24 January, 2021

The Hillsides Are Greying

Development is sinking its concrete teeth into the Himalayas—dangerously

The Hillsides Are Greying
  • Horror tale Uttarakhand, with its religious sites, draws pilgrims from acr oss the country, especially the southern states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka
  • 28 hundred pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh among those stranded in the hills


What caused this so called Himalayan tsunami and could the disaster have been averted? Experts say this kind of torrential rainfall is certainly ‘unprecedented’ but cannot be blamed on climate change, global warming or melting glaciers—not just yet. Unplanned construction on a large scale in the fragile Himalayas, already made vulnerable by rapid deforestation, was perhaps a big contributor to this disaster—one waiting to happen.

As for the unprecedented rainfall, L.S. Rathore, director-general of the Indian Meteorological Department, Delhi, says, “An unusual, rare and very unique combination of events led to this torrential downpour.” His team, he says, had correctly forecast...



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