Connect with us

Environment

Save Trees: HPSEB to slay 750 trees in Shimla for a 33 KW Substation

Published

on

The project would devoid the villagers from the age old natural water resource and would be an ecological disaster in Shimla

750 trees, which are to be taken down, have already been marked

The state government has definitely no concern for the ecology of the state except printing ‘Save Trees’ on hoardings and papers. The plan approved to establish a new HPSEB substation in the Bhadai village near Sankat Mochan temple requires clearing of 750 trees, which have been already marked by the forest department.

The local residents are in a great distress as the project would result in a great damage to their local resources, especially, a natural water resource that lies just 50 feet below the suggested site, that serves the water needs of a major population of the Panchayat throughout the year. The Yovak Mandal of Bhadhai wrote an application to the Assistant Engineer of Jatog subdivision of HPSEEB requesting him to change the location of the project considering the following issues:

• The number of trees to be axed is very huge and every resident of the village and the nearby population is against this massacre. The forest holds a great emotional value for the villagers as they have been protecting it from fires and helped it expand by organized tree plantation activities from time to time.

• An age old natural resource of water, 50 feet below the site of the construction of the substation, provides pure drinking water to the villagers and they depend on the resource throughout the year. The cutting of trees is likely to damage the natural resource, which is against the policies created to conserve the water resources.
• The forest is the major feeding ground for the domestic animals. Hence, the construction of the substation would devoid the villagers from the local resources.

• Lastly, the villagers are worried about the over exploitation of the natural resources and deforestation, which are the results of the unethical steps taken on the name of development of Shimla by the state government.

The residents also approached Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, MLA Sohan Lal, Minster of Forest Jyanti Natraajan, and Forest Department. However, nothing could get an ear from anyone for their grievances. Here is the scanned copy of the letter that contains the issues, which the local resident have verified by putting their signatures on it.

It’s not about this specific plan, for which state government has ignored the ecological loss. The whole world and many Indian states are putting efforts to preserve the environment and plantation of trees, but Himachal Pradhesh government appears to be promoting deforestation without provoking any criticism from the opposition. Shimla has witnessed the massacre in Kanlog Shimla, where hundreds of Deodar trees have already been axed and more are likely to meet the same fate so that 24 private luxury apartments could be built. In another case, the state government laid the foundation stone of the new complex of Irrigation and Public Health Headquarters on Shimla bypass road, which requires clearing of approximately 50-60 trees.

It would be a ridiculous decision to choose such a location for any construction that demands sacrifice of 750 trees, unless there is a strong reason behind it. Why the forest areas with a higher tree density are being chosen for the construction of the private and the government infrastructure? Where are the laws protecting the trees and ecology? Is government saving the clear areas for the private firms or the planners aren’t actually acquainted with the phenomenon of climate change due to deforestation? The government is conserving the forest and the beauty of Himachal just in the papers. Otherwise, no state would agree to chop down such a huge number of trees.

Other than forwarding the complaint to the concerned government office, we request HW Community members and readers to support the local residents through their reactions against such an unwise government action. Your contribution helps in creating awareness among other members of our society and to play your part of the duty, as any responsible citizen of the state would do.

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 9 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture the world around him in his DSLR lens.

Environment

HIMCOSTE ENVIS HUB Training on “Securing High Range Himalayan Ecosystems” Begins Today

Published

on

HIMCOSTE ENVIS HUB Training

Shimla- HP ENVIS HUB at Himachal Pradesh Council for Science, Technology and Environment (HIMCOSTE), Shimla, today kicked off its one-month training program on Para-taxonomy under the GoI-UNDP-GEF Project “Securing Livelihoods, Conservation, Sustainable use and Restoration of high range Himalayan Ecosystems” (SECURE Himalaya).

This program is being conducted in collaboration with HP Forest Department and State Biodiversity Board for Lahaul, Pangi and Kinnaur landscapes of the State. Under this program, selected youth would be trained for documentation of local biodiversity in the form of People’s Biodiversity Registers (PBRs).

The Chief Guest of the inaugural function was Dr Savita, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife). Sh. Anil Thakur, CCF (Wildlife) and Dr S.P. Bhardwaj, Retd Associate Director, Regional Fruit Research Station, UHF, Nauni were special guests on the occasion.

Speaking on the inaugural function today, Dr Savita, PCCF (Wildlife) said that snow leopard is the iconic animal of high Himalayas. A good number of these apex predators denote a healthy ecosystem. To ensure the survival of these beautiful animals, sustainable use of forest resources and generation of alternative livelihood opportunities is pertinent.

The initial step to conserving local biodiversity is its documentation as Peoples Biodiversity Registers (PBRs). She lauded the efforts of ENVIS Hub in implementation of Green Skill Development Program (GSDP) last year and now training students in SECURE Project.

Dr Aparna Sharma, Coordinator, HP ENVIS Hub, informed that under this course, selected students would be imparted theoretical and practical knowledge by eminent experts in the fields of botany, zoology, forestry, wildlife, importance and conservation of Biodiversity, waste management, remote sensing & GIS. In association with State Biodiversity Board, field visits would be carried out to prominent Universities, Research Institutions and conservation areas of Himachal Pradesh for exposure to local flora, fauna and its documentation in PBRs.

A total of nine students have been selected for the training program: six from Pangi, two from Lahaul and one from Shimla. The best of trained youth would be involved in making PBRs in selected landscapes by the HP State Biodiversity Board.

