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HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

Set up a dedicated body to protect the Himalayas: Murli Manohar Joshi

Press Trust of India  New Delhi , June 18, 2014
First Published: 14:52 IST(18/6/2014) | Last Updated: 15:05 IST(18/6/2014)

Pressing for immediate steps to protect Himalayas especially after the Uttarakhand flashfloods, BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi on Tuesday  mooted setting up a dedicated, central body which would oversee development and ecological conservation works in the mountains.

“The Himalayas are not a different entity for Uttarakhand, J&K, Darjeeling and Nepal. It is one, it is one system. Therefore there should be proper arrangements for its security and we had also mentioned in our manifesto that the responsibility to safeguard the Himalayas lies with the entire country,” said Joshi.

“We need to create a system for Himalayas’ security and there should be funds allocated every year by the Parliament for this. We should create a dedicated unit like Himalaya Development Authority or anything you name it, but a central body should be constituted which can manage Himalayas,” he added.

A body which can identify what kind of technology can be used in Himalayas, what kind of roads and houses can be built and what kind of industrial units can be established, said Joshi who was here at a function organised by Akhil Bhartiya Uttarakhand Trasadi Peedit Manch for paying tributes to the victims of the Uttarakhand flash floods last year.

“If Himalayas are saved, only then the country will be saved,” added Joshi. “Remembering the plight of Uttarakhand tragedy victims, senior RSS leader Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi, said, “be it a man-made disaster or a natural disaster, the damage can’t be forgotten ever”.

Scientists should study the causes of the Uttarakhand tragedy, so a clear plan of action can be formulated for avoiding such tragedies in future, he said.

“The relief initiatives pertaining to the Uttarakhand tragedy should not be politicised. However, political intervention is necessary too and the government should also be sensitive towards the feelings of the victims.”

“Policy makers should be more active. There are many loopholes in our system. We have disaster management committees in place but there should be an active platform where suggestions are made, deliberated upon and accepted,” he said.

Suggesting that India should be taking cue from Japan regarding its approach towards disaster management, Bhaiyaji said, “Japan has dealt with so many natural disasters and they rise from crisis again and again. Their administration is active, so is their governance. We need to follow a similar approach to deal with such tragedies in future.” BJP leader and Buxar MP Ashwini Kumar Chaubey, who was also stranded with his family when the disaster hit Uttarakhand last year, accused the previous UPA government for of having a “laid back attitude” towards the victims.

“Victims are still missing, there is no track of them. Death certificates have not been issued to all the deceased. Compensation hasn’t reached all the victims. Whom did the that government try to cheat?,” he said.

“We had staged a protest at Jantar Mantar last August against the laid back attitude of the government towards the victims. A Cabinet committee was formed to look into the disaster management and the relief work, but even after four months it had not met.”

“After we tried to pressurise them, finally a meeting was conducted but the all the decisions made during the meeting haven’t been implemented till date,” he added.
Chaubey also proposed the formation of a national committee to differentiate between “leisure tourism” and “pilgrimage tourism.“A separate ministry should also be formed and pilgrimage should not be under the purview of Ministry of tourism.”

Similarly, special budget should be allocated. Medical insurance should be made compulsory for pilgrimage tourists,” said Chaubey.


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