Noted environmentalist Sunderlal Bahuguna on Sunday pitched for framing a sustainable Himalayan development policy to prevent receding of glaciers, a development, he said, is leading to climatic problems and triggering unrest among the people.
Mr. Bahuguna, who led a delegation to Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh and other northeast states to create awareness on decreasing water-level in rivers, said the Himalayan policy should be framed keeping in mind the native population of the region.
“The policy should be in contrast to the present policy of setting up large dams, which do not give water to local inhabitants but shift the resources to large towns,” he told reporters here.
Even large towns would not get water for long as the dams lead to siltation in rivers, he claimed.
“A number of dams are also coming up in Arunachal Pradesh, displacing people and damaging flora and fauna,” Mr. Bahuguna said.
He expressed concern over “gradual drying” up of the Dal lake in Kashmir due to deforestation and silting.
The environmentalist charged that setting up of huge cement factories, large dams and deforestation are causing unrest in Himachal Pradesh.
He asked the government to frame the Himalayan policy in such a way as the people are encouraged to grow water retaining plants like chestnuts, mulberry, rhododendron etc., instead of pine.
The delegation would interact with the civil society and political leaders in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, UP, Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal and try to create national consensus over the issue by holding a meeting in the national capital, Mr. Bahuguna said.
The members are also planning to travel to Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
When asked about the possible government stand at next month’s Copenhagen conference on Climate Change, he quipped, “first national awareness should be created on the issue of receding of glaciers”.