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Joining hands to save glaciers

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SAVING GLACIERS: Indian Mountaineering Foundation president H.P.S. Ahluwalia with The Energy and Resources Institute Director-General R. K. Pachauri after signing the MoU in New Delhi.
SAVING GLACIERS: Indian Mountaineering Foundation president H.P.S. Ahluwalia with The Energy and Resources Institute Director-General R. K. Pachauri after signing the MoU in New Delhi.

Madhur Tankha

NEW DELHI: The Energy and Resources Institute and the Indian Mountaineering Foundation on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding to study, preserve and safeguard the Himalayan glaciers under the National Mission of Sustaining the Himalayan Eco-system.

Underlining the need to study the Himalayan belt, TERI Director-General R. K. Pachauri said: “We wish to study more on glaciers as we are very dependent on them and our work till now has been negligible. We need to understand the drivers and implications of the changes happening in the Himalayan belt. IMF along with TERI will encourage glaciologists and researchers to undertake training in mountaineering without which the study of the Himalayan region is incomplete.”

Dr. Pachauri said in order to carry out a detailed and successful research activity, IMF will train young TERI scientists at the Mountaineering Institute in basic and advanced mountaineering skills to work in high-altitude regions. “To conduct glaciological studies in the Himalayan region the researchers require high level of physical fitness, technical climbing skills, mental alertness and first aid knowledge.”

Dr. Pachauri said he realised the implications of the Himalayan glacier while studying climate change. “In North India most of our rivers are originating from the Himalayas. If there is less ice in the Himalayas then we will have less water in the rivers.”

Stating that he had been engaging the Government to do something drastic about climate change, Dr. Pachauri said it was encouraging to find that some political parties have mentioned a few lines about climate change in their election manifestos.

“This is a significant step. There are some Chief Ministers who are active in addressing these problems. There are some freak weather events that don’t necessarily mean that there is climate change. However, if you look at odd days of rainfall you will realise that the frequency has increased substantially.”

IMF president Major H.P.S. Ahluwalia said the collaboration would facilitate further research in the Himalayan region. “As environment, climate change and conversation have taken centre-stage, IMF aims to work towards protecting the Himalayan eco-system. To study the glaciers in the belt, one needs to go beyond 4,000 metres to conduct research and most of the scientists and students cannot go that high due to absence of mountaineering skills. IMF and TERI see it important to provide mountaineering training to researchers and students and involve skilled mountaineers in the team to facilitate cohesive research. This MoU is an important milestone to the importance of glaciology.”

Major Ahluwalia said the IMF would give preliminary training to TERI. “We will teach them how to walk on a glacier, particularly hard glaciers, so that they don’t fall. We will impart specialised training in mountaineering and acclimatisation. The training will be of 25 days and cover aptitude in the Himalayan States.”

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