The World Bank and Himachal Pradesh government has signed a road project worth Rs. 840 cr. The money will be utilised for strengthening the transport and road safety measures. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur in a statement said that project will have three components. First, re-establishment of Himachal Pradesh State Road and other Infrastructure Development Corporation. Second, developing five 127 km roads for encouraging horticulture and overall economic development in the state. The third component will deal with the improvement of roads and awareness on road safety.
It noteworthy that in the said project, Rs. 615 cr. will be the World Bank’s share and Rs. 225 cr. will be contributed by the state government.
A committee of the Meghalaya State Assembly chaired by SK Sunn made a visit to the areas of Tura in West Garo Hills along with other committee members. The visits were organised in order to oversee the extent of pollution of the streams and rivers and to assess various other environmental problems in the region. On a three-day visit, the committee reviewed various departments of the district.
There were several news reports that the Rongkhon stream which is the major source of drinking water in the Tura town is affected by deforestation and its water quality has deteriorated drastically.
The committee has made several observations for the protection and preservation of water catchment areas in the Nokrek Biosphere Reserve. The committee emphasized to operationalize the compost plants in order to address the waste dumping issues. The committee members also raised serious concern caused by the reckless garbage dumping including bio-medical waste, resulting in pollution of the Ganol River.
The committee has asked various departments to take adequate measures and submit a report to the committee.
In line with the Kedarnath reconstruction and development project, the Uttarakhand government is planning to present a plan for Badrinath Beautification worth Rs. 424 cr to the Prime Minister’s Office. The master plan is prepared by the state tourism department along with the Chamoli district administration.
The plan is divided into three different phases. In the first phase, the beautification work of the Shesh Netra and Badrish lakes near the temple is to be taken up. In second, the temple and areas close to it will be taken up and in the third and the last phase, a path connecting the temple directly with the Shesh Netra lake will be built.
Apart from these, the plan also includes beautification of the ponds around the temple, expansion and widening of roads leading to the shrine, developing Badrish Van and construction of a parking facility near it, besides the riverfront development in a phased manner.
The Chief Minister of Uttarkhand has already been made aware of the plan and has approved it.
Durmi-Gauna Lake which is also known as Birahi taal situated 18 km from Nijmula Valley in Chamoli district in Uttarakhand is now being revived in order to make it a prominent tourist attraction.
The district magistrate of Chamoli, Swati S Bhadauriya has said that Durmi-Gauna Lake has the potential to be redeveloped into a tourist destination. It has been reported that the lake is covered with the debris following cloudbursts and landslides that took place in July 1970. Prior to this, a large number of visitors use to arrive at the lake.
Now, the district admiration has taken it on itself after five decades to revive and redevelop the lake with multi development projects to restore its lost status.
Addressing the Himalayan Divas (September 9) conclave, the Union Minister Jitendra Singh said that the Himalayan states and UTs offer unexplored potential for a post-COVID resurgence. Referring to various researches he stated that the Himalayas serves as a major source of water, flora and fauna for a large part of the Indian subcontinent.
He also commented on the importance of Himalayan rivers and their unexplored avenues. Dr. Singh praised the emerging bamboo industry in the north-eastern Himalayan region and its potential to become a major economic activity for the country and the Himalayan region.
Dr. Singh also recognised concerns like perennial floods, landslides, deforestation, environment pollution, climatic alterations. He further said that the Himalayas have the capacity to come to the rescue of humans as a major tool for post-COVID resurrection.
A study done by an NGO, Toxics Link working in the area of environmental conservation has highlighted that the non-woven bags which are currently in wide circulation. Lately, these bags are being sold claiming it to be eco-friendly products and alternatives to single use plastic bags only.
The study titled, “Environmental Illusion: The non-woven bag” revealed that 5 samples of non-woven bags were sent to accredited labs for testing wherein plastic materials (polypropylene and polyester) were found in them. The study also indicates that 45% of the respondents (covered for study purpose) had replaced the plastic bags with these non-woven bags believing it to be an alternative to the plastic bags.
(By: Gautam Kumar)