Denuding Kamand to set up IIT Mandi…


BySaroj Thakur

The news that the forest department of the Himachal Pradesh government will be cutting a lot of trees, to the tune of thousands, to make way for the setting up of IIT Mandi, made me feel sad for Kamand. I could visualize the mute trees whose fate was sealed and decided in the air-conditioned office of some administrator who had little or no knowledge about denuding the already declining forest cover in Himachal.

I felt sad — very sad — as I had spent some very happy days of my life among these trees at Kamand! The first time I saw Kamand from the window of our vehicle, I could not stop myself from exclaiming, “How beautiful!” and that too when such sceneries were not something new to me being born and brought up in Himachal. But there was something heavenly about Kamand.

Kamand is a picturesque destination for all who want to rejuvenate their lifeless mundane existence that the banality of city life does to us. The experience of the clean and pure air of Kamand, the farm fresh milk of the cows of the Kamand cattle farm and the refreshing long walks in the evening remains etched in my mind. For countless hours I would be gazing at just nothing but the nature around me. The trees in our courtyard seemed to speak to me of the times they had witnessed, and the fact that now those will be cut down, is killing me.

I remember each and every tree on the campus of the cattle breeding farm which, unfortunately, is the point where the inauguration for the new IIT Mandi was laid. It had so many trees around it. I am so sad that all that is going to be lost to the coming generations. Is it not ironic that the newspapers reported on 10 September, 2009, of the impending cutting of so many trees to make way for IIT Mandi at Kamand and followed by statement of environmentalist Sunder Lal Bahugana to save trees in Himachal. Doesn’t someone take notice of the sheer irony of news reports coming barely at the difference of one day?

I hope Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal listens to my feeble voice or the HRD minister Kapil Sibal takes notice of my pleas!

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  1. Anyone raising concerns about environment or SEZs is deemed as anti development, environmental terrorist or a leftist. Though coming up of IIT in Himachal is a welcome step but cutting trees is not justified at all. There must be plenty of land available around Mandi where the IIT can come up without cutting trees.

    I join you in your plea to Proff. Dhumal and Kapil Sibal.

    • I appericiate your view about the care of trees but it is first time that an international level IIT has to opened in poor Himachal. I think it is a great opportunity to have exposure of such a prestegious institute in HP. We can go for plantation of trees later to make the campus green as other iits did. The point is that there is very slow progress to make IIT functoining from current session. Our govt is quite lazy and see IIT Punjab they already started working. Even there is no adv from IIT mandi for faculty.

  2. I have been writing to preserve our Nature and one was concretisation of our old ancient KUFARS, Now I can see this picture of lush green forest turning into white and cream cement structures. I agree, there must be development but certainly not at the cost of our Nature.

  3. It is nice that an IIT is coming to Himachal. It is also nice that we have concern for environment which has got comments from Saroj and others. I have been to some IITs and have seen beautiful campuses with a lot of environment care. I am sure they are going to show yet better care in planning the architecture of this new campus and Saroj is going to keep her watchful eye on them to let us know that mindless destruction is not resorted to. Himachal needs development with sensitivity for environment.

    • I do back Mr Rana on the aspect of development with sensitivity towards nature. If sustainable development is carried keeping the need of resources by future generations in mind, we can surely live in harmony with mother nature. As it will put the efficient usage or utilisation of the resources/system in place.

      Normally educational institutes of the level of IIT will keep the environmental norms in place. But Ms Saroj's concern i think, comes with commercialisation which will take place in this beautiful valley once IIt comes up.  Her concern is right in that aspect of IIT coming up in Himachal.

      My opinion in this matter is comprehensive policy making and discussion over the commercial exploitation (limited) of the area before IIT comes up in that region and which i assume would already be on the cards. But system needs to be more open and accessible to the people (likes of Ms Saroj) who are genuinely concerned about nature and its bounteous beauty. 

  4. I think this is an unfortunate development. Over years I have seen our green covers vanish… and now this. I think its high time the state govt takes a serious review of their plans and how they are impacting our environment. 

  5. If you weigh the pros and cons, i think setting up an IIT in those hills is still a good idea. Few trees will be sacrificed for a great cause.

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