Infrastructural development is on the rise. Cities and states are developing rapidly. Where once stood an under-constructed building or an open ground, now stands a grand mall or a fancy showroom. With all these developments going on, villages also want to get empowered and compete head-to-head with the cities in terms of infrastructure.
The very first step towards a good infrastructure is an easily accessible road. Since villages don’t have roads or the ones they have are not plain and smooth and full of puddles, smooth roads are being constructed nowadays.
For this, nearby jungles are being cleared to gather more space for the construction of a better connectivity-driven road.
A simple and subtle example that can be taken is of villages in Uttarakhand. It is a hilly area with narrow roads are jungles on both sides (this is the case in the villages and not in developed cities like Dehradun and Mussorie). Various animals reside in those forests. Along with deer, buffaloes, antelopes, and in some places bears, leopards too constitute a good fraction of the woods.
With the jungles being cleared at a rapid rate, the food cycle is being disturbed. This can be understood with a simple explanation. Forests are composed of trees, shrubs, and plants. The deer or the buffaloes in the area, being herbivores, survive on them. They thus, in turn, continue to reproduce offspring ensuring a continuous supply of food to the big cats. These cats eat, reproduce and die, making food for eagles, crows, and other meat-eating birds.
Therefore, a continuous supply of food, survival, and continuation of species is ensured within the forest premises and all live happily with no business with the outside world, where majorly the homo sapiens reside.
Since infrastructure is on the rise, jungles are being cleared and a lack of grass and trees is observed, deers and other herbivores are dying, blocking the supply of food to the big cats.
Some of these big cats are either dying or are wandering into human habitation in search of food. They often get into cattle houses or stables and consume the whole animal. There have been cases when people have seen leopards take away one full cow and they could not do anything but wait for him to leave. Such is the power of the mighty cat!
Upon human intervention, leopards do not hesitate to kill or injure the humans badly and mercilessly.
Not only this, another issue is deforestation. Since trees are being chopped down, the soil is left unattended giving rise to soil erosion. Since Uttarakhand consists of a good deal of forests and a lot is covered by them, the felling of trees is seen as a problem when heavy rains occur, resulting in landslides and loss of humans and animals alike.
Pollution is another issue related to the felling of trees. We know that trees convert carbon –dioxide to oxygen. Since trees are not there, pollution levels in villages, which once were tourist destinations or vacation spots for people are seeing low footfall and more pollution. This not only impacts humans but the economy and progress rate of the state too.
The fact that infrastructural development is important cannot and should not be ignored. But at what cost is this being done? How many people are left in the villages of the state? The statistics say it all.