Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Prof Upreti a lone Crusader

Written by Anil Singh

Recently, in the month of shrawan, I went on a pilgrimage to Neelkantha Mahadeva, a revered pilgrimage destination nestled in the lush green hills of Pauri district. During this time of the year the Shiva bhaktas or kanwars visit the shrine in great numbers. The whole atmosphere is filled with euphoria and bonhomie. All this makes the visit an eclectic experience.
After all it is good to see multitudes of people having so much faith in God.
But! To be honest the eclectic experience just ends there.
The reason being: With each passing year the place is getting filled with increasing quantities of non-biodegradable waste. This year, the day I visited the shrine, the entire place was literally filled with all kinds of non-biodegradable wastes--disposable glasses, used by packaged water companies for Ganga-jal, the polythene bags used by the devotees, slippers etc. As a result, the natural drainage of the mountains was choked and the plastic waste littered to those places which appear too far to get contaminated.
Although I’ve visited only one such place in recent times, the same will be the case, I think, for other holy sites in the state as well, keeping in view the commercialization that has taken place in the past few years.
It is true that pilgrimage and tourism generates employment for the locals, but what about the damage such unhindered activities are causing to the fragile ecosystem of the state?
It looks as if nobody really cares about the irrepairable harm it is causing to the fragile balance of the region.
Is the scenario so much gloomy as it sounds? Definitely not, as there’re people who share the same sentiments, as you and I do.
Hindustan Times 22 August 2007, Page 5, featured a news report on one such crusader. He is Professor Prabhat Upreti, ex-faculty political science, PG College Pithoragarh. He is carrying on an unrelenting crusade against polythene. Popularly known as Polythene Baba, he has been raising awareness among the masses of the state regarding the ill effects of this non-biodegradable material. His aim is to make the state polythene free. To give his plans the tangible form, these days he is traversing the state and raising awareness against polythene.
Although anyone who has the desire to learn can be communicated with, but the children who are often called the future of any nation, if educated can make a big difference. Professor Upreti is doing just the same; he has taken to educating the school going children about the ill effects of the man made material.
I’ve never met Professor Upreti in person, and to be honest have not read much about his crusade in the newspapers as well. But whatever I’ve gained from various sources, the issues he raises from time to time regarding the menace, shows the honesty of his effort.
The efforts of Professor Upreti should be given more space and his expertise in the field should be used by the Government, as he is the face of the conservation effort for numerous faceless people like you and I.
Professor Upreti is doing a great job by raising such an important issue. Though a lone crusader, there’re numerous faceless people who share his sentiments and always support him. The children he is educating today will make a great change in the future.
Professor we are with you, keep going!

If you also feel strongly about the situation or have something that we can share in this regard, kindly have your say.

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