Environmental planning must for disaster risk reduction and sustainable development in the hills

Floods in Himachal Pradesh point to the need of environmental planning to identify high-risk areas and avoid development there

There is growing scientific evidence of erratic rainfall events in India due to global warming and climate change. The current flood situation in Himachal Pradesh, Kerala floods in 2018, Chennai floods in 2015, and Kedarnath floods in 2013 were all caused due to extreme rainfall events that previously occurred at a probability of once in a hundred years but are more frequent now. 

Flash floods in Himachal Pradesh show buildings damaged from flood waters along rivers and landslides. While extreme rainfall events cannot be controlled or avoided, one way to reduce the disaster risk is by promoting development in low-risk areas and protecting certain areas for environmental sustainability.

Hedonic pricing research has shown that hoteliers and real estate developers tend to develop in areas like hill tops and along rivers and lakes due to aesthetic views they offer and the high economic returns. But they do so without understanding the risks or the violations of environmental legislations.

Dhanapal G

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