Continue Reading

Environment

Video: CM Jairam Urges People to Celebrate Green Diwali After Setting Cracker Laden Effigies on Fire

Published

on

CM Jairam burns effigy laden with crackers

Shimla-Chief Minister Jairam Thakur on the occasion of Dussehra set ablaze the effigy of Ravana, Meghnad, and Kumbhkarana on fire at Jakhu Temple in Shimla. Afterwards, while talking to media persons, the CM talked about the harmful effect of fire-crackers on the environment and urged the people of the state to refrain from using fire-crackers while celebrating Dussehra and Diwali.

He said considering the grieve problem of pollution that the world is currently facing, it’s the need of the hour to take concrete steps towards environmental protection. He said every individual should be encouraged to celebrate green Diwali.

However, it appeared that his government was not practising what it was preaching. The effigies that the CM set ablaze were filled with fire-crackers. Moreover, a round of fireworks was held right before ‘Ravana Dahan’.

There was a suitable opportunity for the CM and the organizers to send out an environment-friendly message on this Dussehra by refraining from using fire-crackers in effigies, which they missed.

On this occasion, the Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj, Deputy Commissioner Amit Kashyap, Narinder Bragta, chairman, HIMFED, Ganesh Dutt, Deputy Mayor Rakesh Sharma, and SP Omapati Jamwal were also present. All of them appeared to be clueless about sending a “Green” message.

Further, the Chief Minister talked about the victory of good over evil and taking the path of righteousness.

Dussehra festival signifies the victory of good over evil, truth over false and dharma over adharma. The Dussehra festival inspires us to follow the path of dharma (righteousness) and truth as in the end truth always wins,

he said.

He urged the people to work collectively to kill the demon of drug abuse from society. He laid the foundation stone of Nav Grah Mandir to be constructed at a cost of Rs. 15 lakh and also inaugurated a Museum at Jakhu Temple Complex.

Effigies were burnt at various places in Shimla including Summerhill, Chakkar, Kasumpti, Boileauganj, Vikasnagar etc. All the effigies were filled up with fire-crackers, which suggest that the government’s movement to discourage using fire-crackers is not yielding any results.

Similarly, cracker laden effigies were burnt in other districts of the state too.

Apparently, we need to devise innovative ways to make the celebrations of Dusshera and Diwali green. For example, a green celebration of Dusshera was witnessed in Delhi where a Ravana made of balloons was taken down without burning.

Continue Reading

Environment

Ignoring Environmental Concerns, HP Govt Signs 10 More MoUs for Hydro Projects Worth Rs. 25,772 Crores

Published

on

HP Govt Signs hydro-power mous at power conclave

Shimla- Though environmental groups and activists have been asserting that construction of more hydropower projects in Himachal Pradesh is harmful to the fragile ecology, the State Government continues to sign more MoUs for more projects. The activist groups like Himdhara Collective have been highlighting the plight of the rural population and ecology of the state hit by the construction of hydropower projects.

The group has also challenged the claim that hydro-power is an eco-friendly source of power. The activists also allege that to favour the private investors, the government is keeping the people in dark through its erroneous environmental assessment reports.

In a Power Conclave organised by the Department of MPP and Power, Himachal Pradesh Government today signed 10 MoUs for hydro projects with an investment of Rs. 25,772 crore with a capacity of 2927 MW. The government said these projects have the potential to provide employment to 13,250 persons with NTPC, SJVNL and NHPC for harnessing identified hydro projects in the State.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur claimed that the State Government has signed 570 MoUs worth about Rs. 75,700 crores.

Chief Minister said that the State has a potential of more than 23,500 MW harnessable hydro energy.

Jai Ram Thakur launched HIMURJA’s online portal Unified Single Window Clearance Portal for processing of Rooftop Solar PV (USRTPV), which will enable the consumers to apply for rooftop solar system online and relevant stakeholders would be able to process applications online through this portal.

Mini Ratna from the State, SJVNL signed MoUs for 7 Hydro Electric Projects (HEP) with a total capacity of 1958 MW; these are Luhri Stage – I, Luhri Stage – II, Dhaulasidh, Jangi Thopan Powari, Purthi, Bardang. MoUs were also signed with NTPC for projects with a total capacity of 520 MW for construction of Miyar HEP and Seli HEP. Apart from it, MoU was signed with NHPC for Dugar HEP project which has a capacity of 449 MW.

Apart from Hydro Power Projects, the department of MPP & Power has also entered MoUs worth Rs 1,040 crore with three private entities in Solar Power Sector which shall generate employment to about 1,500 persons.

Principal Secretary Power Prabodh Saxena informed that during the next two years, 645 MW capacity would be added and two HEP projects of Kutehr and Luhri Stage-I would commence construction.

It’s pertinent to mention that, June 2019, Himdhara Environment Research and Action Collective had released their report titled “The Hidden Cost of Hydropower” to highlight the risks associated with hydropower construction, especially in Himalayan regions like Himachal Pradesh. Over the last few years, increasing evidence has emerged that hydropower production may not be so ‘clean and green’ after all. As per Himdhara, this document compiled primary and secondary pieces of evidence of the impacts triggered by underground construction for the run of the river (ROR) hydropower projects highlighting the issues of environmental hazards and risks involved.

Continue Reading

Trending