Recipe for disaster in Uttarakhand

Are you surprised by the staggering number of people, many from across India, who are stranded in calamity-stricken Uttarakhand? The reason is quite simple: in a state with a total population of just over 1 crore, the number of tourists visiting it is 2.5 crore, both figures being for 2011. And most of these tourists visit the mountain state in summer.

Put this together with the fact that rainfall in Uttarakhand was 440% more than normal till June 18 this year, on a land already under pressure and one can begin to understand the colossal dimensions of this tragedy.

Tourism is a huge opportunity for the people of the state, especially those living near the popular circuits like the Alaknanda valley, Mussoorie, or the lake district of Nainital. Three fourths of the population depends on failing agriculture, which is growing at less than 2% per year. Average land holding size is a mere 0.68 ha, that too divided into several patches on slopes. So people turn to tourism making it into a lifeline—three months of work to survive the whole year.

Full report here Times of India 


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