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

UttarakhandSubscribe to Uttarakhand

In Search of a Strong Opposition

Dreamscapes that provide an alternative to right-wing politics cannot be imagined but need to be realised.

Repudiating Chipko Village’s Identity and Existence

Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan-led division bench of the High Court of Uttarakhand in its judgment of 14 July 2021 dismissed the petition of villagers of Reini, known for the Chipko movement, expressing doubts about their identity and integrity. Unmindful of the fact that the distressed petitioners had approached the court seeking protection of their lives and ecology, the court penalised them for the “abuse of PIL jurisdiction.” The judiciary and government have continued to ignore the repeated attempts of the people to seek relief and frequent warn-offs in the form of disasters in this region.

Mahatma of the Mountains

Sundarlal Bahuguna, who applied Gandhi’s non-violent tools to fight environmental injustice, holds a special place in independent India’s environmental history.

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.

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