Thursday, July 29, 2010

Landslides Block Gangotri Highway


Dehra Dun: Landslides triggered by heavy rains blocked the Rishikesh-Gangotri national highway in Uttarkashi today, leaving hundreds of pilgrims stranded on both sides.

The landslides struck the NH-108 at Nalupani area, officials said in Dehradun.

The personnel of the state police and Border Road Organisation have been pressed into service to clear the debris and open the road for vehicular traffic, they said.

Uttarkashi has been receiving heavy rains for the past few days. A devotee was washed away in the swollen Bhagirathi river on the way to Gaumukh from Gangotri when a temporary bridge collapsed due to heavy rains three days ago.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Reduce tourist vehicles to Corbett National Park


India best tiger reserve Corbett National Park has caused another face-off between Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh and Uttaranchal Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal. For better conservation of tigers, Jairam Ramesh wants Pokhriyal to reduce the inflow of tourist vehicles into the Corbett National Park. More than two lakh tourists visited the National Park in the past year with a daily average of 400 through four tourist gates.

Corbett National Park The high inflow of tourists, according to Ramesh, has caused higher air and noise pollution inside the park, a probable cause for stress to tigers. The noise created by vehicular movement is said to be a reason for poor breeding of tigers.

“It had happened in Sariska,” said a senior scientist with Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India, giving high tourist inflow as a possible reason for poor breeding of tigers in Sariska before they vanished in 2004.

Ramesh had also sounded a similar caution for Corbett, while asking the Chief Minister to reduce the number of vehicles allowed inside the park. Data with National Tiger Conservation Authority indicates that tourist influx inside the park has increased because of its close proximity with Delhi.

Uttaranchal government, however, contended that the tourists being allowed inside the parks were within the permissible limits and no fresh restrictions can be imposed. “Livelihood of a large number of locals is dependent on tourists... We cannot impose unrealistic restrictions just because the Centre wants it,” said Anil Baluni, deputy advisor with the state environment advisory committee.

The environment minister had earlier asked the state government to restrict construction of resorts in and around Corbett. Ramesh has opposed construction of hydel projects in the upper reaches of Ganga river basin and wants to declare the 130-km stretch of Bhagirathi river in the state as ecologically sensitive. Ministry panels have also opposed hydel projects on Gori Ganga and Mandakini rivers in the state.