Western Himalayas

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Small hydel projects are often hailed as sustainable models of power production but they spark an equal number of contentious issues much like the bigger projects.

As Hari Singh led me towards his fields, I wondered if he was trying to play a joke on me. Large rocks were scattered in the area and there was no sight of any arable land, neither was there any clue of the irrigation channel which Singh claimed ran through his farm.

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Get more information of the opportunity.

Know more about International Glaciological Society.

January 5, 2015 12:00AM

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Kuhls, the community-owned irrigation channels of Himachal Pradesh, have lost their importance over time. Is it because the state has begun managing them causing a disconnect with the people?

Ranjit Singh is elated that someone has come to his village enquiring about his work. He says not many people recognise the worth of traditional occupations like his. “This is especially true of government officials and policy makers who feel everything old is useless”, he points out.

Ranjit is the kohli of Mjately village in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.

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Four Gram Panchayats in Uttarakhand joined forces to oppose a cement plant. They won this battle, but will India's villagers win the war?

When Basanti Devi entered the village of Bachwadi in Uttarakhand's Takula block on one of her routine visits, she knew that something was wrong. Instead of the normal hustle, groups of men stood about talking quietly. She asked them what the matter was.

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A group of women in Himachal protest the shifting of a hydel project from the right bank to the left of the Ravi river. While it may seem like a simple 'side' issue, the truth is far more complex.

I could just about see a small makeshift shelter with a yellow canopy. As I made my way through the small stream and climbed uphill, I saw a JCB machine trying to clear a path. Further up the road, female voices speaking the local dialect started to emerge. A small hearth surrounded by utensils and jars of tea, sugar and lentils greeted me at the entrance.

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Indwalgaon in Uttarakhand harnessed available government resources to move from a water-deficit to a water-adequate state, thanks to its Pradhan Madanlal.

 Visitors and the Uttarakhand Tourism Department liken the mountain to 'devbhoomi' or the heavens but it isn't often that a villager of the area echoes those sentiments. Most of them are weary of the unending struggle to live in harmony with those steep slopes that make all manner of infrastructure difficult.

That is why the villagers of Indwal Grampanchayat come as a welcome change. 'Yeh to Jannat hain' one of them told me. "This is heaven".

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Galvanised by the formation of a Mahila Mangal Dal and by some training, these women in a small village in Uttarakhand design, construct and manage their own water sources and structures.

"We did everything ourselves", said the ebuillent Bhuvaneshwari Devi. "We took the cement up, carried the sand, everything! And we even told them where to place the tank"! She went on to narrate how the women's group of which she is a member, taught the men of the village that siting a tank in the stream will place it in danger of being washed away. It is better, they said, to place it beside the stream and further protect it with walls of rock.

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Himalayan glaciers could lose two-third mass by 2100

Commonly understood steps in disaster management are response, relief and rehabilitation but there is no mention of prevention. Awareness and education is the key to bringing about this change.

The Himalayas were born of continental shift when the Indian subcontinent challenged the larger Asian landmass. This tortured birth still continues making the region susceptible to landslides and earthquakes. In addition to this geological fact, climate change is altering rainfall patterns and leading to more instances of very intense rainfall, which further increases the problem of landslides.

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Venue & Timings:

Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Meeting-cum-Panel Discussion will be at Gandhi Darsan, Rajghat, New Delhi on 12th March, 2014 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Know more about Save Ganga Movement.

Download the event note and the document on organisation associated with the Save Ganga Save Himalayas movement form below.

March 12, 2014 10:30AM

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