Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Kashmir is losing its fragrance - saffron production is declining

Dramatic decrease in saffron production is deeply disturbing

Srinagar: Coalition of Concerned Citizens has expressed its concern over the declining production of saffron in south Kashmir. Coalition has attributed the decreases in production of this highly priced product to increasing pollution of the area where saffron is grown.

As per the statement of Executive Director of the Coalition, production of saffron has come down to half a kilogram per acre from the earlier production of 2.5 Kgs per acre. If the estimate provided by the Coalition is accurate then it indicates that Kashmir will cease to produce any saffron, if things that resulted in this catastrophic decline remain unchanged.

One wonders how will the sprawling tracts of land that produce saffron look like, when flowers will no longer bloom on its bosom! How great a loss if it is allowed to happen?

Source of the pollution that has wreaked havoc to the saffron cultivation is cement factories that have been permitted to be set up in the adjoining areas of saffron lands. One fails to understand the economic sense in setting up cement factories in an area where saffron is cultivated? The loss that is suffered by the economy of the state by the decreased production of saffron can not be compensated by the gains made by cement industry?

Besides saffron has not just economic value, but also is a part of culture and environment of Kashmir. It needs serious thinking as to how saffron production can be first saved from any further decline and then a comprehensive plan to boost its production. Immediately what needs to be done is to make the cement factories that are operating in the area, to comply with the pollution norms. And if any one is found violating the rules, it should entail the cancellation of his registration straightaway. This will mark the beginning of corrective measures. Later in the process government must contemplate of shifting cement industry from areas that fall near the saffron lands.

If things are not taken seriously, we will inflict a deep cut on the economy, culture and environment of our valley.

(Rising Kashmir)

1 comment:

deeku said...

well, u r right,the pollution control norms are blindly followed even by the centre pollution control board and so by jkspcb. no technical research studies have been conducted for setting up norms,even we can suspect the available pollution related information and so its damage functions.keep it up to save green kashmir.