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Construction along Beas, illegal mining reasons for rain disaster in Himachal

Construction along Beas, illegal mining reasons for rain disaster in Himachal

Houses built on the banks of the flooded Beas in Mandi. Photo: Jai Kumar



Tribune News Service

Dipender Manta

Mandi, July 14

Unregulated construction along the banks of the Beas from Manali in Kullu district to Mandi district is considered the major cause of destruction caused by flashfloods. Besides, dumping of debris by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) during the construction of the Kiratpur-Manali highway four-lane project and illegal mining and dumping of debris on the banks of the Beas are other factors responsible for the disaster.

According to experts, plenty of unregulated construction has taken place alongside the Beas and the local administration is responsible for it. Hotels, homestays and commercial and residential buildings have been constructed along the river and other water bodies, rendering the areas prone to disasters in future as well.

“The NHAI has dumped debris on the banks of the Beas between Mandi and Manali during the construction of the Kiratpur-Manali highway widening project, reducing the depth of the river. This has resulted in a flood-like situation, causing immense damage to structures built along the river,” the experts say.

They say, “Then, there is illegal mining going on unabated at several locations in the two districts. The illegal activity has even changed the course of the river.”

Narender Saini, president of the Dev Bhumi Paryavaran Rakshak Manch, says,“Under the law, construction should take place at least 25 m away from a water body in Himachal but nobody follows the norm.”

He says, “We had complained to the state government on the CM helpline that the NHAI was dumping debris generated from the Kiratpur-Manali highway widening project along the Beas but nobody listened to us. Now, the result is for everyone to see.”

Saini says, “Similarly, indiscriminate cutting of forests in the name of development is another major reason for the disaster. If we do not respect and protect nature, it will be disastrous.”

He adds that the Indira Awas Colony near the Beas also suffered extensive damage, while several hotels were washed away in the flooded Beas between Manali and Kullu. “This was a man-made disaster,” he says.

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#illegal mining #Kullu #Manali


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