When I think of Himachal, I instantly visualize the pristine beauty of the hills, the fragrance of the pine cones, the frolicking of monkeys, and the whiff of roadside maggie. It’s an ambiance that paints me with a brush of nostalgia, evoking emotions that well up in my eyes as I ponder over the losses we’ve endured due to nature’s unpredictable calamities. What remains are memories for us to cherish and a feeling of hope to safeguard all that is left against the forces of nature. But have we ever wondered, ‘when did nature turn so destructive?’
With the rising population, and growing urbanization, the hills seem to be bearing the brunt of unchecked and rampant development. The months of July and August this year saw unprecedented rainfall in Himachal. The state was battered by 354 mm of rainfall in July, as against the normal 165mm, according to the Indian Meteorological department.
August saw more rainfall, flash floods, landslides and road blockages among other issues. This inevitably led to the displacement of scores of people and loss of lives. The magnitude of damage has been disastrous to say the least.
Among the myriad infrastructure challenges in Himachal, what caught our attention the most was the “unscientific” nature of what were meant to be ‘all-weather’ roads in the region. As per a newslaundry report, in many areas in the state, mountains have often been cut down steeply, resulting in road breakage. Little efforts have been taken to stabilize the slopes, post construction activity. In addition to this, construction debris often finds its way to the rivers, exacerbating the cause of flooding in the area. Not just that, experts have also raised concerns on the quality of materials used in construction.
At this critical juncture, Himachal’s revival rests on investing in infrastructure projects that are scientific in nature, sustainable, and suited to the geological terrain that is unique to Himachal Pradesh. This could pave the way for infrastructure that is capable of withstanding the vagaries of nature!
It’s clear that humanity has tested nature’s limits time and again. Now, it’s time for us to work in harmony with it, crafting a safer, more resilient future for Himachal. Together, let’s mend the balance we’ve repeatedly disrupted. Sign the petition, urging authorities to take accountability for their actions.