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Shri Trivendra Singh Rawat
Honourable Chief Minister of Uttarakhand
In reference to -
-The recent landslip on the lower mall road.
- Consistent drop in water levels during the dry seasons.
- Accelerated erosion and increased instability of the hill slopes.
The above are primarily attributed to human induced pressures, unplanned development and complete neglect of the 'Environmental Fragility' of the vulnerable Nainital.
Nainital is highly prone top landslips.
Given the biophysical characteristics of Nainital, it is extremely dangerous to increase anthropogenic activities, as the town is already functioning beyond its carrying capacity.
The slopes of 'Sher ka Danda' hill are made of marls, limestone and slate are weak and highly unstable. Not too long ago - if one considers the formation of the Himalayas 60 million years ago two major landslides occurred in this area (1867- 1880) less than a fraction of a second from now.
Today this slope is densely covered, with multi-storey buildings with flat concrete rooftops.
The British time drainage system ( of Storm Drains) built to stabilize the slopes lie choked with debris of garbage and concrete, dumped by mindless house and road builders. With no efforts or rules in place to expidate regular cleaning and maintaining the 'Heritage Storm Drains' and their Debris Pits, and the construction debris dumps on the roads.
The recent landslip is an example of an approach where geological history, slope instability and aspects of sustainable development have been brutally ignored, despite time to time warning from the scientific community and expert committee. Reports have submitted to the government for the same.
The area currently affected in the lower mall has been sinking for years. The concerned authorities continued to cover it up through 'cosmetic patch-work', which has resulted in the current landslip.
The situation completely caught the authorities unprepared and flatfooted.
Heavy traffic loads (*several thousand) enter Nainital daily during the tourist season. The 'Mall Road' was never prepared for such traffic influx.
The heavy load and constant vibrations, resulting from huge vehicular traffic and traffic jams and continuous flow of vehicles weakens the top soil, resulting in this cumulative effect, - of the crumbling of weaker portions on the Mall Road.
The yearly contraction of the lake, due to decreased subsurface flow because of encroachment over recharge areas like Sukhatal and over-expansion, due to increased surface flow also impacts the weaker areas on the shore line.
Notwithstanding the huge public awareness, protests and constant engagement with the government, the action has been limited to lip service. We need action of ground....as enough signals have been given by nature in terms of lake water level decline and landslips. We need to act before it is too late!
Recommend Immediate steps to be undertaken :
1. Restore the landslip zone using best technology and considering local geology
2. Demarcation of other unsafe areas and remedial measures to be undertaken
3. A Complete ban on all construction in Nainital with immediate effect.
4. The mall should only be open for rickshaws, emergency vehicles’ i.e. ambulance etc for local private vehicles
5. Regular cleaning and maintenance of 'Heritage Storm Drains' and penalisation for Construction Debris Dumps
6. Shift offices away from Nainital at a convenient place to reduce the load on Nainital town..(both human and vehicular) .
7. Increase Forest cover to stabilise the slopes.
8. Departments such as LDA need to provide a reason for their existence as much harm has been done since it came into existence.
If you agree with the above points please sign the petition for a safer and sustainable Nainital.
For a safer Nainital. Beautiful Nainital. Your Nainital
Petitioner : Citizens For Nainital (CFN) - for the Cause to Save Nainital,
Nainital, Uttarakhand, India
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