Monday, December 24, 2007

“If we discard rapid industrialization in Uttarakhand, then what else should we adopt?”

Are we folling the wrong Path! -- BY ANIL BISHT

From the time Uttarakhand came into existence, the people of the state have seen many changes. Even if these changes are more visual in the urban areas, still one thing that reached even to the remotest corner of the state is HOPE. A hope that the formation of the state will usher a new era in every desired activity. The light of prosperity will touch every household and elevate the standard of living of every resident of the state. There were strong reasons to believe the same. The foremost among these were the unique flora and fauna, unique climate, and modest stock of untapped natural resources.But after seven years and three governments, the state is struggling to achieve what it aspired to achieve at its birth. In other words the state is still faring below its potential. That brings us--the people and the Government of the state, to ask ourselves, why?Uttarakhand is a state where education is still concentrated in a few major cities. The rest of the regions still have to recognize the utility of education. Those who are physically fit, join the armed forces. Although the no. of people getting into forces has reduced significantly in the last two decades, it is still the most sort after profession for the hill youth. So people in the state still consider education as a mere step to get into the forces.In addition to that the hard terrain and inclement weather also makes the education a real tough task. From the early age children have to help their elders in the agricultural activity and household chores, making it difficult for them to concentrate on their studies, As a result those who can’t make it to the army, find themselves unfit for majority of the modern day jobs.Adding to this is the nature of land holdings. The land holdings in the state are very small except for a few in the plain regions. As a result, with each passing day, it is becoming increasingly difficult for a family to survive on the piece of land they hold.So it is quite natural for us to believe that whenever any new policy is made by the government, it has taken the weak education of the youth and small land holdings factors into consideration. But from the way successive governments have functioned, it seems these factors though central are never given adequate attention.The model the three governments up to now are following is that of rapid industrialization. For them more industries mean more jobs and greater well being. To fulfill this objective, SEZs have been established at many places and new industrial licenses are being given every day. It is true that jobs are created when industries or to be more precise manufacturing units are set up, but what can be done if the education required for these jobs is not present. Apart from that what to do of the sharks of the job market—the so called man power consultants who force those who manage to get the job to work for below subsistence wages.We-the people and the Government of the state, should realise that inviting industrialists to the state will never solve our problems. First the land resource in the state is scarce and can be put into better use; and second whoever comes to the state to set up industries is not coming to elevate the living standard of the people but because he or she is getting land relatively cheaper than other states. That brings us to another question “If we discard rapid industrialization, then what else should we adopt?”This question though simple needs serious thinking. So lets think something worth and share…




The forests in Uttarakhand have been valued at $2.4 billion or Rs.107 billion per year in terms of services they provide to the people.

Study: value of forests should be recognised and compensated

Special Correspondent The Hindu...

Valuation, a balanced approach for conservation of ecosystems
Forests’ contribution reflected in SDP is only 3.50 per cent

NEW DELHI: The forests in Uttarakhand have been valued at $2.4 billion or Rs.107 billion per year in terms of services they provide to the people. This needs to be recognised and compensated, says a new report.
The average value of $1,150 per hectare per year for the services provided needs to be reflected in our economic planning and compensated for, according to the study ‘Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Forest Governance, in Uttarakhand, as a scoping study,’ brought out by LEAD India and its partner organisation, Central Himalayan Environmental Association (Uttarakhand). The report evaluates and quantifies the services rendered by the Himalayan ecosystem in the State, and is the first comprehensive collation of scientific information around various Ecosystem Services using mainly secondary sources.
Ecosystem Services is defined as a wide range of conditions and processes through which natural ecosystems, and the species that make them up, sustain and fulfil human life. As many as 32 such services, including carbon sequestration, climate management, hydrological regulation, timber, soil conservation, pollination and other non-timber forest produces have been identified so far.
The report described valuation as a balanced approach for conservation of ecosystems that calls to conserve whatever remains and restore it in areas where it is possible, rather than spending time and resources on selecting biodiversity rich areas.
Despite making considerable contribution in Uttarakhand’s economic and ecological systems, forests do not get proper recognition for their contribution in the State Domestic Product (SDP) in the absence of proper valuation and lack of information to decision-makers.
Its contribution reflected in the SDP is only 3.50 per cent (Rs.5,109.6 million) as only few goods and services from these forests are marketed and thus accounted in the current calculus, the report suggests.
Uttarakhand is rich in endemic biodiversity and the forests provide ecosystem services of high magnitude to the Indo-Gangetic Plain in terms of regulated water supply and nutrients rich soil through its river connections, thereby sustaining the livelihoods of about 500 million people inhabiting the area. Livelihoods for more than 5 million mountain-dwellers are also mainly forest-based.
The study further says that whatever success the people in mountains have achieved in conserving their forests, they have been able to do so without any access to modern energy sources.
From equity point of view alone, the poor people in Uttarakhand should be given support to have alternatives to biomass fuel.



The Pauri Garhwal Group!

The Pauri Garhwal Group!