Urgent imperative to prevent a looming catastrophe in hill stations
Ghazala Abdullah | Dharamshala
During the unceasing, torrential rain in the Mcleod–Bhagsu-Dharamkot-Naddi area, life has come to a virtual standstill after the frenzy of catering to the crowds of out-of-state tourists at the weekend.
Most people are staying indoors to shelter from the unrelenting downpour. Videos have been circulating on social media among the locals showing rushing torrents along main streets, the force of which is even dislodging parked cars that are dragged along in the slurry of debris and water.
Most people are agreed that it doesn’t take experts to tell us that these powerful deluges are as much a part of the ongoing climate change, as the unprecedented, sizzling heat seen in faraway places like Canada and America at the moment.
Unplanned commercial development, concrete jungles on hillsides
We can see with our own eyes that rapid, unplanned commercial development in our hill stations, the incessant road-building and raising of concrete jungles on our hillsides, have radically exacerbated the onslaught of the monsoon.
The age-old ‘nalis’ are choked with garbage discarded by unthinking tourists and locals, and their function handicapped even further by all the construction rubble that has been dumped into them.
Our tinted goggles of short-sighted profits will cause us to pay most dearly as the climate crisis progresses. Fear can choke one, for the as yet, an unborn generation who will bear the brunt of our stupidity.
Decimation of precious trees
Yet all the while the decimation of precious trees, many of which have stood as silent sentinels for half a century and more, continues unabated.
The trees, which hold in place the soil on these fragile hillsides, the green giants which prevent landslides and hinder the gushing torrents dragging the hillsides down with them.
It is time for the officials concerned and the local populace to spring into action, to call a halt to further unauthorized construction, dumping and deforestation.
Imperative to prevent catastrophe
This is an urgent imperative to prevent a looming catastrophe in our hill stations.
This is not a job for one fearless individual alone, but it must be a joining of hearts and hands to save what can still be preserved. Today’s violent downpour, and its consequences, is a clear indication that this is the need of the hour.
We ignore it at our own peril. The truth of climate change, and the degradation of the beautiful nature and wildlife of our hills, must be halted before it is too late!