The catastrophe caused by flash floods in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh makes one shudder and fear nature (“A Himalayan tragedy,” June 21). Unfortunately, greed and erratic planning have heightened the impact of the natural calamity. One wonders how in the olden times, great saints and commoners walked all the way to the pilgrim centres. Let us resolve to leave nature alone. Let us enjoy and respect its beauty and make use of its rich resources in an intelligent manner.

Kala Chary,

Gurgaon

The fury of flood in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh is extremely disturbing. The fact that hundreds have died shows how serious the calamity is. But the fact remains that it is a consequence of nature’s exploitation by man. We should take nature’s wrath as a warning and stop exploiting it further.

S. Parvathy Madhavi,

Mavelikara

We have encroached hills, rivers, and the seas. We go to the hills to wash our sins or for recreation —fully loaded in cabs, SUVs, tourist buses. Roads leading to hill stations see heavy vehicular movement, mushrooming resorts, motels, and restaurants. These activities involve huge deforestation and mining, which are directly responsible for soil erosion, landslips, loss of ground water, and change in the course of rivers. Many buildings which collapsed in Uttarakhand mushroomed recently and were constructed without taking care of basic environmental norms.

Varun Joshi,

New Delhi

Every time man has tampered with nature, he has suffered. Illegal construction in restricted zones was one main cause for the collapse of many buildings in Uttarakhand. Uncontrolled increase in vehicles, frequent traffic jams, and increasing pollution levels have played havoc with the environment in the hills. Afforestation along the river banks would be an immediate sensible step.

A.K.C. Kennedy,

Visakhapatnam

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