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.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Why is the Wildlife Protection Act of 1978 being ignored by the J&K Government?

Hard to Believe: J&K State has yet to set up a State Board for Wildlife

Govt’s failure to set up board threatens wildlife

Imran Khan (Rising Kashmir)

Srinagar: The Government’s failure to set up State Board for Wildlife (SBW) in the Kashmir Valley is threatening the very existence of wild animals here.

The Wildlife Protection Act of 1978 which was amended in 2002 stated that Government should establish the board headed by the Chief Minister of the state within a period of six months. However, state government has failed to implement the amended act till date.

According to the amended act the board headed by Chief Minister, Minister of Forest and Wildlife as the Vice Chairperson two members from the Legislative Assembly and one from the Legislative Council to be nominated by the Government should have been formed within six months from the day the act was amended. “Chief Secretary to the Government followed by other officials from forest department, tourism, Police, Army should also be part of the board,” the act added.

Regional Wildlife Warden Kashmir, Farooq Geelani told Rising Kashmir on Saturday, “A preliminary board headed by Minister Incharge of Forest and Wildlife was established in 2006. However, the administrative department objected to it and decided to have the Chief Minister as the Chairperson. This process is still going on between the law and the administrative department. Due to this confusion no meetings have been held till date.”

Nadeem Qadri, an environmental activist said that the State board of Wildlife was supposed to act as a monitoring cell to check the activities with respect to wildlife issues, developmental issues and also to formulate the rights and regulations of the wildlife preservation act that even focused on illegal poaching of animals.

Qadri said that due to the “lackadaisical attitude” of the Government the existence of wild animals in the Valley can become a reason for their (wild animals) becoming extinct. “Government’s failure to set up the board has already started taking a toll on the wildlife of Kashmir and has also affected the protected regions due to increasing incidents of man-animal conflict,” he added.

Wildlife Warden Monitoring Cell at Chief Wardens Cell, Imtiyaz Lone said, “Till the board is not formed issues concerning the wildlife department cannot be discussed and Government will remain unaware about the facts. No meeting has been convened till date to discuss the matter.”

When contacted the Chief Secretary to the Government, B R Kundal expressed ignorance about formation of any such board. “I cannot say anything with respect to establishing of this board till I check my files.”

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