Socio-economic vulnerability and sustainable development in context of Development vs. Conservation debate: A study of Bhagirathi Basin, Uttarakhand, INDIA
mountain system bound to have a different path of development owing to its fragile ecological and geological setup. Any drastic and abrupt changes in this system can have repercussion beyond mitigation in form of natural disasters. Remote sensing can play a key role in risk assessment and management, particularly when a few simultaneous reasons coincide, for example, susceptibility to natural disaster and the urban sprawl, spreading over highly vulnerable regions. The present study furnish socioeconomic vulnerability mapping of the Bhagirathi basin through computation of the Socio vulnerability Index (SoVI). SoVI correlates vulnerability to natural or anthropogenic disasters to socio – economic development and illustrates how developmental parameters alter equation of potential effect and recovery in event of a natural catastrophe in the study region. An analytical framework has been imparted to understand possible triggering factors of disasters. Built up area expansion; land use land cover change (LULCC) – deforestation, conversion of forested land into agricultural land and residential settlements, and dam project area; road network development; urbanization; population growth & migration and pilgrimage activities are major drivers which put burden on limited carrying capacity of the natural resources. A guideline for policy making has been presented for an integrated and wholesome development incorporating regional developmental aspiration of the people and ingredients of sustainable development.