Experts urge proper assessment for Char Dham Road Widening Project
In order to highlight various points regarding the Char Dham road widening project, a screening of two short films and panel discussion was held here no the weekend. Subject experts and local activists from the affected areas stressed on the need for proper planning and practical scientific methodology to ensure that the locals are able to derive optimum benefit while also minimising the damage to the environment of the Himalayan region.
Two short films prepared by Rachna Joshi, Naveen Joshi, Shubham Rawat, Shruti Kaul, and Suraj Negi under the banner of Viral Bug Films were screened at a programme organised by Nature Science Initiative and Been There Doon That on the weekend. Speaking on the occasion professor Prakash Nautiyal from the HNB Garhwal University said, “Uttarakhand Himalayas have a fragile ecosystem and are still in the process of formation. Therefore it is important that proper assessment is done before going ahead with the Char Dham road widening project.”
Vijay Jardhari of the Beej Bachao Andolan said, “Several people will lose their livelihood if the project is not executed properly. Also, the interest of the communities also needs to be taken into account.The discrepancies in rates of compensation to those who are losing their lands to the project should also be addressed,” he said.
Highlighting the legal aspect of the debate Himanshu Arora from Citizens For Green Doon said, “The recent Supreme Court judgement has asked for an environmental impact assessment for works to be started in the future as part of this project. It is very important that correct information about the debate should come out in the media.”
Sharing her experience of the mountains, activist Sushila Bhandari from Rudraprayag district said, “The government should take a holistic view of Ganga cleaning. It is very important to look at the condition of the river in the mountains where the muck from the road widening project is being dumped.”
Soumya Prasad from Nature Science Initiative said, “Such roads and projects are welcome but proper environmental impact assessment is vital.”
Expressing his views, Uttarakhand State Council of Science and Technology director general Rajendra Dobhal said that one must look at the positive aspects of the project. However, opining as an ecologist, he said that if the forests in high altitude places like Uttarkashi are felled, it would be difficult to regenerate these in this lifetime.
Monday, 04 February 2019 | PNS | Dehradun
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