SN Tripathi Memorial Lectures (2011)…

'Himalayas are Seismically Active...'
Shri Chandi Prasad Bhah

Chipko Movement showed a way to solving local problems with the help of community who understands its environment, its problems and also its solutions.

The Himalayas: An Overview Spread over 2500 km., the Himalayas are very young mountains and cover five countries namely Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. In India it covers an area of 594427 sq. km (12 States) and supports about 6% of our population (1991 census). Having an average forest cover of 38% (1991 census), it contributes about 63% to India's water budget.

There are three rivers that originate from Himalayas constituting 63% of the total river water including Brahmputra- 34%, Ganga-25%, lndus- 04%, these rivers have a basin of 43%.

The Himalayas are seismically active and constitute the youngest mountain chain. The are regulator of Indian monsoon.

To understand the problems of Himalayas,we have to take a holistic view and to understan the rivers we have to go to their roots from where they originate.

The Climate Change

To meet our growing needs, the natural resources are exploited to no limits and thus causing disturbance to the environment whether it is Himalayas or other parts of the country. The rivers are changing its course, frequent landslides are causing soil erosion, and earthquakes are destroying lives of millions. Thus affecting our natural, economic, social and cultural prosperity.

The earthquakes in Latur and Uttarkashi and various other places are natural disaster that cannot be stopped, but we can surely mitigate the damaging effects. Badrinath an Hemkund Saheb are the places visited by millions of people in a year.The effect of rise i the local temperature is visible in these places. As per Himalaya Atkinson Gazetteer, in the year 1884, about 5000-10000 people used to visit these places, in a year but now thi number has increased to about 10000 people per day. This has resulted into construction of roads and various other developments. It is very important to study the impact befor; launching such developments.In last 30 years the life loss of people has multiplied almos by four times due to disturbance in Himalayas.

In Badrinath in the year 1974, Jayashree Trust, an agency initiated a construction work to increase the height of the temple by 78 fts.It raised a question whether the devotion of people towards the temple when it was constructed was lesser than that for Kedarnath.A committee reviewed this matter and found that there is a mountain behind the temple in an eye brow shape that protects the temple from the avalanches. In case if the height of the temple is raised, it will be destroyed by the avalanches. Thus the localsolutions and strategies are most responsive,suitable and sustainable.