‘Cannot have similar master plans for cities in plains and hills’

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Raising concerns over unplanned urbanisation in the Himalayas, National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) Director General Rajiv Ranjan Mishra said that there cannot be similar master plans for cities in plains and hills.

“Himalayan hill towns face several challenges because of poor building planning & designs, poor infrastructure (roads, sewage, water supply etc) and unprecedented cutting of trees. This causes serious ecological issues.

“There is an urgent need to develop eco-sensitive hill town plans and designs,” he said at the Himalaya Diwas function organised by the NMCG in association with Naula Foundation. This year’s theme was ‘Contribution of Himalayas and Our Responsibilities’.

Himalaya Diwas is celebrated every year on September 9 in Uttarakhand. Thursday event was part of the ongoing celebration of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, a release from the Jal Shakti Ministry said.

Explaining the significance of Himalayas, Mishra said that they are a source of strength and valuable heritage not only for India but the entire world and need to be preserved. “This can be made possible with scientific knowledge along with community involvement and we welcome Naula Foundation’s efforts,” he said.

About the efforts of Naula Foundation in conserving the Himalayan ecosystem, its President Bishan Singh underscored the need of focusing on traditional methods of water conservation and working with local communities.

A technical session on emphasising the need of ‘Ganga Rejuvenation for Sustainable Himalayas’ was conducted at the event. Professor Rajiv Sinha from IIT Kanpur, Professor A.S. Maurya from IIT Roorkee, and Professor Venkatesh Dutta shared ideas on various scientific aspects of conservation of Himalayas and its ecosystem.

Understanding the contribution of the Himalayas, the NMCG has sanctioned various projects. One such project is ‘Rejuvenation of dying springs in Tokoli Gad catchment of Tehri Garhwal district using Geo-chemical & Geo-physical techniques’ by IIT Roorkee. The NMCG has also sanctioned a project titled ‘Cultural Mapping of river Ganga from Gaumukh to Ganga Sagar’ by INTACH. Under the project, the tangible and intangible heritage of river and the cities, is being documented. Uttarkashi, Tehri Garhwal, Haridwar, and Rudra Prayag are the important Himalayan cities covered under the project, the release said.

–IANS

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