Mandi, September 17
The office-bearers of different civil organisations said here today that the state government should file damage suits against the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and hydel power projects in Himachal because they are responsible for this rain disaster in Himachal.
Guman Singh, convener of Himalayan Niti Abhiyan, Joginder Walia, convener of Four lane committee, Narender Saini of Devbhumi Paryavaran Rakshak Manch, Sandip Minhas, an environmental activist, and others said in a joint press conference here today that the rain disaster in Himachal was a man-made tragedy, which left a larger number of families homeless and landless.
Over 404 people had lost their lives in this disaster in Himachal. As many as 38 are still missing, while 377 people were injured.
They said the unscientific cutting of hills in Himachal by the National Highways Authority of India to construct four lane projects had destabilised the hills.
“The current road widening work being done by the NHAI appears to lack long-term geological understanding and on-the-spot decisions were taken arbitrarily by contractors and other unskilled workers. Recently, Thalaut-Shala Nal, Aut-Banala, Pandoh-Mandi stretches on the Kiratpur-Manali fourlane and Chakki region of the Parwanoo-Solan fourlane roads faced massive land sliding. Such incidents are becoming common where road-widening work is going on across Himachal,” they said.
“Therefore, there is a need for proper and long-term geological investigations during the road construction planning phase. There is an urgent need for seriously considering geological instability and risk to communities and mountains alongside these projects that involve blasting and vertical cutting to widen roads. Fourlane projects should be stopped immediately to avoid destruction similar to the one seen in and around the Kiratpur-Manali and the Shimla-Kalka fourlane road projects, which are making the existing roads also vulnerable to damage,” said Guman Singh, convener of Himalayan Niti Abhiyan.
He said that there was an urgent need to rehabilitate the people who have become homeless and whose livelihoods have been affected. “Moratorium on large infrastructure projects – dams and hydropower projects, roads, Multi-Storey Buildings (MCB) construction – must be imposed and strictly adhered to and their impacts studied,” they added.
A man-made tragedy
- Different civil organisations said the rain disaster in Himachal Pradesh was a man-made tragedy, which left a larger number of families homeless and landless
- They said the unscientific cutting of hills in the state by the National Highways Authority of India to construct four lane projects had destabilised the hills
- Over 404 persons lost their lives in this disaster in Himachal. As many as 38 are still missing, while 377 persons were injured
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