Build, But Smartly – Infra along LAC is strategically vital. But Joshimath shows why projects must respect mountain ecology

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Source: The post is based on the article “Build, But Smartly – Infra along LAC is strategically vital. But Joshimath shows why projects must respect mountain ecology” published in The Times of India on 30th January 2023.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Disaster and disaster management.

Relevance: About the infrastructure construction across LAC.

News: India is finally ramping up infrastructure development across LAC.

About India’s infrastructure construction across LAC

Ever since Galwan in 2020, there has been an extra urgency to bridge the gap in infrastructure between the Indian and Chinese sides.

The government amended the Environment Impact Assessment Rules last year that exempt highway projects of strategic and defence importance that are 100 km from the borders from obtaining environmental clearance.

India’s construction of a 135 km road connecting Chushul and Demchok in eastern Ladakh should be one among other projects in that strategically important area and BRO must meet the two-year construction deadline.

Read more: Joshimath Crisis: Causes and Solutions – Explained, pointwise

What are the environmental concerns associated with infrastructure construction across LAC?

a) unsustainable construction, industries and tourism can bring catastrophic consequences to the fragile zone, b)  Studies by Kashmir University and other organisations show that glaciers in the Leh-Ladakh region will deplete by two-thirds unless conservation efforts are stepped up, c) The glaciers in the regions are already melting faster than expected due to construction of highways and human activities.

Must read: Land subsidence: PMO reviews situation in ‘sinking’ Joshimath town

What should be done while creating infrastructure construction across LAC?

a) Strict protocols need to be worked out to ensure even strategic projects in sensitive regions have the least impact on the environment, b) The Joshimath crisis forced Indian troops stationed in the area to move to a different location. Therefore, infrastructure construction along LAC needs to be carefully planned and executed, not just for the environment but to ensure the projects’ own longevity.

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