Nine factors that caused flash floods in Uttarakhand


Someone has rightly said, “The Ganga in the upper reaches has been made an engineer’s playground.”

Let’s look at some data and hard facts (as curated) that caused this disaster:

(1)   Unplanned development is destroying the ecology of the mountains

None of the environmental laws are implemented in ecologically fragile areas in India and the development is going unabated.

A total of 427 dams are planned to be built on rivers. Among these, there are roughly 70 projects built or proposed on the Ganga, all to generate some 10,000 MW of power. This construction has affected 80% of the Bhagirathi and 65% of the Alaknanda.

Dynamite blasts are required to cut mountains and pave way for the construction of dams. On a Richter scale, such blasts are equivalent to an earthquake of the magnitude of 4.0, which is responsible to aggravate landslides.

To build one dam, a stretch of 5-25 kms is being blasted inside the mountains through dynamites. These stretches are so big that three trains can pass simultaneously at the same time. While writing this article, dynamite blasts are still continuing in around 100-125 sites to make tunnels.

(2)   Exponential increase in the number of vehicles

As per data shared by the Uttarakhand State Transport Department, in 2005-06, 83,000-odd vehicles were registered in the state. The figure rose to nearly 180,000 in 2012-13. Out of this, proportion of cars, jeeps and taxis, which are the most preferred means of transport for tourists landing in the state, increased the most. In 2005-06, 4,000 such vehicles were registered, which jumped to 40,000 in 2012-13.

It is an established fact that there is a straight co-relation between tourism increase and higher incidence of landslides.

(3)   Change in the day-and-night temperature

During the 1960s, the day and night temperature on mountains was the same. But in the last decade, the day temperature has increased considerably as compared to the night temperature thus building the situation of cloud bursting and flash floods.

(4)   Insufficient resources

The Badrinath-Kedarnath temple administration committee receives Rs. 165 crores every year as donation from devotees. But the committee says that they neither have the resources nor the manpower.

Only 4,000 army personnel have been deployed on duty. And only 100 police men are trained on emergency medical procedures while there is no one who is trained to manage a natural calamity.

In fact, in a candid interview to CNN-IBN, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahugun said that the disaster management committee in the state had not met for six years and they were not at all prepared to handle such a huge catastrophe.

(5)   Absence of tourism management

The Govt. of Uttarakhand spends Rs. 70 crores every year (as per books) in order to manage tourism in Uttarakhand. In 2012, an additional relief fund of Rs. 23.4 crores has also been set aside. Despite this, you will not find even a single clean toilet here.

Every year an approx. 3 crores people visit Uttarakhand, but there are only 2 lakh beds as part of the lodging arrangement (out of which 75% are in dharmshalas and 25% are in hotels)

(6)   Non-existent governing authority

No governing authority has been set up to manage pilgrim tourists visiting “char dham”. There is not even a Nodal Officer who can monitor the yatra arrangements.

(7)   No crowd management

There is a permit system in Amarnath and Mansarovar yatras. Even for Vaishno Devi trip, there is a crowd management in place. But, there is no such system here.


Death Toll




In road accidents




Due to Natural Calamity




(8)   Reduction in forest cover

The forest cover in Uttarakhand in 1970 was 84.9%. This got reduced to 75.4% in 2000.

(9)   Inaccurate and incomplete prediction by the Met department

Monitoring, forecasting, and early-warning systems in the Met department are very poor in the whole of India and Uttarakhand specifically. This department is in dire need of more investment.

I am no one to preach, but as a responsible citizen, we should not walk away or forget this natural disaster just by saying that human greed and corruption has no end. Instead it’s time to do something because:

“ Its Your Life, Its Only ONE Life,

Its TIME to ACT, Its TIME to take ACTION,

Because it is WANTED!! ”


Curation Sources: Dainik Bhaskar; DownToEarthCentre for Science and EnvironmentFirstpostIndia Environment Portal

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Desi Traveler
    Jul 01, 2013 @ 12:55:12

    It is nothing but human greed and total disregard for mother nature. The delicate balance that evolved over millions of years we are destroying in weeks.


  2. vanya kukreja
    Jun 14, 2015 @ 19:21:02

    guys its our responsibility to take care of our mother earth,we r no one to blame the nature for this natural calamity its our own fault PLEASE UNDERSTAND AND CO-OPERATE


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