What is development?


    Permit me to ask this question… “What is development?” Is it industry… polluting factory… felling down trees… how long are we going to sustain this development…? Can anyone answer that?

    Somebody asked me… “Environment is important, but is it more important than Himachali people?”


    Will Himachali people exist if there is no environment… There was this news item in Hindustan Times long ago… that the glaciers in Himachal will dry up and evaporate… in the next 40 years. Earlier the fresh snow only used to melt through out the year and feed our rivers… But now the glaciers have started melting. HAS ANYONE IMAGINED THE SCENARIO IN SUCH A SITUATION? Rivers will dry up… no farming, no electricity — what we call hydro power today.

    Again, let me mention that as a process of evolution we cannot stop this as one day as such the earth has to merge with the sun. The Sun is getting bigger day by day. Temperature is increasing on earth. Aggravated by the problem of Global Warming due to pollution. Only what we are doing is hastening the process and advancing this to happen by many a thousand years. May be my children’s children or may be within my and your’s life span.

    But NO. Bhaiya… kal ki kal dekhi jayegi… aaj to paisa aa raha hai… aaannn do… aaannn do…

    Now to some facts. Gujarat, Punjab, UP are some industrial states… but they are far behind in terms of development. According to India Today survey (Issue August 16, 2004) The richest people live in Punjab – the most bankrupt state.)

    Now where does Himachal figure? In terms of development, Himachal is at No. 3 and certainly not on the basis of industries. Education wise and consumer products consumption wise, it is nearly on the TOP.

    Another important factor… the survey says… PEOPLE BELOW POVERTY LINE (BPL) … Only 7 percent. Shame on us that figures exist. But that isn’t ture. In Himachal, while I have talked to a few officers, all say, technically there is no one below the poverty line. People who are put in the category are landholders, have more than one fruit bearing tree. An individual cannot be put under below poverty line if he owns at least one fruit giving tree. How do these seven percent crop up in the figures? The officers say they have to put the figures and show them so relatives who are poor are found and shown in the category. Why? So that the state can get regular aid from the Union government.

    As far as using Cars is concerned, even Shimla tops the charts next to Chandigarh. At an average every fourth person (earning member) in Shimla owns a Car. 2003’s … India Today survey says so. I doubt it but can be true… seeing it having no parking space when ever I go there.

    Cannot we have non-polluting units. Do we need only polluting units? Now define, what are polluting units and what are non-polluting units?

    When a state like Delhi is throwing out industries out of the city. Why are we allowing these in to Himachal, which is already so fragile. I mean, not only does the state depend on that environment, it is the whole nation that depends. The water sources for drinking and all other purposes including Hydro-power.

    HIMACHAL IS KNOWN FOR APPLES… and my dear friends you need snow for apples. Snow works as white manure for apples. My dear friends, you will all agree that in the past few years the quantity that snows has gone down considerably. I remember as a child it used to snow in Shimla itself 2 to 3 feet. Now… 2 to 3 inches. In the next 5 years we won’t find that also. So where do these fruit bearing trees go. AAAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhh! Now I agree, why we are bringing in more industries… Yes, because we realize that in the next few years, trees and agriculture won’t be there so let us bring in these industries at least. How far sighted we are? GREAT, KEEP IT UP!!!!! The way to go Himachal!!!!! (Don’t take me seriously here PLEASE FOR GOD’s SAKE… I MEAN HIMACHAL’s sake)

    What then…

    Identify there are other non-polluting units. I believe we all love to roam on the Mall. If traffic be allowed for our convenience would we be able to enjoy that leisurely walk there. So we have to at times forsake these luxuries in the larger interest…

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    A perfect story-teller, who is madly in love with the hills. Shimla is his first love, and probably the last too. Won't get tired reading Rudyard Kipling. Hopes to pick up poetry again soon.

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