More disasters in store if steps not taken: Bahuguna



New Delhi: Citing human interference in nature as being responsible for the nature's fury in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, noted environmentalist Sunder Lal Bahuguna today warned of more such disasters if people did not wake up now.

"I have been emphasizing for years to stop this reckless cutting of forests in hilly areas. If you keep disturbing the nature, disasters like this will continue to happen," he told over the phone.

Bahuguna said walnut trees should be planted in the mountains instead of pine trees. "Walnut trees have wider leaves and are capable of absorbing water while pine trees, which the British had planted, cannot do that and thus land has become vulnerable to erosion and heavy rain can lead to floods and landslides. We should replace them once things are settled in the state," said the veteran.

Dr Anil Joshi, founder president of the Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organisation (Hesco) suggested locals be involved in the process of disaster management.

Disaster management can never be effective if strategies are made in Delhi or at any other place, sitting in a room. Government should involve locals and victims while making plans. Victims of such tragedies in the past can give more practical suggestions," He said.

PTI