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India is Making Too Many Disasters in the Himalayas

The government’s increasing rush to build at high altitude is endangering lives and an irreplaceable ecosystem.

It has been more than a week since 41 Indian construction workers were trapped inside a tunnel they were building in the Himalayan mountain ranges along India’s northern border. They are receiving food and water through a narrow pipeline, and authorities insist that they will be rescued, though it isn’t certain when. Yet their predicament should cause Indian authorities to rethink how they approach development projects in the high Himalayas.

What caused the road tunnel they were excavating to collapse is unclear; it may have been a landslide, or that the structural integrity of the mountain had just been stressed more than it could handle. Certainly, digging another tunnel through the debris to extract the trapped workers hasn’t been straightforward; rescuers had to suspend activity a few days ago when they feared drilling could set off further collapses.

Source: Bloomberg