Monsoon mayhem in Himachal Pradesh

Monsoon mayhem in Himachal Pradesh

News: About 81 people have died in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand as a result of incessant rains and landslides over the last few days.

Background:
• Here, we will discuss about reasons behind recent disaster in the Himalayan states and understand how Tourism in the state is contributing for recent destruction.

Which factors contribute to disasters in the Himachal Pradesh?
• Floods and landslides are common and frequent occurrences in this state and youthful stage of the Himalayas are characterized by Geological activities which contribute to frequent landslides.
• Secondly, according to ISRO’s Landslide Atlas of India, all twelve districts in Himachal Pradesh are vulnerable to landslides. However, recent years have witnessed an increase in the instability of the slopes.
• Climate change and the rise in instances of extreme rainfall events have aggravated the vulnerabilities. Indeed, the average temperature in the Himalayas is increasing at a faster pace compared to the rest of the country.
• The ecologically insensitive development has compromised Himachal Pradesh’s ability to withstand adverse weather conditions. In the past 10 years, the state has witnessed widening of roads, record approval of highway projects which have contributed to vulnerabilities.
• Early Warning Systems designed to notify people about impending landslides are in their initial stages of development in the country. Earlier in the month in Kangra, the EWS failed to effectively alert people about an impending landslide.

How is Tourism industry aggravating to the problems of Disasters in Himalayan states?
• While Tourism industry helps locals and allied businesses in several ways it is important to consider its impact on ecology and it is necessary to act responsibly while preserving and maintaining the sanctity of such places.
• There is an underlying thought process that Tourism industry is the lynchpin of prosperity, behavior of tourists to seek enjoyment and have lavish experience is seen as fundamental aspect of hospitality. However, it underestimates the ecological impact of unrestricted tourism.
• The Hospitality sector from their side have failed to acknowledge that their actions have given little consideration over disappearance of forests, disposal of wastes and the tourists on the other side fail to recognize that their style of travel can harm the mountains.

Way Forward
• The need of the hour is to encourage responsible tourism and the policymakers ought to execute infrastructure projects considering the vulnerability of ecological areas. Unchecked tourism and unchecked development can have serious consequences in the region. 

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