The devastation would have been lesser but for the environmental degradation in the name of development. Even after the tragedy, it is highly unlikely that the government’s methods will change. A few months ago, the government cleared the National Investment Board, despite serious reservations expressed by the Environment Ministry. Such acts point to the direction in which the country is headed.
In spite of the Gaumukh-Uttarkashi stretch being declared ecologically fragile, politicians and civic authorities permitted the construction of dams and other buildings in the name of ‘development.’ But today, the buildings have been washed away with people watching helplessly.
One hopes at least now, our leaders will realise that development is not just about big bank accounts and fat wallets, but also about peaceful co-existence between nature and man.
Shashank Rao Palety,
The disaster in Uttarakhand is due not only to heavy rains but also indifference at various levels. First, the common people think that the protection of their surroundings is the responsibility of only the government; second, the government has chosen the wrong path of development by industrialising the naturally beautiful State. Third, the Centre provides special relief packages but is not interested in monitoring their implementation.
While it is easy, and often convenient, to blame roads, construction, tourism, climate change and all kinds of human overreach, let us remember that the disastrous floods were caused by early and unprecedented rainfall, a random occurrence. There is no credible proof yet that they were caused by bad behaviour. Natural disasters happen around the world, and countries cope as best as they can.
Keywords: Uttarakhand floods