Tag Archives: Gaurikund

Uttarakhand Floods: Nature’s Fury or Have We Dug Our Own Graves? – Part IX

In the last part of the series, Chandan Das elaborates on the reason why he feels that human beings have dug their own graves. He also highlights the hypocrisies that we indulge in the name of the Almighty!

“The clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o’er man’s mortality.”
William Wordsworth

ITBP rescue people

In case you learn, will you implement it?

Today, we’ve dug our own graves. Landslides and flash floods are not something new in the hilly state of Uttarakhand, more so in the recent times. Rescue operations are on but it is never easy to undertake such task in challenging terrains and adverse weather conditions.  After the deluge retreats, Uttarakhand will have to pick up the pieces. So can we implement the following?

  • Impose high environmental tax on visitors, particularly during summer and monsoon months
  • Inform public needs about their seminal role in mitigating disaster.
  • Define Disaster Management Plan, with standard operating procedures that would kick in when there is either warning of incidence of disaster.
  • Credible cumulative impact assessment
  • Proper functioning drainage system
  • Secured or relocate all vulnerable buildings away from rivers.
  • Impose penalties on building structures within 200 metres of river banks.
  • Hydropower policy considering building fewer dams and prioritise those that have the least environmental and social costs.
  • Independent and serious monitoring of the catchment area treatment plans.
  • Credible warning and forecasting mechanism
  • Proper weather forecast mechanism
  • Review of ongoing development works and scrap those that are going to increase the disaster and damage potential.
  • Assess buildings and hotels in the river bed and phase them out before next monsoon, assess other risky structures.
  • Accelerated use and wider application of geospatial mapping technology.
  • Enhancement of the Bhuvan platform – our own version of Google Earth.
  • Strict regulation of land use – critically, the avoidance of occupancy for agriculture and human settlement in river beds, drains and canals.
  • Heavily sizing down pilgrim numbers in fragile areas.

Well for the implementation of this , all that is needed is a “ Man Made” will power, not the Nature’s fury, isn’t it ?

Where has the Humanity gone?

Right now as I write this, the stories of those on the lookout for their kith and kin lost in flood-hit areas are bone-chilling. People are facing harrowing experience and staying without light, food and drinking water.

Sample this:

# Half a bucket of hot water sold for Rs 40/-

# Hotels booked for Rs 300 started charging Rs 3000/-

# Paratha 180/-

# Water bottles at Rs100/- a piece

# Per rice bowl Rs.500/-

# Rs 200 for a Rs 5/- biscuit packet

Oh, do you want to hear more?? A stranded woman tourist and her daughter were raped and murdered in Gaurikund area of Kedarnath valley. Some criminals reportedly murdered three brothers — all mule traders — in the same area and looted Rs. 17 lakh from them.

Now, when you commit sins like this on a land which is called DEVBHOOMI, do you expect the NATURE to not be angry? Oh yeah , when the HUMAN BEING digs his own grave,  NATURE will obviously show its fury!!

A deeply anguished, sad UTTARAKHANDI!!

Uttarakhand flood

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Uttarakhand Floods: Nature’s Fury or Have We Dug Our Own Graves? – Part VIII

In the penultimate part of the Uttarkhand Floods series, Chandan Das wonders about why India can’t foresee a terror strike or a natural disaster! Why do Indians act only after lives are lost, and even after that, simply engage in blame-games instead of learning lessons?

How does the Meadow flower its bloom unfold? Because the lovely little flower is free down to its root, and in that freedom bold – William Wordsworth

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Wanna hear some numbers?

# Over 50 tourist buses queued up. Suddenly, stones started raining on the buses. Continuously for 12 hours.

# Four-storey, 52-room hotel cave in in front of your eyes.

# Before the disaster, the number of mules in Gaurikund was estimated to be 8,000. Now there is no word on how many animals have perished or the conditions of those that have survived.

# 500 roads have been damaged and 200 bridges washed away makes the problem of rescue even bigger.

Oh no, the Man didn’t dig his own grave, it was just the Nature’s “Fury”!!

When will we learn our lessons?

Last year, we Indians were ruing shortage of rainfall and this year, they have been rattled by a fast advancing monsoon. The way various north Indian states have been crippled by the onslaught of monsoon, especially Uttarakhand, it raises one pertinent question: Is Life in India so cheap ? Why is to so difficult to understand the basics of a security culture. Whether there is a terror strike or a natural disaster, it is only after  blood is spilled and lives are lost that we decide to act. Just feeling proud of being a an emerging super-economy and the biggest democracy isn’t enough. We also need to get our basics right. But so ill-prepared are we to cope with the smallest deviation from the normal that lives are lost and property destroyed, year after year, even when the rainfall in this ecologically fragile region does not exceed the norm. But we aren’t helpless: we’ve failed because, though we’ve done our homework on how not to fail, we haven’t actually turned these lessons into practice. But it would leave behind a significant lesson that messing up with Himalaya’s eco-sensitive zone is just filled with dangers !!

So was it just a nature’s fury or have we dug our own graves?

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Garhwal Diaries 13 – Moments Captured on a Day Trip Through Rishikesh

Some more moments at Rishikesh depicted through these random clicks:

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IMG_0400This is the Chotiwala restaurant, a famous food joint that is over 50 years old. Sumptuous vegetarian delicacies are offered here.

IMG_0415The Chotiwala himself!

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Garhwal Diaries 12 – Rishikesh Retro Riviera

Some moments captured within a span of 24 hours in Rishikesh – the gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas.

IMG_0380A bird in the eye

IMG_0381Painted Bark

IMG_0383The Bridge

IMG_0394Ray of Hope

IMG_0389Still Life

Garhwal Diaries 9 – Descent From Kedarnath

It started drizzling by the time I started from Kedarnath. As the sun had already set I evaded the idea of clicking. By the time I reached Sitapur, it was already dark. Tired and hungry, the dal makhni with roti and salad made for a sumptuous dinner. Next morning I started from Sitapur for Rishikesh.

Postcards from Sitapur Skyline. Could not resist myself from clicking.

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Garhwal Diaries 8 – Random Clicks in Kedarnath

They say you are really lucky if you have been able to visit Kedarnath at least once in your life. Well, may be or may not be. For a travel enthusiast and a nature lover like me, the experience was just mindblowing…memories that I will forever cherish in my mind…

IMG_0287Random clicks of the surroundings at Kedarnath

IMG_0288I was quite amazed to see the crowd

IMG_0294View of the valley.

IMG_0293Another random click!

IMG_0268Goldy, someone I befriended on my way back from Kedarnath

Garhwal Diaries 6 – Memories of Kedarnath

My heart wrenches as I continue the series on Garhwal Diaries. The recent mayhem in the Garhwals has stirred my memories and left me despondent. However, through my photo blog I make an effort to fall back on my memories of Kedarnath.

IMG_0261Random click of flowing water

IMG_0266Good Old Maggie with chai at Ramwara

IMG_0270The scenery changes as I come closer to Kedarnath

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Finally Kedarnath!

IMG_0281A closer look at the steeple!