Policy | VOL. 16, ISSUE 95, March-April 2016

The Indian Himalayan Region: Role of NMSHE

The Himalayas have been frequently in the news in recent years, due to several major catastrophes. Be it the cloudburst in Leh (2010) or the tragic flash floods of Kedarnath in the Garhwal Himalayas (2013) or the floods in Srinagar (2015). The trail of cataclysmic incidents does not end here. The earthquake in Nepal (2015) and subsequent aftershocks led to a huge loss of lives and infrastructure. The Himalayas are one of the youngest mountains in the world. Unlike other mountains, they are still in their formative age. Several geological processes are continuously in motion beneath this seemingly innocuous terrain. We can certainly never control these processes. But there is a lot we can do to minimise the adverse impact of natural hazards. The sustainable use of natural resources and effective planning in tune with the terrain and geo-location are among the necessities that can help us. Sustainable Development of the Himalayan Region For sustainable development of the Himalayan region, it is important to think of the Himalayas in their totality. This grand mountain chain covers an area of nearly 7,50,000 square km, spanning over 3000 km in length, 250-300 km in width, rising from less than 300 m to more than 8000 m above sea level (GoI, 2006). The Himalayas stretch from northern Pakistan on the west to the north-eastern regions of India, besides...

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