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.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wildlife and Fisheries Department Spar While Wular Goes Barren

Actually, neither Department is right; Fish population is dying because Wular Lake is getting steadily polluted

Wildlife and Fisheries Deptt at loggerheads over dwindling fish population in Wular

Mir Tariq (Rising Kashmir)

Banadipora: The depletion in fish population in Asia’s famous Wular Lake has sparked a row between Fisheries and Wildlife Department. While the former has asserted that migratory birds feeding on lake’s fish have become a major cause of depleting fish population, Wildlife officials say that the number of fish-eating migratory birds has itself witnessed a decline during past few years.

After Rising Kashmir reported depleting fish habitat in Wular, officers in district fisheries office Bandipora have come up with a statement that the depletion is more pronounced in winter months - October to March during which the lake plays host to fish eating migratory birds.

“There is depletion in fish population due to two main reasons, one is growing pollution and another is arrival of migratory birds in Wular Lake” said District Fisheries Officer (DFO) Muhammad Sadeeq.

Officials say that they are making all out efforts to maintain the fish population in the Lake.
“Though the department is trying to enhance fish population by introducing resistant fish eggs in the Lake but we have not been able to cope up with the situation,” added Sadeeq.

“Controlling growing pollution and regulating the arrival of migratory birds can be effective in enhancing fish population,” the officer said.

However officers in the department of Wild Life say that less number of migratory birds visit wetlands of Kashmir now due to swift changes in climate.

In a telephonic interview, Wild Life Warden (WLW) North Kashmir Ghulam Muhammad denied fewer migratory birds as the cause of depleting fish population in Wular Lake.

According to WLW the migratory birds are fish eaters, but their number has gone down steeply in Wular wetland due to growing climatic changes. “Few thousand migratory birds cannot be blamed for the main cause of depleting fish population in Wular,” WLW said.

A field employee of Wild Life department deputed at Wular wet land said “I am working here for the past eight years and have noticed less number of migratory birds visiting this place.” “Though fish is the main food of these birds, but few thousand birds cannot reduce fish population to such an extent,” the employee adds.

Officials in Fisheries Department negate the point and say that even 20,000 birds are enough to have substantial affect on Lake’s fish population. “As per rough estimates, each bird eats nearly 25 fish every day and even if 5,000 of them stay here for six months, it adds up to nearly 45 lakh fish. This decline is consequential,” said Muhammad Sadeeq DFO Bandipora. “The condition is worsening due to growing pollution in the lake” DFO added.

Substantiating the repots of Fisheries department experts from Karnataka Veterinary and Fisheries University working on project “Depleting Fish and Pollution in Wular” said, “We have noticed that the fish population reduces to half during winter season and fish is the only food source for migratory birds who visit the Lake from September to March.”

“There is an immense influence of migratory birds on fish population in Wular Lake and it can be balanced only when Wildlife department participates in adding more fish seeds in the lake for consumption of migratory birds,” said a scholar Mansoor Ahmed Rather working on the project.

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