ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Construction of Calamities in the Uttarakhand Himalaya

Hydropower projects on the Uttarakhand rivers have proven to aggravate the severity of floods, making them calamitous. In addition, these projects have also increased the vulnerability of the mountain villagers towards disasters, while giving these an unsettling everydayness and a spiralling effect. Projects have evaded accountability and responsibility for such disasters by opportunistically deeming these as devi aapda , or natural calamities, even as the line between natural and human-made calamities has become more blurred than ever.

The Force Multipliers of Disasters in Uttarakhand

While Uttarakhand is vulnerable to disasters, climate change is increasing these vulnerabilities. Major human interventions like hydropower projects and highways implemented without an informed or democratic decision-making process act as force multipliers during such disasters. The violations of legal and other prudent norms in their implementation further increase the damages. The absence of necessary monitoring, early warning systems and the overall disaster management system add another layer of damages during the disasters. The lack of the ability to learn lessons from disasters and lack of any accountability ensure the perpetuation of the situation.

Protected Areas, Forest Rights, and the Pandemic

The complex nature of contestation between the forest department and the local communities (that is, Van Gujjars) in the Rajaji National Park is explored, with special reference to the recent violent ­attacks by the forest department officials on Van Gujjars. An analysis of the intricate aspects related to the claims of both the Van Gujjars and the forest department underlines that the existence of legal pluralism in forest governance creates a situation of legal indeterminacy, which has been used by the forest department to overlook and violate the demands of local communities.

A Perspective on Growth and Distributional Outcomes in Uttarakhand

How far has Uttarakhand been successful in realising the pursuit of economic growth to improve the standard of living of the population, in general, and in mainstreaming the different social groups both within and without as a state in a federation? The measures of general standard of living and mainstreaming of the marginalised are quantified using the National Sample Survey cross-sectional estimates of household private consumption for Uttarakhand, juxtaposed with those for its parent state of Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and the national context of India for 2004–05 and 2011–12. Uttarakhand seems to have done well in realising the goals in the national context, but it has a long way to go in mainstreaming the marginalised social groups in both rural and urban sectors within the state.

Why Uttarakhand's Ecotourism Development is Being Mismanaged

Under the neo-liberal framework, with tourism as an industry there is a fear of the institution falling into the hands of the same vested interests and in Uttarakhand, it brings more threats to both the conservation and benefits of local communities from nature-based tourism.

There are Signs of Hope in the Fight against Saffron Violence in Uttarakhand

After the Bharatiya Janata Party’s victory in the 2017 elections in Uttarakhand, there was a spike in efforts by various groups to stoke violence. At the same time, there was also a resistance to these efforts and it now seems that the resistance may be having some degree of success.

Rethinking India’s Federalism

Addressing the problems in local body governance requires a reimagining of federalism in India and moving away from the centre–state framework. Beholden to partisan politics and the state’s unwillingness to part with powers, local bodies have not been able to fulfil the potential envisaged for them in the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution. The answer lies in locating their powers and functions in the Constitution itself.

India’s Second Dominant Party System

The conflation between nationalism and Hindutva has been the backbone of the new hegemony. That is why the Bharatiya Janata Party has been so happy with intellectuals trying to problematise the nation. That particular intellectual initiative simultaneously places the BJP in a position of immense advantage and ensures that “anti-BJP” would necessarily be equated with the anti-national! Independently, both ideas—Hindutva and development—are potent political discourses. By weaving them together with nationalism, Narendra Modi has bound them into an arsenal of his political offensive.

Problems with the Eco-Sensitive Zone

Eco-Sensitive Zones are being touted by the government as transition zones around protected forest areas, that would minimise forest depletion and man-animal conflict. This report, from the Corbett National Park, suggests how ESZs marginalise local interests and would prove detrimental to conservation in the long run.

Passages from Nature to Nationalism: Sunderlal Bahuguna and Tehri Dam Opposition in Garhwal

This paper focuses on the shifting contours of the anti-Tehri dam movement in the past three decades. It examines the changing declarations of environmentalists, especially Sunderlal Bahuguna and other leaders of the movement on the one hand, and the involvement of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in the anti-dam politics on the other. Exploring the evocations of nature, religion and nation in different phases by these two groups of actors, it argues that through a regular use of certain mythical beliefs and simplified dichotomies, there was an inadvertent collaboration between green and saffron. The Tehri dam became a means of combining sacredness with impulse, gravity of high politics with solemnity of daily worship, and nature with nationalism.

Uttaranchal: Assembly Elections: Marginal Difference

The difference in the proportion of votes polled by the Congress which won a majority of seats in the assembly and the BJP which came a poor second is small enough to prompt a more serious inquiry into the voting behaviour of the electorate in this new state.

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