Himachal Guv warns: Respect nature’s balance or pay the price
Shimla, Aug 10
Amidst the ongoing torrential rains and the aftermath of flooding in Himachal Pradesh, Governor Shiv Pratap Shukla has issued a stern warning against tampering with nature, emphasizing that there will be a steep price to pay for such actions.
The Governor’s statement came as he inaugurated the 74th Van Mahotsav celebration at Bafh village on the outskirts of the state’s capital.
Governor Shukla cautioned that although Himachal Pradesh is bestowed with breathtaking natural beauty, meddling with the delicate balance of nature leads to severe consequences. He stressed that while development is essential, environmental considerations must not be sidelined. The preservation of the state’s abundant forest resources should be a priority.
“Development is a pressing need, but we must simultaneously prioritize environmental concerns and safeguard our valuable forest wealth,” stated Shukla during a press release issued after the Van Mahotsav event.
The Governor’s message arrives at a crucial juncture, raising an alarm against the relentless pursuit and exploitation of the state’s natural resources. He urged the government to reevaluate its policies, particularly in the context of the hilly terrain, and address the growing concerns related to man-made factors. Failure to do so could lead to a continuation of natural disasters.
Governor Shukla is not the only one issuing these warnings; various pro-environment and nature advocacy groups are also accusing authorities of committing alleged criminal offenses. They point to negligence in adhering to Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) during the construction of four-lane roads, massive power projects, and infrastructure along the catchment areas of major rivers. Furthermore, they highlight the issue of dumping debris into downstream areas of dams and hydro projects, as well as extensive tunneling.
Notably, Himachal Pradesh is currently grappling with substantial losses in terms of both property and lives due to the ongoing monsoon season. According to government estimates, the losses have reached a staggering Rs 6,731 crore, with 83 landslides and 53 flash floods wreaking havoc. This has led to a death toll of 231 individuals, with 272 more sustaining injuries.
“Over fifty percent of the losses due to impact of heavy rainfall is affecting public works departments and the National Highways authority. Irrigation and hydroelectric projects also account for 40 percent of the damage. The scale of revenue and property loss—nearly 90 percent—suffered by state government initiatives clearly underscores the failure in balancing fragile ecology with development,” the government’s loss projection states.
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