Introduction to KashmirForum.org 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.
www.kashmirforum.org

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Introducing the Kashmir Environmental Protection Coordination Organization (KEPCO)

Niyaz Ahmad, Chairman KEPCO, introduces the Mission Statement and a Progress Report of KEPCO

(Syed Niyaz Ahmad Shah, 36, was born in Nadihal, Bandipora. He completed his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Kashmir in 1995. Subsequently he obtained post graduate degree in Ecology & Environment from the MCN University of Bhopal in 2000 and master's degree in Sustainable Development at the Sikkim Manipal University of Science and Tecnology in Gangtok in 2003. He is the Environmental Consultant/Officer in an organization under contract to provide design and supervision of infrastructure deleveopment projects under the Jammu and Kashmir Economic Reconstruction Agency (JKERA) funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).)

Kashmir Environmental Protection Co-ordination Organization ( K E P C O )
N.G.O (Regd. by Govt. of Jammu and Kashmir)

MISSION KEPCO

Man, the ‘Homo sapiens’ is said to be the most intelligent and dominant creature among all the living creatures. Nature created this universe for the well being of man. However, his desire for the joys of material comfort lead him to insult the Mother Earth, which consists of life supporting constituents. In his pursuit of affluence man is playing havoc with the environmental resources. Mad race to exploit natural resources and to convert them into goods for his comfort has resulted in unlimited exploitation of every bit of natural resources. No doubt man has revolutionized human life on the earth by the advancement in the field of science and technology, but at the same time he ignored the natural resources conservation and management. Now the whole ecological setup has become overloaded in the shape of environmental pollution and ecological degradation, which is of a global concern and is infact a big challenge that mankind is facing today.

Kashmir has been described by the nature lovers as “Heaven on Earth”, owing to its picturesque mountains, evergreen forests, fabulous tourist spots, largest fresh water resources of Asia, serenity and rich pilgrim heritage. Kashmir has achieved special status of paradise on earth. For the maintenance of this special status of Kashmir, Kashmir Environmental Protection Coordination Organization (KEPCO), a non-political and Non-governmental Organization (NGO) has been established on 06-09-2002 with noble mission and voluntary service by a group of qualified and professional youths of tehsil Bandipore of northern Kashmir (J&K). The most of the members of the organization are expert technical and professionals from almost all the fields including environment, agriculture, education, engineering, medical science, law and other fields.

At present the main source of funding of the organization is ‘polypot plant nursery’ and environmental consultancy. The organization has diversified constitution with Eco-friendly achievable aims and objectives those could serve for the betterment of the society by the slogan of “Mission KEPCO-for Better, Green and Prosperous Tomorrow”. The areas of operation of the KEPCO are Kashmir province known as ‘Wadi-e-Kashmir’ in particular and the adjoining regions of Jammu and Ladakh in general. However the organization will extend its areas of operation outside the state and the country in the future.

Keeping in consideration the various environmental issues and their scientific solution, the organization will seek your help and cooperation, because teams can win but individuals cannot. Hope your good self will cooperate and coordinate with our organization for the fulfillment of ‘Mission KEPCO’.

CHAIRMAN

______________________________________________________

AREAS OF OPERATION
Currently the areas of operation of KEPCO are Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh (India). However the organization will extend its area of operation outside the state and the country in future.

MANAGING BODY
The organization has as its members, experts and professionals from almost all the fields including environment, agriculture, education, engineering, medical and other related sciences.

ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE ORGANIZATION AT A GLANCE

i). The organization raised a plant nursery in December 2002. At present more than 4000 plants of species of Cuprous tourolusa, Cedrus deodara, Cypruess, Acacia. etc. are plantable.
ii). The organization launched a massive plantation drive in the barren forest areas of Bandipore in March-April 2003 on the eve of ‘World Arbor Day.’
iii) The organization celebrated & organized 5 Awareness programmes in different schools of Bandipore on specific days in the year 2003.
iv) The organization prepared a detailed project proposal regarding the cultivation/promotion of medicinal plants in different tehsils of Bandipore area and submitted the same to the J & K State Medicinal Plant Board in October-November 2003 v) Another project proposal was prepared with regard to the plantation/beautification of the area around Baba Shakoorudin shrine on Sopore-Bandipore road near Watlab. The same was submitted to J & K Wakf Board & Wakf Properties in January 2004.
vi) The organization planted more than 6000 plant species of Cuprusus, Cedrus and Wallnut around the Shahabudin Shrine Sahib Bandipore, including 700 kanals in survey no. 2788 in the month of March 2004.
vii) The organization organized a PULSE POLIO IMMUNIZATION CAMP in collaboration with Department of Health & Family Welfare unit Bandipore on April 04, 2004.
viii) The organization launched an effective campaign against the use of polythene banners and posters by political parties in 2004 elections. After getting positive response from ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA, the members of the organization removed all such banners on 16/4/2004.
ix) More than 300 plants of above said species were planted in Tehsil Office Complex, Court Complex, Fire Station, Police Station and ITI complexes of tehsil Bandipore in the month of April 2004. The organization has got due certificates from the concerned authorities.
x) The organization planted 2031 plants Gulmarg area round Golf Club and Gulmarg Gandola in April-May 2004.
xi) As a part of beautification drive, the organization planted 550 plants in Nishat Park and Gulshan Park Bandipore. The Hon’ble MOS Planning and Development Jammu & Kashmir Mr. Usman Majid inaugurated the drive on 04/05/2004. A seminar on the “Ills of Polythene Use” was also conducted there.
xii). The organization also organized many medical camps in collaboration with Department of Health and Family Welfare in many far flung areas of Bandipore in the month of May 2004.
The certificates of all the activities done by the organization, certified by the concerned departments are available at the Head Office of the organization.
xiii). The organization was awarded the CERTIFICATE OF APPRECIATION for organizing cleanliness drive in Gulmarg and educating the locals, school children and tourists about the need to protect the environment on the eve of World Environment Week-2004.
xiv). The organization organized a massive Environmental Awareness Rally on 26-6-2004 in Bandipore. In this rally various schools of north Kashmir participated with great enthusiasm and zeal. High dignitaries of Kashmir appreciated the organization for organizing such programmes.
xv). The organization conducted door-to-door survey in the villages falling on the bank of Wullar lake regarding the hygiene and sanitation conditions of the inhabitants, in the month of July 2004.
xvi). The organization conducted an “Awareness camp as Rural sanitation & Water Born Diseases” in the remote areas of Northern Kashmir with the collaboration of J&K Science & Technology Department Srinagar on July 07/ 2004.
xvii) The organization took the keen interest in conduction of necropsy of dead bear by Veterinary Center. Bandipore on 2/7/2004.
xviii) The Wildlife Warden North Circle has Awarded a Certificate of Appreciation to KEPCO Team for rescuing a Black Bear drowned in a Well at Aragam Bandipore on 01-11-2004.
xviii) With the view to protect and preserve world famous Wullar Lake, the organization organized ‘First Save Wullar Rally’ on December 11, 2004 on the occasion of International Day for Mountains being observed across the globe. Various dignitaries attended the rally, local citizens and hundreds of school children participated in the rally. The rally stared from Bandipore chowk to Garrora Wullar View Park and was flagged off by the Principal of S.M.S I.M.S Garoora, Mr. Gh. Hassan. Various participants highlighted the need for protection and preservation of Asia’s largest fresh water lake.
xix) The organization has submitted a proposal to government of Jammu & Kashmir for development of Eco-tourism in J & K.
xx) The organization took many efforts interests with regard to the development in medicinal and aromatic plants sector in J & K. a presentation on “Need for the Preservation and Promotion of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in J& K” was presented by the organization at FIC Jammu on the invitation of the JK State Medicinal Plants Board and JK forest Department.
xxi) A threadbare discussion was held with the delegates and experts in a workshop on “Kashmir as a Bio-Business Center for Cultivation of High Value Essential Oils” organized by RRL Srinagar in April 2005.
