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, September 10, 2009

Given What is the Situation is, Dal Lake has a Short Life

The accumulating silt is snuffing the lake out

Dal Lake’s age mere 355 years; Report

Srinagar: At least 61,000 tons of silt is deposited every year in the Dal Lake and the life expectancy of the lake is mere 355 years, a study by University of Roorkee has revealed.

The Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the Conservation and Management of Dal-Nigeen Lakes has been prepared by Alternate Hydro Energy Centre of the University of Roorkee, which mentions the various facts about the Dal Lake.

“The soil is driven towards the lake from the six catchments areas falling in close proximity with the lake,” the report says.

The experts had conducted Radiometric Dating Technique and estimated the life expectancy of the lake at 355 years based on the siltation and sedimentation of the lake bed from its catchment areas.

Sources said that the project report was prepared nine years back but so far no action has been initiated by the state government on this front.

“According to the assessment, the annual soil loss to the Dal Lake works out to be 61,000 tones which is equivalent to 2.7 millimeters a year uniformly spread in the Dal Lake,’’ the report’s Catchment Management segment says. “This works out the expected life of Dal Lake to be 355 years”.

The DPR has put the total catchment around Dal Lake at 33,000 hectares and divides it into six zones which include Lake Hillside, Dal Lake, City Area, Chhatrahama, Dara and Dachigam.

Interestingly, in the year 2000, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests had assigned the job of preparing a DPR as a step towards saving the Dal and Nagin Lakes.
The report includes various components like the sewerage and sewage treatment, solid waste management, relocation and rehabilitation of lake dwellers and catchment management plan. It has an elaborate chapter on each of these components and had a separate chapter on the proposed interventions.

The report says that the degradation of the catchment area is an important factor leading to various problems in the fresh water lakes and proposes appropriate catchment management plan to help save Dal and the adjoining Nigeen Lake.

“The main objective of the catchment management plan is to check soil erosion and degradation process in the catchment area and thus arrest and bring down the sediment and nutrient flow to the lake to its minimum,” the report explains.

The experts have advised several immediate proposals to arrest the silt flow into the lake which includes, Restoration of degraded forests through plantation, contour hedgerows and in-situ moisture conservation.

“Fuel, wood and fodder plantation of indigenous exotic species, Drainage line treatment through properly designed structures such as check dams, R.C.C. drop structures, Retards, Gabions, Stone walls, Trenching, Fencing, Water Tanks and Troughs and Wetting, Forage production through Silvi-pasture, pasture development and on-farm fodder development and beneficiary participation through entry point activities,” the report says are some of the measures that need to be taken.

The report says that the catchment’s topography and relief affects the drainage system, land, soil, vegetation, settlement pattern, occupation and type of land use, all of which have profound impact on the lake ecosystem. ( Rising Kashmir News)

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