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Posted at: Feb 2, 2016, 12:37 AM; last updated: Feb 1, 2016, 10:44 PM (IST)

Cash crops not good for health: Ex-VC

Tribune News Service

Solan, February 1

“Economic viability, water shortage, fragmented land holdings shrinking to as low as 300 square metres per person and warmer weather are forcing farmers in the Himalayas to leave farming slowly,” said Professor Tej Pratap, former Vice-Chancellor of Sher-e-Kashmir University, at the concluding day of a seminar on “International Dialogue on Himalayan Ecology” held at Shoolini University here today.

The two-day seminar was organised by a Chandigarh-based international study circle, the Dialogue Highway, in association with the Centre of Research on Himalayan Sustainability and Development, Shoolini University.

He said cash crops could be good for economic security but were not safe for health and environment.

Shoolini University VC PK Khosla also addressed delegates.

Dialogue Highway managing trustee Devinder Sharma warned that China might emerge as the biggest importer of foodgrains as it had forced farmers to quit farming. He said, “As many as 28 lakh farmers in China have committed suicides while in India this number stood at 3.2 lakh in the last couple of decades.”

Tushar Rattan, a British Ecological Society, said, “The wildlife is disappearing faster than the plant varieties.”

Padma awardee Anil Joshi stressed the need to declare the Himalayas as the ecological capital of India as it was a repository of rare flora and fauna. Panjab University VC Arun Grover said research institutions should make a consortium for better coordination and research-related activities.

Deputy Director General of the Indian Meteorological Department said the loss of man and property in natural disasters was caused due to incorrect land use. He illustrated his point by saying that if a person made a house on the riverbed, he would face heavy damages.

Dr PS Negi, Joint Director of the Snow and Avalanche Establishment, observed that they were undertaking snow harvesting to reduce the impact of climate change.

Geneivieve Ancel, co-founder and coordinator of France-based Dialogue en Huminte opined, “It is only the coalition of people and networks that can force a change in policies towards a better world.”

Director Public Relations, Himachal, Dr MP Sood also spoke on the occasion.

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