According to the 87-year-old environmentalist, who was a Chipko movement leader, tasks just like the Rishi Ganga hydel venture, which bore the brunt of Sunday’s calamity, shouldn’t have been given environmental clearance.
Bhatt mentioned that in 2010 he had written to the then surroundings minister warning towards the antagonistic results of the venture.
“Had my recommendation been heeded, the loss of lives and largescale injury to property on the venture web site may have been prevented. The senseless rampaging on the Himalayas in the name of development must cease,” he mentioned.
A portion of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on Sunday, triggering an avalanche and a deluge in the Alaknanda river system that washed away hydroelectric stations, leaving at the least 10 individuals lifeless and 143 lacking, who’re feared lifeless.
The sudden flood in the center of the day in the Dhauli Ganga, Rishi Ganga and Alaknanda rivers — all intricately linked tributaries of the Ganga — triggered widespread panic and large-scale devastation in the excessive mountain areas.
Two energy tasks — NTPC’s Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel venture and the Rishi Ganga Hydel Project — had been extensively broken with scores of labourers trapped in tunnels because the waters got here speeding in.
Pointing out that the Himalayas are too delicate to bear an excessive amount of human intervention, Bhatt, who has additionally been honoured with the International Gandhi Peace Prize, mentioned, “Sunday’s avalanche was a wake-up name and so was the 2013 Kedarnath deluge in which 1000’s perished however authorities refuse to be taught from pure calamities.”
A devastating pure catastrophe in the shape of torrential rains of unseen magnitude had struck Kedarnath on 16-17 June in 2013.
The banks of the Chorabari lake in Kedarnath collapsed because of a cloudburst that had resulted in a serious flash flood inflicting widespread destruction in Uttarakhand and led to heavy losses to infrastructure, agriculture lands, human and animal lives.
“The Chipko movement had begun from Raini village after largescale devastation in the Rishi Ganga and Alakananda Valleys attributable to a devastating flood in 1970. The flood woke up the locals to the necessity of saving the forests of Raini,” mentioned Bhatt who lives in Gopeshwar informed PTI.
The movement had resulted in a ban on reducing of timber in the catchment space of the Alaknanda river, he mentioned.
Women from Raini village of Uttarakhand had began the movement in the Nineteen Seventies by clinging onto timber to stop them from being reduce. Though the movement was began to stop the felling of timber, it went on to change into an inspiration for surroundings conservation.
Bhatt mentioned environmental clearance to a 13 MW hydel venture in a river near its level of origin in a Himalayan glacier quantities to inviting calamities like this. Environmental clearance to tasks like that on the Rishi Ganga with out correct consideration might be extremely detrimental to the fragile Himalayan ecological system. It additionally outcomes in inordinate delay in clearance to infrastructural tasks of public use, he mentioned.
Bhatt additionally underscored the necessity for updating the data of the ecological system related with locations the place rivers just like the Ganga and its tributaries originate in the Himalayas.
“On the factors the place the Ganga or its tributaries originate there usually are not solely glaciers but in addition lakes of various sizes, huge and small, about which our data is negligible. It must be augmented,” he mentioned.
“We must determine such lakes and glaciers, present them on our maps and maintain a tab on them. An efficient mechanism of sharing fundamental info on their vulnerability with the native administration and the native populace must also be developed,” Bhatt careworn.