Indian media: Floods are 'man-made' disaster

Image caption,
The Indian army is rescuing people from the flood-affected areas in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh states

Media in India feel rampant construction, mining and massive power projects in the northern Himalayan states have contributed to the disaster the monsoon floods have brought to the region.

Newspapers are criticising the government for using the "convenient" option of calling the floods "nature's fury" in the states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.

"Excessive rainfall provides only a partial explanation for why the 'abode of the Gods' - the Himalayan hill states - has been battered beyond measure in recent days. For man's excesses and follies have also been a factor in the destruction that nature has wrought," says The Hindu.

The paper, in another article, says nature is avenging its exploitation.

The Times of India feels "the growing frequency of extreme climactic events is emboldening the claim that hydropower projects, encroachments of riverbeds by buildings, and blasting of mountains to build roads are making hill states more susceptible to disaster".

"The destruction is man-made because environmental laws have been openly flouted in the states for over a decade and the government has allowed that to happen," says a report in the Hindi daily, Dainik Jagaran.

Newspapers, including The Times of India, also say the government is not doing enough to rescue people from the flood-affected areas.

"A couple of dozen helicopters flying a few hundred sorties a day to rescue a region full of distressed citizens is emblematic of millennial India's broken promises," the paper says.

The Pioneer sees a ray of hope for "the dying river Yamuna" in Delhi amid these tragic stories.

Environmentalists feel the flood waters will wash away the filth and help replenish the aquatic life and depleted groundwater levels in the capital, the paper adds.

Meanwhile, PM Manmohan Singh has appealed to all citizens "to donate generously" to the government's flood relief fund and help "distressed fellow countrymen rebuild their lives", reports the Zee News.

Moving on to business news, the continuing fall in the value of the rupee against the US dollar has triggered concerns of a sharp rise in food prices, reports the Hindustan Times.

Prices of vegetables such as onions and tomatoes may increase by 100% to 200% in Delhi next week, the paper adds.

The expected price rise will not bode well for India's poor, the paper says in another report.

Rural service for doctors

The government will soon make it mandatory for doctors seeking a post-graduate degree in medicine to do a year-long service in rural hospitals, a move that will improve rural healthcare in India, The Times of India reports.

The proposal has been approved by the health ministry and the Medical Council of India is in the process of issuing a notification, the paper adds.

Meanwhile, what do Indian women search for on the internet? Google has the answer.

"How to make a chocolate cake?" and "how to get twins?" were among the most searched questions by Indian women on the internet in 2012, reports The Asian Age, citing a Google India study which looked into questions posted by almost 60 million women.

The Times of India reports that a gang of robbers was caught in west Delhi after an elderly citizen put up "a valiant effort to thwart their escape".

Kaushalya was tied up by the robbers before they fled the house with valuables. The 84-year-old managed to free herself and called the neighbours for help and the robbers were caught, the paper adds.

And finally, The Indian Express reports that on the occasion of World Music Day, India's oldest rock band, Indian Ocean, has shot a video against the use of animals in circuses.

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