Uttarakhand chief minister goofs up again

Dehra Dun : Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, who is known to put his foot in his mouth on occasions, has done it yet again. He has gone on record to categorically state that the June 16-17 ‘Himalayan Tsunami’, as he termed it, was not a man-made disaster, but a natural disaster.
However, now in a written reply in Lok Sabha, questions by M Krishnaswamy, Jitendra Singh Bundela, and M Venugopal Reddy, union minister for environment and forest, Jayanti Natarajan said that disturbing nature and the natural environs of the Himalayan region were responsible for the disaster.

She said that only the melting of the glaciers in the higher reaches of the Himalayas could not be held responsible for the tragedy that hit the region, in which thousands were killed, rendered homeless and are still missing. Man’s folly in disturbing nature has a major role to play in it, the reply of the department, she added

The union minister for environment and forest in her reply said that with the state continuing to undertake various developmental projects in the area, was the reason for the tragedy under which the small mountain state is still reeling.
She said that to warn the state to conserve the environment, the department had notified a 100 km area from Gaumukh to Uttarkashi in the Bhagirathi valley as an ecologically very sensitive area, but despite the notification construction works continued unabated in the notified area itself, which caused immense devastation to the environment.

The reply of the Jayanati Natarjan has created a flutter in political circles here and has become the subject of gossip and conversation in social circles. Talk is that by making such a statement to the media, Vijay Bahuguna had shown how naïve he is to needs of the fragile ecology and environment of this small mountain state, of which he is the chief minister.

They recalled the fact that after the notification of the department of environment in December last year, of which the union minister has made a reference, not only the chief minister, but his cabinet colleagues met the Prime Minister and others, demanding that the notification be withdrawn as it will stop developmental activity in the region.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

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