New Delhi, June 24: While one Bahuguna is battling all criticism to ensure smooth rescue operations in Uttarakhand, another Bahuguna explained the reason behind the floods turning deadly and put the other Bahuguna's post in peril.
While the first Bahuguna is Uttarkhand's chief minister, Vijay, the second is Sunderlal Bahuguna, the veteran leader of the famous Chipko Movement which had stirred the Garhwal region in the 1970s with villagers hugging trees to stop them from being felled.
Speaking to India Today Online over the telephone, the 86-year-old Gandhian activist said the nature is being tampered with in the name of development. The man, who is still leading resistance against environmental destruction in the Himalayan state, said random felling of trees has made the mountains fragile and they can not retain the rainwater anymore.
Bahuguna felt ropeways are more friendly mode of transportation in the hills for they do not damage hills. He slammed the process of blasting mountains for laying roads from the plains to the peaks.
Bahuguna also prescribed planting of walnut trees on the hills instead of pines for the former absorbs more rain water and control water flow, unlike the latter. He also took a dig at the Britishers for planting pines that harmed the ecology in the mountains by facilitating soil erosion.
He also said the real harm to the mountains had started during the colonial period when the Britishers randomly cut trees for timber trade. He said the trend still continues and must stop.
When being asked whether hydro-power plants on the mountains were leading to floods, Bahuguna said such plant arrests of water flow for storage and increases the possibilities of floods. For the activist, the only way out to get rid of the massive threat posed by the nature is to plant more trees to cover the mountains so that the flow of water is controlled.