Home Dehradun SDC Foundation releases monthly Uttarakhand Disaster & Accident Analysis

SDC Foundation releases monthly Uttarakhand Disaster & Accident Analysis



Dehradun, 6 May: Environmental action and advocacy group, Social Development for Communities (SDC) Foundation, has released its monthly Uttarakhand Disaster and Accident Analysis Initiative (UDAAI) report for March 2024. The report highlights fires in forests, delays in the Rishikesh-Karanprayag rail line, cutting of a thousand trees to widen roads in Jageshwar, landslides in Silyan and the risk of glacial lakes. The UDAAI reports are based on media reports in respectable publications in English and Hindi, as well as news portals.

Glacial Lake Risks

The UDAAI report mentions the formation of two expert committees to examine five dangerous glacial lakes in Uttarakhand. These lakes could pose explosive situations in the future. The National Disaster Management Authority, working under the Ministry of Home Affairs, has identified 13 such glacial lakes in Uttarakhand that are prone to Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF). These lakes have been categorised into three risk categories. Secretary (Disaster Management) Ranjit Sinha has said that the initial phase of the assessment will focus on the five “A” category lakes, which are primarily located in the Pithoragarh and Chamoli districts.

Forest Fires

The Uday report notes an increase in incidents of forest fires in Uttarakhand’s forests during the month of March. It states that forest fires have affected various regions of Uttarakhand including Gopeshwar, Uttarkashi and Kedarnath. Such fires can cause significant damage during the summer season. Incidents like these have increased due to the burning of crop residue during the dry season. The report also highlights the shortage of staff and resources to extinguish forest fires, as most officials and employees were on election duty.

The report mentions that the unpredictable geology in the Himalayas is likely to delay the Rishikesh-Karanprayag rail line by two years. The completion of tunnels for this 125 km long rail line is expected by December 2025. This rail line is considered crucial for Uttarakhand.

Priests and locals have been up in arms against the felling of 1,000 deodar trees for the widening of the road from Artola to Jageshwar temple in Almora district. People aware of the matter said axing of trees in such a large number will not only create an imbalance in the state’s ecology but will also harm religious sentiments. The ancient Jageshwar temple has been included under the Manaskhand Mandir Mala Mission. Under this mission, the temple is to be beautified and better connectivity has to be ensured. Widening of the road is part of the mission.

The report includes incidents of landslides during the construction of the Jaspur-Nirakot road in the Silyan village of Uttarkashi district. Due to the cutting of this road, landslides have occurred in Silyan village, endangering five houses. Heavy rains have caused the roof of a cattle shed to collapse. Village resident Jitendra Gusain has lodged a complaint with the PWD officials. The department has assured it would take necessary steps after visiting the village.

Anoop Nautiyal emphasised the urgent need to strengthen Uttarakhand’s disaster management system and climate action frameworks. He expressed the hope that the monthly documentation of the Uttarakhand UDAAI monthly reports could be helpful for the state’s policymakers and other stakeholders.