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Chronicles of the Doon Valley : An Environmental Expose

P.K. Thadhani, Indus Pub., 1993, 240 p, 29 coloured plates, ISBN : 8185182841, $0.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Chronicles of the Doon Valley : An Environmental ExposeContents List of Illustrations Foreword by Dr. Karan Singh Preface Acknowledgements I From the Pristine to the Profane 1. Introduction 2. Environmental Parameters 3. George Everest, the Pioneer 4. The Scourge of Limestone Quarries 5. Of Human Bondage in Jaunsar-Bawar and Purola 6. A Mussoorie-Dehradun Travelogue 7. Environmental Impact on the Himalayas 8. Sustainable Development of the Rajaji National Park 9. The Potential for Tourism II Milestone Limestone 10. Victims of Ecological Ruin 11. The Role of People and Institutions 12. Organized Opposition to Mining Operations 13. The Struggle before the Supreme Court 14. Analyzing Reasons for Success 15. Turning Point Annexure 1-A report of the Committee on Petitions Annexure 2-The Supreme Court Judgment Annexure 3-Chronology of Events Glossary Bibliography Index

The Doon valley, bounded by the Yamuna and Ganga rivers, forms a watershed of the Garhwal Himalaya. The history of its environmental decline begins with early raiders who plundered its forests. The subsequent Gorkha invasion, followed by colonial policies and modern-day hydel projects have all had a negative impact on the carrying capacity of the valley. This is analysed in terms of deforestation, floods, drop in water tables, earthquakes, landslides, soil erosion, poverty and imbalanced population patterns, including the nomadic Gujjars of Rajaji National Park.

The post-Independence assault on the valley's mineral wealth by the limestone quarry industry coincided with the growing credibility of the idea of sustainable development in the context of continuing government apathy, lack of proper planning, outmoded laws, and a dearth of communication typified by nearby Jaunsar-Bawar tribal tracts. Following the historic Supreme Court judgment in the Doon Valley Limestone Case which closed down a major industry on environmental grounds for the first time anywhere, there are hopes that, with the appreciation of this valley as a gateway to the Garhwal hinterland, sustainable development activities including tourism and environmental conservation will be accelerated.

These chronicles of the Doon valley highlight the little known contribution of Sir George Everest to the region, after whom is named the highest mountain in the world, and tell a tale of subsequent environmental degradation. They contain a first hand report of how enlightened leaders joined hands with the efforts of the people in Parliament and the Supreme Court to save their valley from ecological disaster.

The book will be an eye-opener for environmentalists, foresters, planners, and laymen. The lessons drawn are of universal significance.
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