Below is a letter written by Chandi Prasad Bhatt to Prime Minister of India on 31st December 2015.
Here he highlights need for an ecological consortium of himalayan countries for collective policy and prevention of disasters in the himalayan region.
There is a need for a ecological consortium of the Himalayan countries like India, Nepal, China and Bhutan. Such a consortium is must for flood security. This will help in developing a collective policy and prevention.
Below is the full text of the letter.
Chandi Prasad Bhatt
Gopeshwar, Dist. Chamoli Uttarakhand
Respected Modi Ji Date: 31/12/2015
I would like to draw your kind attention towards the calamities and their possible remedies in the Himalayas.
- Since its inception, Himalaya is a weak mountain, in which degradation is ongoing process.Earthquake, avalanches, landslides, flood, glacier lake breaching, obstruction of streams courses are inherent to its existence.
- It is unable to bear the increasing human intervention, hence last few decades, the incidences of floods and landslides have becomes frequent phenomena.
- For the time being, if we ignore the calamity of 19th and 20th century, during 2000 to 2015, the nature and trend of disasters varied significantly in Himalaya. For example, the 2000 Indus-Satluj, Siyang-Brahmputra flood, 2004 Parchu lake outburst and the subsequent flood in Satluj river, 2008 Koshi flood, Tista, Manas, Gori, Leh (Khardung), Ashi ganga (Bhagirathi) etc all points towards the increasing human intervention in Himalaya.
- The June 2013, flood in Kedarnath valley (Mandakini river) along with the floods in other rivers in Uttrakhand has compelled us to critically analyze the processes responsible for this disaster. Similarly, during the 2014-15 the devastation caused by the Jammu and Kashmir flood has raised questions on the sustainability of the infrastructure development.
- The river basins of the Ganga, Brahmputra and Indus which originate from the Himalaya occupy around 43% of the geographical area and constitute around 63% of the total water resource of the country. The perennial nature of these rivers is sustained by the contribution of around 9575 small and big glaciers, glacial lakes, pastures and forests.
- More than half of the country’s population is inhabited in these river basins. In Ganga basin alone, there are 9 states, covers 26% of the land cover, contribute 25% of the riverine flow and support 41% population. In these three rivers hundreds of hydropower projects are constructed, under construction and at the planning stage.
- The experts opinion suggests that during this century glaciers are on receding trend. There are increasing incidences of soil erosion, landslides and consequently the rivers are changing their courses leading to increasing incidences of floods. As a result our developmental schemes are getting affected. Every years lakhs of people are getting affected thus posing a serious threat on the socio-economic and cultural fabric of the country.
- The rivers originate from the sensitive Himalaya. According to geologists, Himalaya is a young mountain and major part of it lies in earthquake zone 4 and 5. Besides the Main Central Thrust, there are innumerable small thrusts present in Himalaya which indicate the fragility of the terrain. There is a threat posed by the global warming , there are suggestion that Himalayan climate is also getting effected by the increasing global temperature. The terrain instability of the Himalaya is also affected by unregulated constructions which have also affected the glacial lakes and the terrain in the higher Himalaya which is being manifested by recurrent flooding in the rivers.
- Considering above, it is high time that there should be a systematic study of the glaciers, glacial lakes, rocks and the changes taking places in various basins. This would require state of art institutions in the country through multidisciplinary approach in which scientists from various discipline should work in tendom. Such institution will combat the future challenges and disaster risk reduction.
- I am told that there is discussion on the constitution of a center for glacier research. Such center should have a multidisciplinary module. They should provide scientific information not only on the glaciers but the changes that are taking place on the glacial lakes, the glacial valley slopes, the effect on the tree line, effect on the fauna, lower valleys, water resources and agriculture. There should be a provision for disseminating the scientific information to the target population for which an effective information system should be created.
- For the implantation part, there should be separate departments in the Himalayan region with accountability.
- There is a need for a ecological consortium of the Himalayan countries like India, Nepal, China and Bhutan. Such a consortium is must for flood security. This will help in developing a collective policy and prevention.
- During 1982, for the eco-development of Himalaya, planning commission constituted acommittee on the under the chairmanship of Dr M.S. Swaminathan and an eco-task force was formed. This committee recommended that under the chairmanship of the honorable prime minister, an eco-development commission should be constituted. I am not aware as to what action was taken on the recommendation of the committee. Considering the present situation where the glaciers are receding, global temperature is on rise, climate is changing, and frequencies of catastrophic floods are on increase, in such a situation, there is an urgent need for the eco-development commission which should be headed by the honorable prime minister. The commission can formulate policies towards the conservation of the Himalaya and well being of the people.
I would be highly obliged if action are taken on the concern raised in this letter
With the new years greeting
(Chandi Prasad Bhatt)
Sri Narender Damodar Das Modi
South Block, New Delhi-110001hi
(Translated from original Hindi)