Having lived in Uttarakhand all my life, one thing I can tell you for sure is that living in the mountains is not all about beauty, thrill and peace. It comes with an awful lot of challenges around living conditions, employment opportunities or even lack of essentials in the mountain villages. The problems have been further escalated by irresponsible tourism where emissions from motor vehicles have caused serious air pollution in many parts of the state and construction of innumerable hotels and restaurants has led to large scale illegal construction in several cities. Moreover, lack of stable employment has made living in the mountains a big issue for the natives with lakhs of youth searching for jobs everyday.
To avoid these challenges, the locals have migrated in huge number from the mountains in search of employment leaving their villages and towns empty. As per news reports, 1065 villages in Uttarakhand have become ghost villages because hardly anyone lives there. The situation has gotten so adverse that when someone dies, there aren’t even enough people to carry the remains to the cremation grounds.
Amidst these hardships that the state faces, there are initiatives that have tried to establish employment opportunities for the locals while doing their best to help the state deal with the environmental issues. Here is a list of some of these initiatives. The next time you’re in Uttarakhand, do make sure that you try to stop by and support them:
1. Ecotourism Resorts
A lot of people have taken the charge and opened up ecotourism resorts in the state that provide sophisticated accommodation options while sustaining the environment and providing employment opportunities to the locals.
AyurVAID Kalmatia is one such initiative in Almora. It is a wellness retreat in the wilderness of the forests that provides people with the relaxation they need through their in-house Ayurvedic center. They’ve employed the locals of the village and taught them these skills to provide them a platform to earn livelihood in their village. Also, the entire resort and center functions on rainwater which is a step to save water in the state.