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Gangotri Conservation Project

(India's first integrated project in which HET, Union Government and State Government were equal functionaries.

Gangotri  being visited by about 2,50,000 pilgrims and 50,000 trekkers every year was the most polluted region of the Indian Himalayas.  Since Everest and Annapurna were already being looked after well, Gangotri basin was chosen by the Board of trustees
as the Pilot Project of the HET. The board of trustees decided that the nature of the project should be simple and practical and at the same time it should be socially and environmentally sustainable. It was decided to focus on cleaning and greening only.
Himalayan Environment Trust supported by the Government of India, Government of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and American Himalayan Foundation, after a Seminar in New Delhi in June 1994, launched the Gangotri Conservation Project.
An office was set up in Uttarkashi and a warden appointed to supervise the operation. A committee under the chairmanship of Capt. M. S. Kohli (now Mr. Sushil Gupta) consisting of 4 representatives each from Ministry of Environment and Forest, UP Government and the HET was formed. Eminent experts – Sir Edmund Hillary, Mr. Richard Blum, Gurdial Singh, Mr. A. D. Moddie, Miss Bachendri Pal, and Mr. Suman Dubey were also included.
The GCP is a catalyst agency and aims to mobilize local people and encourage their participation in the implementation of programmes.  It highlights the subsistence activities and use of alternative energy projects to minimize the impact of tourists and pilgrims and helps to upgrade the local standard of living. Some of the activities of GCP include:-

Forest Conservation

Plantation of fodder and fuel-wood.
Plantation of trees (around 1,00,000), specially Bhojpatra beyond Gangotri
Temporary lodges made of Bhojpatra (birch) replaced by quick erect huts of steel, covered with tarpaulins and quipped with twin burner stoves.
Use of Alternative Energy to reduce dependence on fuel wood and encouraging the consumption of LPG and solar powered cooking stoves.
Community Sanitation

Clean up present rubbish beyond Gangotri.
Take steps to prevent accumulation of rubbish in future.
Assist in collection and disposal of rubbish at Gangotri through incinerator.
Prefabricated toilets built at several places.

Awareness Programmes

Environmental  education through schools and colleges, local community organisations and religious bodies.
Environmental lectures to trainees at Nehru Institute of Mountaineering Uttarkashi by guest speakers.
Distribution of leaflets containing Do's and Dont's to tourists, visitors and pilgrims.
Information Centres.
Audio-visual programmes.

Besides this a mini micro hydel 150/250 kw at Gangotri with the help of UNDP/GEF was proposed. Three more incinerators, one at Rishikesh, one at Badrinath and one at Gobind Ghat were set up.

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