xxii) The organization as usual launched a mega voluntary Plantation Drive on the occasion of World Arbour Day on March 21, 2005. D.F.O Bandipore Mr. Barkat Hussain inaugurated the drive and hundreds of school children belonging to Iqbal Memorial School Nasoo, Branch Middle School and Govt. High School Bagh and other schools participated in the drive despite of bad weather conditions and torrential rains. The plantation was done near PHE reservoir on a hillock near State Bank of India Bandipore. Later on Mr. Barkat Hussain delivered an impressive lecture about the importance of the day and need to protect our forests.
xxiii) The organization participated in the “REGIONAL CONFERENCE” (Northern States) on Ramsar site Wetlands held at SKICC Srinagar from 25th-27 June 2005, organized by the Ministry of Environment and Forests GOI. In the conference KEPCO highlighted the vanishing of Wullar Lake due to ignorance of the authorities and suggested the creation of a “National Wetlands Conservation Authority” which was approved by the steering committee in the conference.
xxiv) In a National Workshop on Food Adulteration organized by SPECS Dehradun and DST GoI at Dehradun, KEPCO has been chosen as a Resource Agency in Northern States.
xxv) On the occasion of WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY, JUNE 5, 2006 a massive environmental Rally was organized by KEPCO. The rally was flagged off by S.H.O Bandipore Mr. Showkat at Nishat Park Bandipore and ended in the premises of Degree College Bandipore. The Principal of the College Mr. A.M. Mir- a renowned environmentalist highlighted the objectives of organizing such rallies and stressed the collective efforts for the protection of the environment. Hundreds of students of I.M. School, S.H. School. EPS, Govt. Boys High School and other dignitaries participated in the rally.
xxvi) On seeing the deplorable conditions of the Wullar lake (Ramsar Site), the organization lodged a PIL vide No: OWP: 345 0f 2006 (KEPCO Vs State) in honorable High Court of JK Srinagar for its restoration and conservation. As a result of this the Hon’ble High Court directed the state government to take immediate steps and developmental plans to protect and conserve the Wullar Lake. The state govt. approached Wetlands International South Asia – New Delhi to conduct a broad based survey of the lake and formulate a detailed project report for the development of the lake. A gist of suggestions for improvement, conservation and protection of the Wullar Lake were also submitted before the Hon’ble High Court. Pertinenant to mentions that the lake which once was 265 sq km has been now rendered to 58 sq km. If necessary steps are not taken the lake would become a tale of past only.
xxvii) During 2006-2007, KEPCO provided full assistance and expertise and help to the Wetlands International South Asia – New Delhi for the formulation of Comprehensive Management Action Plan for the Conservation of Asia’s famous Wullar Lake. A detailed project report was submitted to state government for the protection of the lake.
xxviii) In 2007 KEPCO members gave full assistance to conduct a detailed survey and investigation in association with Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) New Delhi to study the details of incidents of Man-Animal Conflict. Hundred of human lives have been lost in these conflicts particularly in Kashmir Division. A Comprehensive Man-Animal Conflict Mitigation Plan was submitted to the Department of Wildlife JK Govt. by WTI New Delhi.
xxix) On June 26, 2007 KEPCO in collaboration with Deptt. of School Education Bandipore and other agencies organized INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST DRUG at Degree College Bandipore.
xxx) On September 12, 2007, KEPCO organized a “Free Medical Camp” at Chuntimulla a far-flung, backward and remote area of Bandipore District in association with 14 RR and SDH Bandipore. A team of doctors from RR and Health Department examined hundreds of patients and provided free medicines. Hon’ble MLA Bandipore Mr. Usman Majid inaugurated the camp.
xxxi) KEPCO brought a dead Leopard in to the notice of Police Station Bandipore. A necropsy was conducted with the help of Doctors at Veterinary Hospital Bandipore on 24-02-2008.
xxxii) A Baseline survey for drug addiction and control was conducted by the organization in the month of May 2008 in association with doctors for SDH Bandipore and representatives of other line departments…

OFFICIAL ADDRESS OF THE ORGANISATION

Kashmir Environmental Protection Co-ordination Organization (KEPCO)
Head Office : Main Chowk Bandipore
Distt. Bandipore Kashmir (J&K), India-193502
Ph: 9906518782, 9906696564

Email: kepco_bpr@yahoo.co.in

Chairman: Syed Niyaz Ahmad (9906518782)
PG Ecology & Environment
PG Sustainable Development

Gen Secretary : Basharat Saleem
PGD Ecology & Environment
PG Education

Spokesman: Taha Mubashir (9906696564)
PG Ecology & Environment
PG Islamic Studies

Legal Advisor : Sameer
L.L.B

1 comment:

R.K. said...

Being a Kashmiri settled in Delhi since1986, I deeply miss the early morning fragrances of my native place Aragam bandipore. But i now understand from my friends that the very same fragrances have changed to choking Pollution in that area because of heavey deforestation. It is good to know that you have initiated this mission . If I can be of any help to save my nativeland, it would be my pleasure.