Arjun Kumar, Nishi Verma, Ritika Gupta
“The Himalayan Rivers exist in steep slopes, seismic and ecological zones. The government has to focus less on promoting tourism and more on the fact that the superfluous rivers need to be conserved. Every river conservation policy needs to keep in mind climate change. Overexploitation of rivers and natural resources at origin can lead to devastating results,” said Shri Rajender Singh.
During the panel discussion, Shri Rajendra Singh, Chairman, Tarun Bharat Singh, Alwar, emphasized on the concept of respecting नीर- नारी- नदी (Water, Woman, and River) and its immense role in development and the rejuvenation of nature. Mr Rajendra Singh was chairing the panel discussion on the topic, ‘Uttarakhand Flood Disaster 2.0: From Analysis to Action”, organized by Impact Policy And Research Institute, New Delhi, India Water Portal and Tarun Bharat Sangh,Alwar.
Shri Rajendha Singh highlighted the need to keep in mind globalization and climate change, which are man made problems while drafting policies for Himalayas. Since 1992, he has been emphasizing on the fact that Ganga gives so much to our country but man-made problems are turning it into a disastrous zone.
While scrutinizing the social and economic impact of disasters, Shri Rajendra Singh stated that the construction of dams and hydro-electric projects in geologically sensitive areas involving steep slopes, can lead to huge economic losses. These losses are even higher if you consider project and ecological costs which can go as high as Rs 18 per unit. For decades, people have been protesting against the construction of such projects. The major reasons cited by the government for these constructions include capacity building for defence and promoting tourism. However, the government needs to shift its focus on how much it’ll earn through tourism vis a vis the disasters it can lead and the economic and psychological repercussions of the same.
In a country where science is prevalent, we need to look at things practically and holistically. Nature will never justify wrong facts. Our disasters are directly proportionate to the mistakes made by the government. Scientists refer to the disasters In 2013 and 2021 as natural disasters. But, when there is human intervention because of greed, it becomes hard to mitigate the negative consequences. Thus, Shri Rajendra Singh urged scientists today to advise the people and the government what they should do to protect the Himalayas, especially in terms of policies, particularly river policies.
Using science only to justify government actions can only lead to further disasters. However, he emphasized on the fact that nature makes humans face the consequences of their actions.
Good governance is very critical and important, to protect the Himalayas from disasters. Researchers and their institutions need to focus on finding constructive solutions. If they do not, disasters will continue to increase.
There is a need to understand the importance of clean water and its impact on the health of the Indian population. One step towards this is to ensure that technologists respect scientists since they look at things from a micro lens. Our technocrats and engineers need to give the scientists the respect they deserve. It’s critical to teach the technocrats the concept of “science with sense”.
In his concluding remarks, Shri Rajendra Singh also talked about the lack of importance given to health. The Public Health crisis is one of the by-products of man-made engagements.
Further, Indigenous knowledge systems wisdom must be given due credit.
Everyone, be it engineers, researchers, government, environmentalists, must set aside their professional differences and come together as human beings to channelize solutions for a disaster-free Uttarakhand.
YouTube Video for Uttarakhand Flood Disaster 2.0: From Analysis to Action
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