PANEL DISCUSSION: UNDERSTANDING UTTARAKHAND TRAGEDY (Water Conflict Forum)

  

Published On: 14th February, 2021 | Duration: 1 hours, 58 mins, 34 secs

  

Most of us are still trying to come to terms with the tragedy that left a trail of death and destruction in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district on 7th February 2021. Over the last some years with increasing evidence of the impact of climate change on Himalayan glaciers, there has been a lurking fear that something of this might happen any time. And it really happened; and this may not be also the end. Our sympathies are definitely with those who have lost their near and dear ones and also lost their homes and belongings. The issue is also what lessons we learn from such tragedies and how we take corrective steps.  

  

Though there are different opinions about what exactly triggered this – glacial outburst floods, heavy snow, land slip and so on or a combination of all of these and more – it has once again brought our attention to the type of destructive human interventions in the fragile and climate sensitive Himalayan ecosystems in the form of infrastructure projects especially dams and hydropower projects.  

  

In order to understand what has happened in Uttarakhand and also take a scientifically informed and socially and ecologically just view about the long term environment-development intersections in the Himalayan regions in the background of climate change, Ganga Ahvaan, Himdhara, India Rivers Forum, Indian Youth Water Network, Matu Jan Sangathan, People’s Science Institute, South Asia Network on Dams Rivers and People and Water Conflicts Forum have together organised an online meeting on 13th February 2021. The panel consisted of scientists, glaciologists and activists for the meeting, and they included:  

  

Uttam Lal (Sikkim University),
Ravi Chopra (People's Science Institute),
Naveen Juyal (Glaciologist, PRL),
Manshi Asher (Himdhara),
Vimal Bhai (Matu Jan Sangathan),
Mallika Bhanot (Ganga Ahvaan) and
Himanshu Thakkar (SANDRP).

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