s GEP. However, according Dr Joshi, the committee met only twice after its formation.
Dr Joshi who is a member of the committee to monitor the GEP said, “After the disaster, Mr Bahuguna had very zealously announced that Uttarakhand would be the first State to produce GEP data. But, the committee hasn’t met since September last year.”
“If the State government neglects the ecological sensitivity of the Himalayan State then many more disasters will rock the State in the coming times,” Dr Joshi added.
Dr Joshi said on Monday that he will be writing a letter to Mr Bahuguna regarding the issue.