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.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Public-Private Partnership for Cleaning up Nageen Lake is Long Overdue

The state that enjoys per-capita consumption rate among the highest in India can afford to contribute finances towards societal issues like environmental degradation

Operation Clean Up for Nageen Lake Begins

Srinagar: The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries Saturday offered to adopt the Brari Nambal lagoon to help clean it up. This was a announced by the President of The KCCI, Dr Mubeen Shah at the inaugural function of Operation Clean up organized by the Nageen Lake Conservation Organization (NLCO).

Principal Secretary to Chief Minster, Khurshid A Ganai who was the chief guest on the occasion appreciated the work done by NLCO and said, Saving the environment is not the job of the government alone, it requires a joint effort on part of all sections of the society from the School children to business men to religious leaders. This is what NLCO has achieved. I visited the peripheries and Pokhri-bal and the NLCO has done a commendable work by removing the polythenes from natural springs in the area. Referring to the failure of the previous ban on polythene which had been put in place by the SMC, he said. The previous ban failed because there were no alternatives available. Polythene cannot be banned successfully until and unless there are alternatives available. There need to be effective alternatives like Jute bags and paper bags to replace them.

The Registrar of Kashmir University, Prof. Syed Fayaz, who was representing the university at the function said, The Dal and Nigeen lakes are our neighbours and we will extend all support to help save these lakes. The Kashmir University has always taken a pro active role in saving the environment he said and added that KU will support all initiatives which are taken in this regard. Our VC Prof Riyaz Punjabi has already banned polythene in the campus and we are hopeful to take more steps in future which will help save our valuable heritage, he informed the audience . He informed the audience that Kashmir University has already formed a core group to save the precious body of the Dal lake and the group which has closely worked with LAWDAÂ is to submit its report to Vice chancellor soon, we will do every thing to save Dal lake which is our identity, he said.

The function had been organized for last ten days. The volunteers from National service scheme. Directorate of sports and physical education , and members of literary and cultural club participated in today event besides many schools and collages of the valley .

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Mubeen Shah said, we should make countries like Singapore our model, where nothing goes waste and waste management is an industry in itself. The need of the hour is to emulate them and start industries which deal with waste. We also need to encourage industries which can provide us with an alternatives to polythene like paper bag or cloth bag industries. Mufti Nazir Hashmi spoke about the importance of preserving the environment in light of Islamic values and teachings.

Commissioner, Srinagar Municipality, Khawaja Farooq Renzoo said. The SMC has played a very a pro-active role in helping clean up the Nigeen and we had involved the full team this time. But we need full support from civil society only then can we change the city and make it among the best in the world He further said, If we can clean up Nigeen Lake in these few days we can save even the Anchar Lake. All it needs is efforts from our side

Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, who was the guest of honor on the occasion said that banning polythene is a matter of will, People who take refuge by saying that banning polythene will increase unemployment need to be told that even narcotics supports a large number of people but that does not justify its existence.

(Kashmir Observer)

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