Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Strategic Consultation on Himalayan Development Framework

Himalaya Niti Abhiyan, SADED and Environics Trust are organising a two-day discussion on Strategic Consultation on Himalayan development framework. This intense discussions have become urgent and important in the wake of the recent Parliamentary debate and intent of the Government and the dramatic events taking place all across the Himalayas.
Since all the participants have been veterans in their own effort and our common concerns are well established, this strategic discussion is critical to developing the basis for design, policy formation and oversight into the nature and processes of “development”. We also need to strategise on the ways and mechanisms to respond to the rapid dilution in environmental regulations which has taken long struggles to be incorporated through legislations.
In the light of these situations we should be engaging and inviting various people's movements, individuals and  organizations who are involved with the development of Himalayas and sustenance of the communities. As the first meeting if we canfinalise a framework and evolve a future strategy of action.

Himalaya Niti Abhiyan
Village Khundan, PO Banjar, Kullu, HP-175123
Email:,, Phone :9418277220

Comments on Lok Sabha Debate on Himalayan Issue
Dr. Ramesh Pokhrial Nishank MP from Haridwar moved a private member resolution regarding the creation of new ministry for the development of Himalayan states on dated
11 July 2014 in Lok Sabha and was discussed on 11th and 18th July 2014. In favour of
the move Seventeen MPs participated in the debate and more than 40 MPs
Supported the resolution.

Resolution Moved by Dr. Ramesh Pokhrial Nishank MP.

"Having regard to the strategic geographical condition as well as
location of the Himalayan States, which causes landslides, cloudburst,
earthquakes, hailstorms and other natural calamities every year
resulting in huge loss of lives and property and taking into account
the socio-economic backwardness of these States, particularly the
State of Uttarakhand, this House urges upon the Government to form an
independent Union Ministry for Himalayan States, which shall be
responsible for the overall and speedy development of these States and
in particular perform the following functions--
(i) to identify backward areas of Himalayan States and ensure their
overall development and conservation;
(ii) to provide special financial package for development of backward
areas particularly, border areas;
(iii) to take effective measures to check cross border infiltration,
particularly in the State of Uttarakhand; and
(iv) to recommend to the Union Ministries concerned for laying of new
roads and other infrastructural development projects and to strengthen
Railway lines, establishment of hydro power projects, construction of
economy by setting up of industries based on natural resources
available in the Himalayan States to prevent migration."

Dr. Ramesh Pokhrial Nishank (Haridwar)
Seventeen members expressed their view on the subject and justified need for this ministry. Minister has accepted the fact and I hope in near future that this ministry will come in to existence. With this word I withdraw my resolution.

Himalaya Niti Abhiyan Commented on Lok Sabha debate on creation of new Ministry for the development of Himalayan States in same week as follow:
1.       Himalaya Niti Abhiyan thanks Dr, Nishank and  all parliamentarians who participated in the debate but four points raised for debate by him are not reflecting the actual sustainability issue, aspirations and need of the Himalayan region and people. People’s movements in Himalaya had proposed mountain specific development model and raised the demand for community managed conservation and had been fighting for control over commons since British period but this was not focussed in the resolution.
2.       Focus of the debate reflected just to stressing more funds/finances form centre for development and construction of new railways, roads, airways, Hydro Projects, industries and maximum extraction and exploiting of Himalayan natural resources.
3.        Conservation, disaster and ecological sustainability concerns were raised by some of the PMs but livelihood issue was not much seriously addressed whereas issue of employment and migration was hinted. 
4.       Some of MPs tried to mystify the issue by raising sanctity of Himalaya under a particular religious belief. But the reality of Himalayan habitant is that; it is an abode of many ethnic and religious communities.  
5.       Many of MPs stressed on Development of better infrastructure for Tourism and enhancing transportation facilities for extraction of minerals and development of hydro projects.
6.       Sprite of  SZ Kasim report was not reflected but was just referred to justify the formation of ministry which may benefit some of the aspirants for this lucrative birth.
7.       Reply of minister was incomplete and reflecting conventional stand of GoI.
8.       We think this was incomplete reply, not rational even and investment focused,
reflecting conventional development aspiration which will harm Himalaya and its people in future.  This approach will further dilute the environmental concerns and will enhance disaster, deforestation, flash flood, cloud burst, land slid, erosion, displacement, lose of livelihood and migration. Mega infrastructure projects, Dams, mining, construction of mega Hydro projects and tunnelling will enhance gravity of disasters. Seismological activities may be enhanced and earth quack may cause huge disaster in future. Impact of disaster coming from Himalayan region will affect downstream communities severely.
HNA opinion on this debate
1.     Any such Resolution, shall address Himalayan development framework based on Himalayan geo-physical specificity, environmental and livelihoods issues in the light of community conservation which shall generate sustainable livelihoods by considering the stresses and niche of the region.
2.      Resolution or bill for Himalayan development framework on these above mentioned  bases shall be moved by the government instead of private bill/resolution after detail study, public consultation, addressing various sectors of Himalayan specificity and all local socio-political groups and communities.
3.      After addressing the above concerns, the issue of institutional framework or implementation mechanism such as authority or ministry may be discussed later on.

Guman Singh

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