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Wounded mountains: on Himachal landslide tragedy

  • IASbaba
  • July 27, 2021
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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DISASTER MANAGEMENT/ ENVIRONMENT/

Topic:

  • GS-3: Disaster and disaster management. 
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Wounded mountains: on Himachal landslide tragedy

In news China’sRecent tragic death of nine tourists in a landslip in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh.

Reason: Extraordinarily heavy rains in the State recently, left the hill slopes unstable and causing floods in built-up areas

Do You Know?

  • The parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy during 2018-19 noted that the Himachal Pradesh State could more than double its existing harnessed hydropower potential of 10,547 MW. 
  • Uttarakhand too has seen its share of natural disasters this year, starting with the massive flash flood in Chamoli in February that killed more than 80 people.

Issues

  • Himalayan landscape is susceptible to landslides. Formed due to the collision of Indian and Eurasian plates, the northward movement of the former puts continuous stress on the rocks, rendering them weak and prone to landslides and earthquakes (high seismicity region). This, combined with steep slopes, rugged topography, high seismic vulnerability, and rainfall, make a deadly cocktail. 
  • Reckless exploitation of resources: Big hydroelectric projects (source of green power) and large-scale construction activity involving destruction of forests and damming of rivers in this region alter several aspects of ecology rendering the region vulnerable to the effects of extreme events such as cloudbursts, flash floods, landslides and earthquakes. 
  • Bitter Reality: Himalayan States may be entering a phase of irreversible decline because of losses to their ecology and frequent disasters may become inevitable.
  • Administration Neglect: Relaxation of COVID protocols led to restarting of Tourist activities in Himachal Pradesh State. Unfortunately, there was not enough vigil against travel to risky areas

Way Ahead

  • The mishap shows the fragility of the ecology of the Himalayan States. 
  • Governments cannot continue to disregard for the fragile topography and climate-sensitive planning
  • is important to have early warning and better weather forecast systems, and a trans-boundary coalition of Himalayan countries to share and disseminate knowledge about the mountains. 
  • Also, it is critical to review the area’s present status and draw up a sustainable plan that respects the specific requirements of this fragile region and the impact of the climate crisis.

Connecting the dots:

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