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Bharat Mala: Is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new ambitious project of building a 5,000 km road network feasible?

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

After ‘Make in India,’ India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has come up with another ‘ambitious’ project – Bharat Mala – that will supposedly link the entire Himalayan states.

But, not to forget, he wants to do this in five years with an estimated budget of Rs 14,000 crore, as per the report of The Economic Times. This is going to be a road network that will garland India’s territory. Hence, the name Bharat Mala.

It is said that this project will link the untouched areas in the backblocks to push development and economic activities. Bharat Mala will pass along all bordering countries – Nepal, Bangladesh, China, Pakistan and Bhutan – also tracking the vast coastline.

A ministry official said, “Already we have good road network in these stretches. We will build the missing links and also extend the network where no road exists at present. These will provide connectivity to the huge number of ports, which will be part of the ‘Sagar Mala’ project. Once completed, these will provide seamless connectivity along the borders, which is crucial for strategic reasons.”

Starting from Gujarat and Rajasthan, the project will exceed towards Punjab covering Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand , and will touch the borders of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar alongside Terai. Then, it will ascend towards Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and will finish in Mizoram.

However, as per the industry estimates, it requires minimum Rs 10 crore to build just one kilometer of highway in India. If that estimate is taken in mind, then the construction of 5,300 kilometers of Bharat Mala will cost the government whopping Rs 53,000 crore.

In addition, there is hardly any chance that the route will see any heavy traffic, which means that even the private companies won’t find it profitable to invest in.

However, if those statistics are to be believed, it seems like Modi’s dream of connecting Gujarat to Mizoram is way too ambitious.

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Climate Change Will Melt Vast Parts of Himalayas: Study

The Hindu Kush Himalayan Assessment was put together by more than 200 authors aiming to create a baseline of knowledge to understand the region

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The image was captured at lower Zuluk province. It is a small village in the Himalayas. There are a lot of rows in a row from the mountain. The amazing beauty of nature can be seen. Wikimedia

At least a third of the ice in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region could melt by the end of this century due to climate change, even if there is aggressive action to curb greenhouse gases and meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement,according to a new study.

The study issued on Monday night said that rising temperatures are a serious threat to the eight countries — India, China, Myanmar, Nepal, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan — in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, CNN reported.

Fresh water from the region’s glaciers flows into 10 major river basins, contributing to the drinking water, irrigation and energy needs of approximately 1.9 billion people, or about a quarter of the world’s population.

“The consequences are pretty extreme. We are concerned, and we are worried,” said one of the study’s authors, Philippus Wester, chief scientist with the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development.

“Urgent climate action is needed,” he said.

Aesculus indica, Horse Chestnut, Pithoragarh, Himalayas. Wikimedia

Glaciers have been retreating and thinning in the area since the 1970s but there has been an accelerating rate of retreat since then, the study said.

Climate change will also reduce how much food farmers will be able to produce in this part of the world. About 70 per cent of the population of this region are farmers, and there is already great food insecurity there, it added.

Also Read- Government Following China in Order to Eradicate Poverty, Says Pakistan PM Imran Khan

Warmer water temperatures will encourage the growth of invasive species. Extreme floods and droughts may “destroy the food production base of the region”, the study said, adding the rivers that farmers and energy companies rely on, like the Ganges, Yangtze, Mekong and Indus, will also be affected by glacier melt.

The Hindu Kush Himalayan Assessment was put together by more than 200 authors aiming to create a baseline of knowledge to understand the region. (IANS)