Uttarakhand has faced many disasters over the past decade, but it hasn’t learned from its mistakes. The state lacks disaster preparedness, has unorganized urban development, and doesn’t follow environmental regulations. This neglect puts residents’ lives at risk. In 2013, floods killed 6,054 people. Despite this tragedy, Uttarakhand still hasn’t created a strong disaster preparedness plan.
Himanshu Thakkar, who coordinates the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers, and People, said that Uttarakhand needs more Doppler radars to predict severe weather conditions. Currently, there’s only one radar system. Doppler radars can gauge the intensity of precipitation in the air, which helps prevent natural disasters. The Chamoli disaster in 2021 and the land subsidence in Joshimath show how important it is to have a strong prediction mechanism in place.
After the floods in 2013, the Ministry of Environment and Forests created an expert body to study environmental degradation and the impact of hydro power projects. The chairman of the board, Dr. Ravi Chopra, said that Uttarakhand is still as vulnerable as it was a decade ago. Climate patterns are changing, and heavy rainfall poses a significant risk to the region. The expert board recommended that hydropower projects should stay away from areas above the Main Central Thrust to protect the region’s stability. Unfortunately, most recommendations have been ignored, and Uttarakhand still faces immense challenges due to natural and man-made disasters.