5,000 signatures reached
THE HIMALAYAS URGENTLY NEED AN ALTERNATE DEVELOPMENT PLAN
To: Prime Minister's Office
Thank you for taking the first steps!
As the first step towards recognizing that the Himalayan mountain ecosystems are extremely important and need an alternate development plan, the central government has formed the Himalayan Cell to discuss this issue further. The devastating impact of climate change can already be seen with disastrous cloudbursts and floods taking place with increasing frequency in the Himalayan region. This is being exacerbated by the unscientific methods of dam and road construction which has led to many landslides blocking highways and affecting local communities.
We now urge you to escalate the process and help put in place a separate development policy and plan for the entire Himalayan range/states immediately.
The Himalayan states and its people definitely need economic growth, but not at the cost of the future of the country. We propose to adopt an alternative model which will ensure economic security of the local communities as well as the survival of the Himalayas and our future generations.
• Look at alternate sources of energy such and solar and micro hydro power (Sulgaon model)
• A scientific study should be conducted and key areas across the Himalayas should be declared eco-sensitive zones where no infrastructure, power projects, tunnels, unscientific ways of building roads and hotels for tourism should be allowed to be constructed
• Encourage indigenous knowledge and methods of organic agriculture and animal husbandry; promote and support eco-tourism and local village industries
• Ownership of forests and forest produces to be given to the village communities to safeguard, manage and conserve forests. States can be incentivized or compensated for ecosystem services provided by the standing forests.
• Afforestation as per the unique local flora and fruit tree plantation which will provide alternative source of livelihood to people
• Create policies which will help in sustainable urbanization and reduce its impact like a better urban planning process, garbage and sewage disposal system, strict implementation of construction rules etc.
Why is this important?
The Himalayas are our greatest heritage. They are storehouses of biodiversity and natural resources which have sustained life in the mountains as well as the plains for centuries. Some of the largest river-systems and basins in the world which have sources here, provide our country with 60% of its water requirement. It’s 9000 plus glaciers and high altitude lake store about 12000 km3 of fresh water. About 1,200,00 million m3 of water flow from its rivers ever year which sustains the great Indo-Gangetic alluvial plains providing food for the rest of the country. The dense forests have been able to reduce carbon emissions by over 20%, a key factor in mitigating and controlling climate change. The Himalayan region contains states of diverse cultures and communities whose lives and livelihood are intricately woven with these mountains.
Acting on a Supreme Court order, the ministry of environment and forests has constituted an expert committee to make a detailed study whether the environmental degradation caused by hydroelectric power projects (existing ones and those under construction) in the river basins of Alaknanda, Bhagirathi and their tributaries had led to the disaster in Uttarakhand in June.
The 17-member panel has also been asked to draft a "Himalayan Policy for Uttarakhand" — first of its kind for the region, keeping in mind the unique ecological, social and cultural characteristics of the hill state — and suggest environment-friendly development activities.
Read more : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/developmental-issues/Panel-to-study-impact-of-hydel-projects-on-Uttarakhands-ecology/articleshow/24401849.cms
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Supreme Court places ban on environmental clearance for hydro projects in Uttarakhand
Stop clearances to Uttarakhand dams, Supreme Court to centre:
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Where do we draw the line and say it is enough?
- Blog post by Bipasha Majumder
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