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.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Saving Dal (yet Another Attempt)

Can technology overwhelm gross decay caused by humans?

LAWDA’s Tryst with Experimentations

Arif Shafi Wani (Greater Kashmir)

Srinagar: In a bid to check blooming of harmful Algal blooms, a cause of Dal lake’s deterioration, the authorities have started experiments using the latest electronic gadgets.

The scientists of the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) have started testing the sophisticated equipment, Septo Sonic near the Northern Foreshore Road which is the lake’s vulnerable area for sprouting of the Algal blooms.

Pertinently the Algal blooms block the sunlight damaging the lake flora and fauna and affects aesthetics of the water body. Due to unabated flow of sewage, there has been significant changes in the vegetational patterns of the lake. Studies have revealed that the increased pollution has contributed to the extinction of fresh water aquatic species imperative for lake conservation.

The senior scientist of LAWDA, Dr Sabah-ul-Salim said the equipment, Septa Sonic releases the ultrasonic waves which are designed to only affect the Algal blooms.

“Algal blooms usually sprout with the increase in temperature. We will be carrying extensive testing of equipment in different temperatures at-least for 3-4 months to check its efficacy,” he said.

Procured for testing purposes from a Mumbai based-company, the highlight of the Septo Sonic was that it can function on solar power and withstand climatic conditions of Kashmir. Officials quoting the Company experts maintained that Septo Sonic had proved efficient to check Algae and other blooms in small lakes and ponds in many states.

Officials said the equipment’s results will be submitted to the LAWDA’s Scientific Advisory Committee and included in the lake conservation after its approval.

Incidentally the Government a few years had introduced the Common Carp or Chinese Carp fish in the Dal to guzzle the weeds, lily pads and other pollutants. “However, it had negative affects on the lake. The Common Carp has outnumbered the Kashmir’s native fish Schizothorax and failed to check the weed infestation. We have to be careful while introducing new methods to address the lake’s ecological problems,” Dr Sabah said maintained.

The LAWDA vice-chairperson, Irfan Yaseen, said he has been encouraging new measures to restore the lake’s glory.

“Besides conventional methods were are also evaluating use of alternative and proven measures to save the lake. We will put the new technology to through testing before its formal approval,” he said.

Yaseen said the department had installed aerators at various places across the lake. “Besides improving circulation, the aerators have been able to control infestation of harmful water ferns in the lake,” he said.

He said negotiations were on with a US-based company, which is considered to be a pioneer in conservation of highly polluted water bodies.

Earlier last year, LAWDA had conducted experiments to check out feasibility of a process called bio-remediation where various species of bacteria were infused into the Dal for clearing its harmful effluents. But the plan was shelved as the scientists found it unfeasible for the lake.

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