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, January 24, 2009

Impact of Waste Waters on the Vegetational Pattern of the Dal and Nageen Lakes

Professor Majeed Kak shares the Abstract of his proposal that was recently awarded a major research grant from the University Grants Commission (UGC) New Delhi

(Dr. A. Majeed Kak, 63, was born and in Nowhatta, Srinagar. He received his primary education from the Government Middle School in Nowhatta and his secondary school education from Bagi Dilawar Khan Higher Secondary School in Fateh Kadal. He completed his college education at the Islamia College of Science and Commerce in Srinagar. In 1977 he was the first candidate from the University of Kashmir to be selected by the University Grants Commission (UGC) of the Government of India for a doctoral research scholarship at the university leading to a Ph.D. in Botany in 1980. He is currently the Research Coordinator in the Department of Botany at the Islamia College of Science and Commerce in Srinagar. Dr. Kak has over 35 years of teaching experience and research experience of over 25 years. He has received numerous research awards resulting in publication of 70 research papers and has authored two books on Botany. He is presently engaged in promoting and strengthening local and regional museums, a project supported by a grant from the Ministry of Culture, New Delhi.)

Aquatic weeds of Kashmir (J&K State) constitute a free crop of great potential value- a high productive crop that requires no tillage, fertilizers, seeds or cultivation. These plants have potential for exploitation as human and animal food, soil additives and fuel production besides a number of many other uses.

Two decades before all the lakes were thoroughly investigated. (Kak, 1985, 1997) and about 196 aquatic species recorded were identified, described, documented and preserved. Twenty-two new plants were recorded for the first time either from the Northern Himalayas or from India. Five new species were added to the Science as no vo.

During the recent past it was observed that large number of the species once growing abundantly in our lakes have dwindled and reached to near extinction and many of the species are recent introductions. Increase of some eutrophic aquatic weeds depicts change in the environmental complex, also the rapid process of eutrophication of our pride lakes (Dal and Nageen).

The significant change in the vegetational pattern of the Dal Lake and their prolific growth in the open areas were attributed to effluents from settlements and hotels. Presence of heaps of cow dung and garbage on the lake margins and the enrichment of waters with nutrients like N P K. Many other activities in and around the Dal and Nageen have increased the chemical parameters like, conductivity, chloride content, total alkalinity, total dissolved salts and sulphates.

Our main objective is to reinvestigate the macrophytic flora of both these lakes critically, We are working to have the complete checklist of all the existing species, and to record the number of the species that have totally vanished or are near extinction and those which are invasive or introduced by the human interference, visitors, migratory birds etc. Some immature scholars by just comparing the species with the illustrations without studying morphologically provide wrong information and great confusion, can defame us at international level, so the critical analysis of all the existing macrophytes of the valley is the dire need at present. Azolla, which was never recorded in the history of Kashmir lakes, is now in thick covers for the past three years and has created an alarming situation to the underwater life (both plants and animals ).naturally in a couple of years will change the whole aspect of our privileged lakes. We are studying the possible ways of its eradication or to keep it under control, its dominance and impact on our lake vegetation can also be critically studied. We also intend to record the impact of deweeding and drudging on our macrophytic vegetation, besides recording the extent of pollution in water and its effect on overall macrophytic vegetation.

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