Guardians of the Peaks

Preserving the Himalayas Amidst Mounting Challenges

The towering Himalayas, nature’s majestic masterpiece, are facing an unprecedented ordeal that demands immediate attention. The ecological calamities unfurling across Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have cast a spotlight on the fragility of this revered region. As landslides scar Shimla and land subsidence threatens Joshimath, the time has come to confront the limits of the Himalayan expanse that spans 13 states and union territories.

In the face of this mounting crisis, the call of duty beckons us to shield these mountains from the clutches of rapacious exploitation. Amidst this urgency, the Supreme Court’s proposal to form an expert committee for a “complete and comprehensive” assessment of the region’s carrying capacity holds paramount significance.

This capacity, a measure of an ecosystem’s resilience, delineates the maximum population size it can sustain without degradation. An ongoing petition before the court asserts that the Himalayan realm reels under the weight of “unsustainable and hydrologically disastrous” constructions—ranging from hotels and homestays to hydel projects. These intrusions have taken an insidious toll on drainage systems and waste management. Turning back the clock, it was back in February 2014 when the Union Cabinet endorsed the action plan of the National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE). This initiative, a vital component of the National Action Plan on Climate Change, was envisioned to assess the Himalayas’ vulnerability to climate shifts and draft policies for its ecological preservation. However, the decade that followed witnessed the health of the world’s youngest mountain range deteriorate with alarming swiftness.

The time is ripe for an exigent reassessment of the NMSHE’s execution, pinpointing the crevices in its implementation. The escalating vulnerability of the Himalayan ecosystem reverberates across key sectors: tourism, agriculture, environment, and forests. With abnormal weather events rapidly becoming the new normal, the mandate to save the Himalayas from predatory pillaging, cloaked under the guise of developmental and tourist ventures, is unequivocal. The challenge that looms large is how to regulate the influx of tourists without overburdening the ecosystem or jeopardizing livelihoods. Striking the equilibrium between preservation and progress necessitates a delicate calibration.

The pivotal question resounds—how much is too much? Policymakers and stakeholders must grapple with this imperative query before the curtain falls on the Himalayan stage. The time for action is now. The Himalayas, guardians of time, culture, and nature’s grandeur, demand our unwavering vigilance. Every landslide, every inch of receding land beckons us to rise to the occasion. The mountains that have stood sentinel over millennia now call upon us to stand as sentinels for them. It’s a role that history and posterity expect us to fulfill—a role that beckons us to embark on a mission to preserve the Himalayan realm for generations yet to come.


Central Chronicle is daily English Newspaper of Chhattisgarh. Central Chronicle has own website it is first news website in Chhattisgarh.

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