Roorkee: To analyze the economic and environmental impact of the COVID 19 pandemic induced reverse migration on the urban-rural continuum,Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IIT Roorkee), Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Japan and Keio University, Japan collaborateto implement an India-Japan bilateral projectentitled“Ecosystem centric rural revitalization: Bridging the urban-rural dichotomy toward post-COVID resilient recovery”. The project is jointly funded Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), India, and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), The bilateral collaborative research will focus on two selected study sites including Haridwar in India and Kanagawa prefecture in Japan respectively. Haridwar is a holy Hindu pilgrimage center, which later became a prominent industrial hub after the formation of the Uttarakhand State in 2000 and the creation of SIIDCUL (State Infrastructure and Industrial Development Corporation Uttarakhand Limited) in 2002.
The first project workshop was conducted in the Committee Room, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at IIT Roorkee on June 27, 2022.The objective of the workshop is to bring experts and key stakeholders into a common platform in order to discuss the social and environmental impact of COVID-19 pandemic-induced reverse migration on the urban-rural continuum and how reverse migration can be translated intoan opportunity foraddressing the urban-rural dichotomy. In the light of the objective,
The workshop was attended by distinguished scholars and laureates viz., Prof. Subir Sen, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Roorkee; Prof. Anindya Jayanta Mishra, Head Department of Humanities and Social Science, IIT Roorkee; Dr. Bijon Kr. Mitra, IGES Japan; Prof. Ajit Kumar Chaturvedi, Director, IIT Roorkee; Dr. Anamitra Anurag Danda, Director, Sundarbans Programme, WWF India; Prof. Dinesh K. Nauriyal, Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Roorkee; Dr. Rajarshi Dasgupta, IGES Japan; Richa, PhD Scholar, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Roorkee; Md. Riyaj, PhD Scholar, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Roorkee; Shubham Sharma, PhD Scholar, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Roorkee; Prof. Sameer DeshkarDepartment of Architecture and Planning, Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT), Nagpur; Prof. Rajib Shaw, Keio University, Japan; Prof. Uttam Kumar Roy, Associate Professor and Head Centre for Transportation Systems (CTRANS) (Internal Expert), IIT Roorkee; Prof. D. Bharat, Assistant Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences (Internal Expert), IIT Roorkee.
While presenting the overview of the project, Dr. Bijon Kr. Mitra, IGES Japan, pointed out,”Urban and rural areas are strongly interconnected and failure to understand the strong linkages may affect the sustainability of the rural food-energy-water nexus. The proposed research will emphasize the policies adopted in India and Japan to support key economic sectors, making them resilient to disasters”.
Talking about the expectations and challenges, Prof. Rajib Shaw, Keio University, said,”The proposed research is multidisciplinary in nature and one aspect is to develop a methodology for assessing the ecological capacity of an ecosystem to meet the demand of natural resources in the new normal. The key challenge, however, is to identify those successful initiatives helping economies to ‘bounce forward’ rather than ‘bouncing back’ to the old normal.”
Taking on the social impact, Prof. Ajit K Chaturvedi, Director, IIT Roorkee, said,”The project will demonstrate the pathways of eco-system centric revitalization of rural areas through diversification of its economy toward decentralized growth in the post-COVID-19 era. There is no need to re-invent the wheel to find solutions to complicated problems but harness the learnings cross-discipline and cross-country to identify sustainable growth strategies.”
Talking about reverse migration and COVID-19, Dr. Anamitra Anurag Danda, Director, Sundarbans Programme, WWF-India, highlighted,”Post COVID-19 lockdown has affected earnings in the state as both industries and tourism has come to a standstill. Understanding the economic and environmental impact of the COVID 19 pandemic induced reverse migration on the urban-rural continuum will guide the integration of spatial capitals for the post-COVID-19 economic recovery.”