DEHRADUN: With highest ever rainfall registered in Uttarakhand in the last two days, environmentalists say such weather events are likely to occur with increased frequency in future due to rampant, mindless ‘development’ activities.
Kavita Upadhyay, an expert on water and hydropower-related issues, said, “The Himalayas are fragile. Pouring in concrete for projects is impacting the ecosystem.” Beautification and reconstruction plans have been approved for Sukhatal and Sattal areas in Nainital district. Former is the catchment area for the Naini tal (lake).
“An event like the recent extreme rains may result in overflow of Sukhatal lake, which may eventually lead to flooding in the Nainital town,” Upadhyay said. “The damage is going to increase if developmental plans are made by policy-makers who are unaware of the Himalayan region.”
Uttarakhand has witnessed more than 10,000 extreme weather events, including rainfall, cloudbursts and landslides, since 2015, killing a total of 553 people till June this year, according to the data by Uttarakhand Disaster Management Authority.
The state received record rainfall during October 17-19. Nainital was the worst hit, receiving 410 mm rainfall, with 28 people being killed. Vishal Singh, deputy executive director of Dehradun-based Centre for Ecology Development and Research, said, “Climate change is a significant factor and such events are only going to increase in future.”