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Plundering The Mighty Himalayas For Profit

In Business, Education, Environment, India on June 16, 2009 at 8:48 am

Antoinette Alexander

The mighty Himalayas, the planet’s highest mountain systems with the highest peaks, might soon have more uninvited guests – the Himalayan Ski Village that will span 6,000 acres of mountainside in the Dhauladhar region and could attract as many as 4,500 visitors at any one time. The team behind the £190 million ($312 million) resort, which could be open by 2012, includes Alfred Ford, the great-grandson of automobile pioneer Henry Ford.

The project—which will be the first integrated resort destination to be built in India since the British colonial powers built their ‘hill stations’—involves the development of 700 hotel rooms, restaurants, an ‘Indian Village’ shopping experience, a 20,000-square-foot convention facility, a high-end spa; and an entertainment/performing arts center.

While the resort will likely be a dream come true for ski enthusiasts worldwide, environmentalists and villagers are concerned about the negative impacts such as an expansive resort may have on the villages and the environment. The villages in Kullu and environment groups in Himachal Pradesh are petitioning against the ski village citing such concerns as deforestation. Opponents say the project would impact the hinterland of 60 villages, which depend on the slopes for fodder, herd grazing and fuel; thereby, impacting nearly 39,000 Himachalis.


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