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, November 5, 2009

Next Impending Crisis: Water Supply

State Government admits a lax attitude towards impending water crisis

Kashmir heading towards major water crisis, meters being installed

Srinagar: People in Kashmir Valley will face major water crisis in near future as water level in all the rivers, including Jehlum and Sindh and their tributaries, streams and ponds has come down considerably due to dry weather in the absence of Western Disturbances (WD) that influence the climate here.

Meanwhile, the government has decided to install water meters and charge the consumers according to water consumed as was being done during the rule of Maharaja before 1947.

All the rivers, streams, ponds and some springs have almost dried up and there is no alternative but to pray to God for early rains, Public Health Engineering, Flood Control and Irrigation Minister Taj Mohiuddin said.

Admitting that the government was not ready to face the situation, Taj said there has been no rain for the past several months, leading to considerable decrease in the water level in Jehlum, Sindh and their tributaries and other streams and ponds.

Almost all our water schemes in Kashmir Valley and Jammu division are affected due to non-availability of water because the water sources have dried up, he said.

Taj said Dachigam water source to Nishat plant, which feeds to most down-town, Shehar-e-Khas and other areas in the city and outskirts has just three percent to five percent water.

“To meet the situation, we had to bring water to Nishat plant from Sindh,” he said adding “we also lifted water from the Dal Lake.”

The minister said Alisteang IInd and Doodganga IInd Water Supply Schemes (WSS) are ready which will also help to meet the crisis. The water crisis will be over in Srinagar by these two schemes, he claimed.

However, he said it may take some more time to fully lay the pipes in the areas for which these schemes were constructed. “We had to construct a bridge at Shalteang to take the 24 inch pipe line to other side of the river,” he added.

However, he said, if there would be no rains in the near future these two schemes will also face crisis. People in Jammu and Kashmir should remain ready to face water crisis if there would be no rains, the minister warned.

He said the government is providing water to different areas through water tanker service. However, there are some hilly areas where the tanker service is not possible, he said adding the government is taking measures to provide tube wells wherever possible.

The minister said the ground water level has also decreased which is a great concern to all.

Appealing to the people for judicious use of water, Taj said there is already a Water Act in place in the state under which those found violating it would be punished.

“We do not want to change the people by force but educate them that water is a commodity which cannot be imported like power and others,” he said adding “if we will act and change ourselves now we can save the water for our future generations.”

The minister said a litre of water costs Re one to the department while the Water Works Department (WWD) charges just Rs 360 annually from a consumer for unlimited water used by them.

He said for washing a car, a consumer wastes 500 litres, which simply means Rs 500 to the department. But, he said, the consumer who misuses the water never understands this though wastage of water is also prohibited by all religions.

Taj said to stop the misuse of water, it has been decided to install water meters. “We will be providing 40 liters per person on present rates but after that the rates will be six times high per litre of water consumed extra,” he informed.

The Minister said there were water meters and consumers were being charged according to water consumed by them in pre-1947 period.

(Kashmir Images)

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