Uttarakhand: Citizens protest to save Sattal
Locals and environmentalists have reached out to govt authorities via letters and petitions. However, the authorities have failed to acknowledge these concerns regarding serious damage to environment
Citizens have been protesting to save Sattal against commercial interests, which have ecological impacts, and the campaign trended on Twitter on July 3.
The process of urbanization of the Sattal region in Uttarakhand for commercial interests has slowly been advancing at the cost of ecology. The land’s sustainability is being compromised in the name of beautification and development.
Locals and environmentalists have reached out to government authorities via letters and petitions. However, the authorities have failed to acknowledge these concerns, and the dreaded projects have already been initiated.
An ecologically important region, Sattal is home to biodiversity and hundreds of species of flora and fauna. It is also a refuge to high-quality oak-dominated hardwood forests that are currently endangered in the Kumaon region, due to pine invasion, fire, and fragmentation.
The project will clear the way for the construction of shops, parking lots, children’s park, viewpoint locations, plantations, etc around Sattal lakes and forests. New shops will open, strupping the business of local shopkeepers. A birding center has also been proposed for the 500+ species of birds found in the area, but environmentalists have warned that it will be counterproductive because the place will see a decline in birds if construction happens.
The Save Sattal movement by the Sattal Conservation Club is actively running the campaign by undertaking all the requisite groundwork. Their efforts have been accentuated by the organisation 'There Is No Earth B' who have been providing all the necessary technical and artistic support.
A member of Sattal Conservation Club, Aagnay Budhraja remarked, “Destruction of nature is not necessarily a part and parcel of development… there is something beautiful and unique about Sattal which must remain as such and the old ideas of development cannot be allowed to overpower the natural beauty of this region”.
Despite the protests, a JCB started work but was sent back because of the mounting pressure. Locals fear the ecology of the region will be violated, and that hill stations do not need to follow the same model of development. They’re demanding that a special status should be given to Sattal and the project be withdrawn.