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Develop Uttarakhand as water hub: Rawat

DEHRADUN: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat has sought the constitution of a Central Himalayan Council on the lines of the North-Eastern Council for the development of Himalayan states like Uttarakhand.



Tribune News Service

 

Dehradun, February 8

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat has sought the constitution of a Central Himalayan Council on the lines of the North-Eastern Council for the development of Himalayan states like Uttarakhand.

Rawat was addressing the maiden meeting of NITI Aayog in Delhi today. The Uttarakhand Chief Minister said that Uttarakhand has limited resources and needed special category status.

He said the recommendations made for the Himalayan states by the BK Chaturvedi Committee of the Planning Commission in 2013 must be implemented.

He said that according to a study, forests in Uttarakhand provide eco-services to the tune of Rs 16 lakh crore annually in terms of environment conservation.

Rawat sought green bonus for the state as compensation for conservation. “Forests — as these hamper development in Uttarakhand — should not be liability for Uttarakhand,” Rawat said.

Demanding the withdrawal of the Bhagirathi Ecosystem Zone Notification 2012, Chief Minister Harish Rawat said it would release 4,200 sq km for development.

He said that the state already has the Bhagirathi River Valley Development Authority in place. He said strong conservation laws in the hills were forcing people to migrate to cities in the plains, putting undue pressure on urban areas.

He said that as Uttarakhand shares international borders, the strengthening of road, air and rail infrastructure in the state was very important.

Referring to hydro-power projects, Rawat said hydro-power was one of the most clean forms of energy and asserted that a number of hydro-power projects in the state had been stopped in the name of environmental conservation.

The Uttarakhand Chief Minister said several important rives of north India have their origins in Uttarakhand and that the state could be developed as a water hub.

He said schemes should be made to strengthen watershed areas of these rivers and massive plantation must be undertaken in these areas.

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