Thursday 7 June 2018

Sonam Wangchuk's Environment Tax suggestion Good for Uttarakhand as well

Written by Anil Singh

On World Environment Day, environmentalist and scientist, Sonam Wangchuk appeared on NDTV. He was concerned about the high influx of tourists in the Laddakh area. He seemed particularly dismayed by the piles of trash left behind by the tourists alongside glaciers and frozen river-beds.

As a solution, he suggested that the Government must think about imposing Environment tax on tourists, so that the trash left behind by the tourists can be properly managed.

Although the suggestion is not new to Uttarakhand, the state Government must think about imposing such taxes on the tourists. It will not only help the Government in the proper waste management, it will also decrease some tourist load on Uttarakhand Hills.

It must be noted that inexpensive or affordable tourism is putting unnecessary burden on local residents, civic emenities & infrastructure and fragile Uttarakhand hill ecosystem. Logically speaking: Affordable or cheap ecosystem results in more tourists directly accessing the most sensitive of the ecosystems, such as glaciers, Bugyals (meadows) etc.

live-stock killed due to lightening in Village Dhari Pali in Yamuna river valley, Post office Dhari, Tehsil Badkot, Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand

A day before yesterday, the entire live-stock of a poor shepherd in Badkot, Uttarkashi got killed by lightening. In the absence of proper Environment taxes, Green Taxes, even such severe losses to local residents go uncompensated. The State Government must think on these lines as well, because tourism as such is not providing any direct relief in such and other hardships faced by the local people. Not to mention, the live-stock and human loss incurred due to acts of God  or animal-human conflict will only be addressed properly when people incurring the loss are compensated properly and that too in a timely manner.

To conclude, Uttarakhand is much praised for its water, forest and ecological resources. But the praise just ends there.

The state is not given any money incentive by Central Governments for such resources. It is time for Union Governments to incentivize the State for preserving and sustaining these resources as well. 


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