Scientific Approach Along With Community Involvement Needed To Conserve Himalayas – Rajiv Ranjan Mishra
The National Mission for Clean Ganga organized Himalayan Diwas in association with Naula Foundation. This year’s theme is ‘Contribution of the Himalayas and our responsibilities’. The event was part of the ongoing celebration of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’. Himalaya Diwas is celebrated every year on 9th September in the state of Uttarakhand. It is celebrated with the aim to conserve the Himalayan ecosystem and region. It was officially declared as Himalaya Day in 2015 by the then-Chief Minister.
Explaining the significance of Himalayas, Shri Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General, NMCG raised concerns over unplanned urbanization in the Himalayas, and said, “Himalayan hill towns face several challenges because of poor building planning & designs, poor infrastructure (roads, sewage, water supply, etc) and unprecedented cutting of trees. This causes serious ecological issues.” He added that there is an urgent need to develop eco-sensitive hill town plans and designs. “We cannot have similar master plans for cities in plains and hills,” he said. He emphasized that the Himalayas are a source of strength and a valuable heritage not only for India but the entire world and we need to preserve them.
Mr. Mishra said,” This can be made possible with scientific knowledge along with community involvement and we welcome Naula Foundation’s efforts”. Padma Shri Kalyan Singh Rawat in his keynote address said, “Himalayas are a source of medicinal plants which makes Ganga water special and gives life to not only Ganga but many smaller streams.”
Congratulating on the occasion of the Himalayan Diwas, Prof Vinod Tare, Founding Head, cGanaga, IIT Kanpur shared a draft of the Uttarakhand river’s atlas. He informed that this project of developing river’s atlas intends to map all rivers in Uttarakhand and give them a unique identification number. Speaking about the efforts of the Naula Foundation in conserving the Himalayan ecosystem, Shri Bishan Singh, President Naula Foundation underscored the need of focusing on traditional methods of water conservation and working with local communities.
Proceedings of ‘Stakeholders Webinar on Pahad-Paani-Parampra’ were released at the event. The webinar was organized on 10th, 11thand 12th June 2021. It was an excellent opportunity for policymakers and decision-makers to sensitize them on the drying-up of springs and the crucial role of spring-shed management in implementing similar programs and to share experiences. A technical session emphasizing the need for Ganga Rejuvenation for Sustainable Himalayas was conducted at the event. Prof Rajiv Sinha, IIT Kanpur, Prof A. S. Maurya, IIT Roorkee, and Prof Venkatesh Dutta shared ideas on various scientific aspects of the conservation of the Himalayas & its ecosystem.
NMCG understands the importance of the Himalayas which triggers the Monsoons every year. This greatly contributes to the flow of the river Ganga and its tributaries. Understanding the contribution of the Himalayas, NMCG has sanctioned various projects, understanding the responsibility towards the Himalayas. One such project is ‘Rejuvenation of dying springs in Tokoli Gad Catchment of Tehri Garhwal District using Geochemical & Geophysical techniques’ by IIT Roorkee. NMCG has also sanctioned a project titled Cultural mapping of river Ganga from Gaumukh to Ganga Sagar by INTACH. Under the project, the tangible and intangible heritage of the river Ganga and the cities is being documented. Uttarkashi, Tehri Garhwal, Haridwar & Rudraprayag are the important Himalayan cities covered under the project.
Disclaimer: this is an official press release by pib.