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, September 5, 2009

Surprise! The CM gives a Major Speech on Protecting Environment

But the speech at a Seminar could end up as rearranging furniture on the Titanic if words are not followed by swift action

CM for comprehensive environmental protection policy

Leh: Expressing concern about climate change and global warming, Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, Friday laid stress on evolving a comprehensive environmental protection policy based on scientific studies.

"Our water bodies, glaciers, forests, fauna and flora are under constant threat by our own uncalled for interference with the nature. If the trend is not reversed the life process on the blue planet would come to a standstill," he said.

Addressing the function after inaugurating a three-day seminar on global warming, Omar said that large involvement of people is required to address the environment related problems.

"We have to look for safeguarding the green wealth of the state by all means".

The Chief Minister said that nature has bestowed its choicest blessings upon the state in the form of snow capped mountains, flower meadows, lush green pastures, dense forests and numerous sources of fresh water.

"We have to protect our wealth at all costs and encourage large scale deforestation", he said, adding that greenery is must for granary.

The seminar organised by the Himalayan Club is participated by scores of scientists, environmentalists, ecologists and experts on the subject are participating in the seminar to work out strategy to save the heritage of Himalayas and address the effects of global warming.

Omar said that besides government departments, NGOs in the field of environment and ecology have a great role to play in creating mass awareness about the climate change.

"We have to sensitise public at all levels and make them understand the ill effects of global warming, greatly caused by the air pollution, depletion of ozone level, forest degradation and depletion receding of glaciers and water sources," he said.

The Chief Minster appreciated the organisers for holding the seminar and underscored the need of such seminars and workshops regularly across the state. He expressed hope that the participants of the seminar will come up with some concrete suggestions to be implemented to contribute towards conserving and protecting the ecology and environment of the state.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Tourism, Nawang Rigzin Jora, said that the water depletion in various areas is due to the receding of glaciers and less snow fall during winters.

"Besides many other factors, air pollution and indiscriminate cutting of trees are the basic causes of global warming," he said and added that people's active participation in the protection and conservation of ecology and environment is imperative to arrest the problem.

Chairman, LAHDC, Leh Chering Dorje, the MOS Tourism, Aslam Wani, Political Advisor to Chief Minister, Devender Singh Rana, Executive Councilors of LAHDC, former Union Minister, P Namgyal, MLA, Nubra, Tsetan Namgyal and DC, Leh were present on the occasion. (Kashmir Times)

Protecting Environment (Kashmir Images)

The Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah has stressed on evolving a comprehensive environment protection policy on scientific basis in the wake of constant threat to the water bodies, glaciers, forests, fauna and flora of Jammu and Kashmir. It is true that while the world is awake to the environmental challenges, state of Jammu and Kashmir is yet to give the issue a serious thought.The environment talk here remains confined to seminars and debates but practically nothing is being done.

Had people in general and the government in particular any seriousness about the issue, Kashmir’s water bodies, including the famed Dal would have not been vanishing from the map. Jammu and Kashmir’s green cover is under constant threat and while government is not at all serious to save it, people on the other hand are hell bent to destroy, whatever of the green gold is left, for their petty benefits. The water bodies are shrinking, flora and fauna is taking a beating and even the glaciers are melting at a dangerous pace. These issues are of very serious nature and therefore need to be taken care of. Indifference towards environmental issues will prove disastrous for state’s future and therefore all the concerned - government, civil society and the people in general – need to wake up and contribute their bit for the protection of environment.

Chief Minister while stressing for a comprehensive environment protection policy during a seminar at Leh the other day has confessed that our water bodies, forests, glaciers, fauna and flora were under constant threat by our own uncalled for interference with the nature. That is true, it is this human interference that is posing big threat to the environment.

But question to be posed to the Chief Minister is that who is responsible for this? The respective governments in Jammu and Kashmir need to be blamed for environmental degradation. True, the people of the state too had been indifferent and at times ruthless to their environment but the major blame lies on the governments that be. It is the government that has to pull up its socks and lay out a comprehensive environment protection policy on scientific lines.

Till date, the state government has no such policy and therefore people only can’t be blamed for environmental degradation. Once government has a policy, it will have to approach to the civil society members and general masses.

On the environmental front, what is important is public awareness. People, particularly those living in the neighbourhod of forests and water bodies are the ones who government needs to take along. The government will have to undertake a massive afforestation project and ensure that more and more trees are planted all over and here also, instead of depending on bureaucratic figures and statistics, which always are fudged, the government need to reach out to the people directly and encourage them to plant trees.

Chief Minister needs to move ahead on this front and ensure that the policy, which he talks about, is in place without any further delay.

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