Fine line between prosperity and perdition THE OTHER CTÉ
The upsurge in political drama, announcements and actions ahead of the Assembly elections is nothing new. As usual, politicians target their rivals, take credit for themselves and promise to woo voters. With all of this expected to increase in intensity in the coming days, the attention of the general public should be diverted to the questions raised by politicians. Seasoned politicians have a special ability to turn real problems into “problems” that are talked about more than acted upon. Suddenly, apart from those who have either lost confidence in the system or are busy tackling the issues at hand, for others, the issues raised by politicians will occupy a considerable place and time on all forms of media. the people consume. Sometimes this causes the really important issues that we ignore at our peril are put aside.
Earlier, during the inauguration of various works in Kedarnath in November, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the number of people who will visit Uttarakhand in this decade will be more than the number of arrivals in the last 100 years. More recently this month, he launched a number of other large infrastructure projects that will dramatically improve access and travel in Uttarakhand. People want development and these projects will create jobs for many and increase incomes for many. However, for a state that seems to put most of its eggs in the tourism basket, it seems illogical that the state’s carrying capacity has not yet been properly established. The establishment will likely do so after the construction of dozens of hotels, homestays and other businesses catering to tourists and pilgrims in the years to come. At a time when the tourists who flock to the hill stations via the lowland towns during the holidays cause traffic jams and other problems in the hill stations as in the lowland towns, can we imagine the scenario where it takes less than three hours to travel by road from Delhi to Dehradun and the Rishikesh-Karnprayag railway will start operating in a few years? It can become difficult to find a peaceful, litter-free place in the mountains which have so far been renowned for their tranquility and natural beauty. This could be the case, especially since the government has so far failed to put in place an appropriate system of waste disposal and regulation to minimize the negative impacts of human activities. The environment has already suffered damage and will suffer more damage in the years to come. You might think that a few trees need to be cut and damage needs to be done to build infrastructure, but the damage in Uttarakhand appears to be indiscriminate and continues even after projects are completed. For example, the dumping of spoil generated during road works is often inappropriately dumped in various places. The damage that continues after the completion of projects is all too visible in Dehradun also because of the distorted view of planners and decision makers. In the past decade alone, various developments in the state’s provisional capital have been accompanied by a constant deterioration of its surroundings and the lives of citizens who are now wasting much more time trying to navigate congested roads. of poisonous belching vehicles – many of which shouldn’t even be operating on the roads. The negative side effects of such a “development” are more serious than traffic jams.
It is recalled that the political parties had included the environment as one of the aspects of their electoral manifesto, but we cannot expect the party in power and its main rival to really do what is necessary. This is tragic because Uttarakhand can in fact set an example in environmental conservation and sustainable development not only for other Indian states but also for the global community. We have examples like the Baranaja mixed cropping system of the Garhwal and Chipko movement which are just two of the globally recognized aspects but which seem to be ignored in Uttarakhand.
So, as politicians once again grab public attention with their underhanded political drama, it is vital for us to understand that the line between prosperity and perdition is thin.