With each passing day, parties in poll-bound states are keenly eying on political issues against one another and illegal construction along the Ganga river is now the BJP’s biggest weapon against Harish Rawat’s government in Uttarakhand. Ahead of the assembly polls in the state, preventing the illegal constructions is now the toughest task for the Congress-led state government.
The BJP is all set to highlight it as a major issue in its election campaign. The party claims that the chief minister appears to be the least bothered about the plight of Ganga as he has not taken steps to rein in illegal quarrying. A party leader from the state also mentioned that the state government was not following the order of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) that had prohibited quarrying on the Ganga riverbed and directed stone crushers to settle at a distance of at least 5 km from the Ganga.
However, here also the political blame-game continues as CM Harish Rawat claimed earlier that quarrying had been going on since the tenure of the previous BJP government led by Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank. Even, recently a Mumbai-based real estate company’s name has surfaced, which is headed by a BJP Youth leader.
Apart from the politicians, even the activists also claim that in addition to natural phenomenon, various human activities like- unscientific development and land use pattern, increasing pressure of tourism, waste disposal, development of hydropower projects, illegal construction of roads, and buildings, riverbed mining have direct or indirect significant impact on bringing natural hazards. Even, with heavy damage to the on-going Hydro Electric Power Projects and existing power distribution system, the disaster has taken a heavy toll in the energy sector as well.
After the 2013 floods, the state has been marked as the most vulnerable nature of global tourism and is one of the major concerns for contingency management. The locals claim that in the absence of an authority, there is no check and control on illegal activities. Residential buildings have been illegally converted into commercial complexes in connivance with builders. Several houses adjacent to newly constructed complexes have developed cracks.