Untimely rains, sleet, landslides

M A Jones jones118 at SPAMlineone.net
Fri Jun 9 00:21:55 MDT 2000

Untimely rains, sleet, landslides worry Doon Valley environmentalists
By R P Nailwal

DEHRA DUN: Unusually heavy rains in short intervals, accompanied by
high-velocity, cool winds, during swltering summer months. Sounds like a
mid-summer night's dream. But people in the Doon Valley are still

They have their reasons for it. While the showers bring welcome relief from
oppressive heat, this weather sumersault has crippled the normal life of
locals as well as tourists in the Doon Valley and the hill resort of
Mussoorie, hampering mobility and causing frequent power failures. The
accompanying sleet and the landslides the rains cause are a danger to the
villages nestles in the Himalayan foothills.

It's becoming almost routine in the Doon Valley: skies become heavily
overcast, with menacing, black clouds and occasional lightening and thunder,
heralding an untimely downpour.

Environmentalists are particularly worried over this unexpected change in
the climatic conditions. The vagaries of the weather -- the unbearable heat
accompanies followed by a heavy downpour -- have become a topic of hot
debate om the Valley and is causing concern among ecology activists here.

Past fortnight has witnessed several swings in the moods of the weather god
with many parts of the hill region and the foothills getting a heavy
downpour accompanied by sleet and landslides. Sleet is unusual in summer, so
are the landslides and they cause tremendous loss to life and property. Last
week, a landslide claimed several lives of humans and cattle in the central
Himalayan districts of Chamoli and Uttarkashi.

Though the tourists in Mussoorie welcome the cool days, these rains may be
bad news for farmers as untimely rains destroy standing crops.

It seems the unexpected showers are as unwelcome for the residents as the
heat. Says an old resident of the Doon Valley: "Some five decades ago, this
foothill town did not require ceiling fans even during the summers, but
today you sweat even under the fans ... the town has lost its green cover,
so the climate has changed." It all boils down to man having disturbed the
Nature's balance.

Times of India
Mark Jones

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