Natural calamities on earth can not be predicted; however the trend of increasing frequency of occurrence has been realized since last few decades. Despite improvement in Science and Technology, increases in the loss of assets and human life have been seen due to such calamities. But the big question is, is it the nature which is really accountable for such losses or is it due to human activities.. The Uttarakhand disaster has to be seen as a result of increasing anthropogenic activities in Himalayan regions?
L&T Dam construction on Mandakini river
The young Himalaya has a carrying capacity and which is, infect very low given the rugged and fragile nature of it. During last two decades, pace of development activities including huge infrastructure development was high coupled with manifold increase in human population. Besides this, the number of religious tourists also increased year after year causing an extra pressure on natural resources. All this has led to be a cumulative cause of disaster.
Damage due to recent disaster. Kedarnath Valley, in the banks of Mandakini river
Yet, another reason of such natural calamity may be global phenomenon of rising temperature and shrinking natural resource base. And hence, it may be due to a change in geo-hydrological conditions of our environment.
The region specific issues which saw high death toll and huge loss of assets needs to seen at a larger context. Studies need to be initiated to find out how much amount of water, land, forest, crud oil etc. is being consumed from this planet and what and in which form it is returned back to the nature. We need to measure and quantify these imbalances and the look for counter measures, strategy and steps to check and keep and maintain the ecological balance.
The traditonal spring water, the regular source of drinking water
At regional level, by-laws need to be formulated for all construction activities, use of water, land and forests, and movement of man and machines. After all, we have learned that the hills are not safe due to earthquake, landslides and heavy rains. Serious efforts need to be taken by our planners and policy maker’s at least, to mitigate the impact of such man induced disasters in Himalayan region.