JAMMU : The flash floods caused by a cloudburst close to Amarnath in southern Kashmir in July this year and other natural calamities happened in the recent times have proved the observations of Parliamentary Standing Committee right in its report published last year. The panel in its report had observed that the Himalayan region of Union Territories (UTs) of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are young, fragile and sensitive mountains.
The committee stressed on the need to establish and install state-of-the-art infrastructure along with modern equipments of proven efficacy and reach that would play very crucial role in monitoring the movement of glaciers in Himalayan region.
Further, the Parliamentary Panel has recommended that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) should emphatically put before the Ministry of Finance its specific requirements for the purpose and seek appropriate budgetary allocation at the Revised Estimates (RE) stage.
In view of the severe glacial outburst at Chamoli in Uttarakhand, the Committee, strongly recommended that for ensuring safety of the people of UTs of J&K and Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, a network of meteorological and hydrological stations, monitoring stations and weather stations be set up at the earliest.
The Committee also recommended that an urgent assessment needs to be made and organizations like Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradun, Uttarakhand may also be tasked to conduct glaciological studies and prepare glacial lake inventory for Himalayan region using remote sensing and geographical information system (GIS).
Pertinently, the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG) is currently monitoring eight glaciers so far namely Gangotri, Dokriani, Chorabari, Dunagiri, Bangni, Pindari, Kafni, Sunderdunga in Uttarakhand and two glaciers in Doda and Suru valley of J&K UT.
The Committee observed that excessive cutting of trees and use of dynamites on Hills/Mountains of the Himalayan region for roads, tunnels, dams and other developmental/infrastructural projects is significantly weakening the surrounding hills and may be causing an avalanche, landslides, flash floods and other catastrophes.
“The Committee understands that the Himalayas are fragile mountains and geologically and environmentally sensitive. Therefore, the developmental projects taking place in the region should be considered from the environmental and ecological point of view.
The Committee recommends that the MHA may coordinate with the concerned agencies including National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways, etc. to immediately ban the use of dynamites for developmental projects in the Himalayan region and make judicious use of technology particularly in high altitude Himalayan region to minimize the damage to ecology and environment”, the report said.
“The panel further recommends exploring technological solutions including use of cutting-edge technology and best practices followed by the other countries for cutting of hills/mountains for various developmental projects”, it added.