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.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Let the Good Times Roll

Gowhar provides an interesting statistic regarding food preferences in Kashmir

(Mr. Gowhar Bhat, 26, was born in Srinagar and attended Sri Pratap College in Srinagar. He received his degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Kashmir University in March 2007. He is employed as a journalist by the Greater Kashmir Communications Group headquartered in Srinagar, Kashmir.)

Per Capita Meat Consumption is Highest in JK

Srinagar: The Kashmir Valley consumes a whopping 340.32 lakh kilograms of mutton annually, a large chunk of which is imported, minister for animal and sheep husbandry, Aga Syed Ruhullah Wednesday said.

Responding to a question raised by member legislative council, M Y Taing in the upper house here today, the minister said the annual figures of the quantity of mutton consumed in the Valley, including Ladakh, stood at 340.32 Lakh Kilograms.

Of these, he said, 210 lakh kilograms were imported from various Indian states while the remaining 130.32 lakh kilograms come from the local market. In reply to a query about the steps taken to increase production locally, chief minister, Omar Abdullah, who was also present in the house, seconded Ruhullah and said the government was taking several measures to discourage the imports and at the same time to increase production locally.

“Our state has the highest per capita meat consumption in the country and is therefore a potential meat market. But we haven’t stressed on the local production as a result of which we have to import it from other states like Rajasthan,” Omar said.

He said the government has intentionally levied taxes on the sheep and poultry being imported into the Valley. “We don’t want to make the mutton costly but we want to discourage the importing trend,” he said, adding that the taxes collected thereby would be made available to animal and sheep husbandry department to encourage local production.

While presenting the budget 2009-10 in the assembly on Monday, the minister for finance, Abdul Rahim Rather had proposed an increase on toll tax on poultry birds from Rs two per bird to Rs five per kilogram besides enhancing the toll tax on import of sheep and goat by Rs 10 per head.

Asked if the slaughter houses at Srinagar and Jammu were having scientific disposal system, Ruhullah responded negatively.

“But there be scientific disposal system and we are looking into it. Two abattoirs are coming up at Wanihama in Srinagar and in Jammu for which the funds have been provided by ministry of food processing… and they are almost complete,” he said

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