Have our souls taken wing?

TravTalk - India - - Industry Talk -

T he vi­sion of the National Disas­ter Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity (NDMA) headed by the Prime Min­is­ter of In­dia is to build a safer and disas­ter re­silient In­dia by de­vel­op­ing a holis­tic, pro-ac­tive, multi-disas­ter and tech­nol­ogy-driven strat­egy for disas­ter man­age­ment through col­lec­tive ef­forts of all govern­ment agen­cies and non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions. Then, why this lack of sen­si­tiv­ity from the govern­ment on the Ut­tarak­hand disas­ter? The rhetoric for elec­tions how­ever con­tin­ues with­out any tan­gi­ble reaction for peo­ple who have lost their loved ones or suf­fered, or for the lo­cal peo­ple who will face ab­so­lute dev­as­ta­tion.

’s sec­ond is­sue of April car­ried an Edi­to­rial on… In In­dia, in the name of sus­tain­able tourism we are blindly go­ing into rapid growth mode-build­ing ho­tels all along river banks, forests, sea shores, deserts… bring­ing about a wide­spread com­mer­cial adop­tion of ‘sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment’. We must have the fore­sight to boost our tourism po­ten­tial but in a gen­uinely sus­tain­able man­ner, pro­tect­ing our nat­u­ral and cul­tural as­sets...

With fail­ing agri­cul­ture in Ut­tarak­hand due to soil ero­sion and faulty ir­ri­ga­tion and an aver­age land hold­ing of frag­mented 1-2 ha, peo­ple are turn­ing to tourism. The state has a to­tal pop­u­la­tion of 1 crore but 2.5 crore tourists visit the state, and that too mostly in the sum­mer months. To ac­com­mo­date th­ese tourists and ser­vice them, ho­tels, restau­rants, shops and even malls are be­ing built on crum­bling road­sides and riverbeds while au­thor­i­ties turn a blind eye.

Are we, as an in­dus­try, fi­nally go­ing to put a disas­ter man­age­ment plan in place, which is owned by a team that vis­its and up­grades it reg­u­larly? We have had the tsunami catas­tro­phe in the South of In­dia (what did we learn from it?), and now this tragedy in the North. Do­mes­tic and Pil­grim­age Tourism (in the North) will be hit hard for 2-3 years. Nat­u­ral calami­ties oc­cur every­where… Let us be pre­pared - not just for our­selves but also to give back to the so­ci­ety we earn our liv­ing from!

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