Lakshmi Prasad Jaiswal from Uttarakhand
The tragedy in Uttarakhand is being treated as a natural calamity, because nature brought the disaster. But the question that arises is should we actually consider nature the culprit and keep on enduring such disasters every year? Were there such calamities occurring every year in Uttarakhand before five years? If we look at the statistics, one thing that definitely comes to notice is that in these years the cases of heavy rains and cloud bursts have increased, and there is certainly a calamity in any of the border areas of the state, mainly Pithoragarh, Bageshwar, Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi.
It is needless to recount how horrifying, disastrous and widespread the calamity was, as already much information has been given by the media. The analyses of disaster management too will not provide any permanent solution. For the namesake there is a complete disaster management department under the State government and there is a separate ministry also for this work. But it seems the ‘concept’ of disaster management itself is unclear. Practically there was no sign of advance preparations despite the warning of heavy rains on June 15 by Weather Department and after the terrible destructions on June 16-17. The rescue work basically began on June 20 and this delay led to such a huge loss of life and property.
When we discuss the matter with different sections of society (social, religious, environmental, scientists etc.) various new facts surface. I have tried to compile some of such issues in this write-up. The first suspicion is whether our neighbouring country China has any hand in this calamity. The logic being cited in support of this apprehension is that China in 2005 Olympics had successfully shifted the hovering clouds through technology. This means China has such a technology, which can shift the clouds from one place to another. If there is any such technique, it could be used for creating destructions in India. If clouds can be shifted from one place to another, then artificial clouds can also be created with the help of chemicals, and artificial rains can also be carried out. One important fact being noticed is that for the last 4-5 years the incidences of heavy rains and cloud bursts are increasingly noticed in the border areas of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh only.
The second argument is that why such calamities take place during Kailash Mansarover or Char Dham Yatras only? The Char Dham Yatra is a symbol of a collective responsibility. This region is covered with snow for six months but during these six months there is quite a movement of pilgrims, army, police and administration in the border areas. Hence the area is quite a automatically under vigilance. There are attempts for some time to disrupt the Amarnath Yatra. There is apprehension that the Char Dham Yatra is also being hampered under the pretext of calamities.
It is to be noted that from June 12 itself about 4500 horse and mule owners in Kedarnath Yatra route went on strike citing some demands. The strike took place on the call of some Communist leaders. This hampered air-services. The pilgrims who visited the state after the strike kept on being struck, due to which the number of pilgrims grew more than normal. If the apprehension of creating artificial disaster is correct, this could be the safest and easiest means of destroying a country.
A thousand times more damage can be caused by such hidden techniques than the damage done by terrorist activities. There is no need to even use any nuclear weapon. No matter this apprehension could be imaginary, it requires a high level study by scientists. NASA has given some conclusions. The Indian Geological and Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) have also given their research reports. These all could be correct. It is of utmost necessity to study and research upon all these study reports and make a comprehensive action plan. The conclusions of NASA cannot be trusted blindly because for America, India’s interest is secondary. It won’t mind misguiding India for its vested interests.
Other than water, land and air a new area is space, which needs constant vigilance. It seems sooner or later we may have to create a space army also on the lines of Navy and Air force.
Another important topic is related to dams and hydro projects. In Uttarakhand, more than 505 dams and 244 hydro projects are either proposed or under construction on the Ganga and her tributaries like the Mandakini, Bhagirathi or Alaknanda. Forty five of these are operational. About 95 per cent of the dams in the state have come up after the year 2000. In Char Dham region nearly 70 dams are proposed. A debate on dams and hydro projects is going on for long. But a holistic and unbiased discussion was never held on it. If development becomes the torment of destruction then the experts must think in totality on these dams and projects.
Large scale illegal mining is also seen inviting dangers. Rules are being ignored under the nexus between mining-mafia and government authorities. The mining is taking place through machines, whereas the permission is only for collecting the stones by hands. Swami Nigamanand of Haridwar sacrificed his life against this illegal mining, but the mining goes on violating even the orders of the High Court and Supreme Court.
The huge network of roads and the concrete jungle is also posing a grave threat to Nature in this region. Dynamites are freely used for building or widening the roads, due to which the whole mountain crumbles. It is said to be the root cause of landslide. The rule is that any building will be constructed at least 200 meters away from the river, but man’s greed has no end.
The nature is alerting us through these calamities. If we understand this warning only then we can curb destruction. For it we need to take some immediate long term measures. The immediate measures include (1) apart from the motor way, the traditional pedestrian route should also be revived; (2) registration of Kedarnath pilgrims, construction of shades on short distance along the 14 km route and controlling the gathering of the pilgrims; (3) construction of permanent helipads at some places and keeping the NDRF and task force on high alert; (4) suffecient store of foodgrains at calamity prone areas; (5) rehabilitation of the villages falling in calamity prone areas; (6) strict ban on construction of buildings on the banks of the rivers, etc. Under the long term action plan, reconsideration needs to be done on dams, probe into the alleged conspiracies of hostile neighbour and preventing the conversion of holy places into tourist spots.
(The writer is an advocate and social activist of Uttarakhand)
RSS initiative to trace missing persons
Uttaranchal unit of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) appealed to all the Sangh units across the country to provide details of the missing persons from their respective areas so that the swayamsevaks in Uttarakhand can trace whereabouts of the missing persons.
In a letter to all Prant Sanghachalaks and Prant Karyavahs, Uttaranchal Prant Karyavah Shri Lakshmi Prasad Jaiswal and Prant Sanghachalak Shri Shashikant Dixit appealed to provide details of the missing persons including their name, age, district, address, Prant, landline number, mobile number, the place where the last call was received, date, time, etc. “As we all are aware that the natural calamity of June 16-17 caused havoc in Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath and many pilgrims including the local people have been washed away or died and some yet to reach their homes after the calamity, the swayamsevaks in Uttarakhand have decided to trace the missing persons if they are provided with some information about the missing persons. While preparing the list of the missing persons, the help of other organisations can also be sought,” the letter said. Anyone, can contact the Sangh workers to seek their help.
Any information about the missing persons can be sent to the following:
Shri Shashikant Dixit
Prant Sanghachalak, 09412950191
Laxmi Prasad Jaiswal
Prant Karyavah, 09412056755