As results of assembly elections in the hill state draw near, there are a number of issues the ruling party has to face to maintain the power in the state. But the opposition will not find it a walkover either.
Uttarakhand, formerly known as Uttaranchal and also referred to as the Devbhumi, is synonymous with lush green mountains and natural beauty. But the state is a major victim of negligence by people in power. Environmental issues are highly ignored and the improper policies by the government leads to floods, landslides, and earthquakes.
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The water of the Ganga river is very poor due to the disposal of non-degradable waste by the tourists. This is creating health hazards, not only to humans but also to aquatic life. Many species of fish have gone extinct.
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The 2013 cloudburst disaster in the Kedar valley has drastically affected the state's tourism industry which is its economic backbone. Even today, nearly four years after the cloudburst, the state is trying to restore its normal livelihood.
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Lack of roads and bridges makes life difficult in the hills. Most of the hospitals are located over 20 km away, and it's difficult to provide medical facilities instantly because they are not approachable by road. Education is also difficult to access due to lack of infrastructure.
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The scarcity of water is still a major problem in Uttarakhand. Agricultural land remains barren because of a lack of irrigation facilities in the state, while water is not even available for everyday household chores. In villages, women have to walk for miles every day to fetch water.
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The state's forest wealth is on the verge of depletion because of deforestation. An unregulated collection of forest material and alleged encroachment of forest land has led to this. Illegal wildlife trade is rampant to get fur, bones, tusk, feather and glands from animals. But despite this, animal poaching hasn't been curbed, resulting in several species of animals being included in the endangered category.
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Uttarakhand, being rich in metallic and non-metallic minerals like limestone and copper, is favorable for mining. However, geographical and seismic sensitivity does not allow it. This state is watching a downfall by mining companies and real estate giants causing landslides and floods.
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Big dams and underground tunnels are making the mountains fragile and prone to landslides. Huge reservoirs of water are harming the ecology by changing the habit and habitat of marine animals. Construction of hotels and houses on the banks of the rivers have added to the pollution.
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One of the biggest impediments to development of Uttarakhand is corruption. Former Chief Minister Major General B C Khanduri, AVSM said corruption has become the order of the day in Uttarakhand and accused the Congress government in the state of either annulling decisions taken during his tenure to fight graft or putting them into cold storage.
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