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, July 22, 2011

Rich With Filth

"Earlier it was dogs, now it is filth."

Welcome to Stinky City of Srinagar

Bismah Malik

Garbage, garbage, every¬where, but not a proper place to dump! At least that is what seems to be the point of con-cern for Srinagar Municipal Corporation which has now engaged itself with the task of disposing off litter on any road which seems suitable to it. If earlier it were the Srinagar city outskirts which used to be the safe ground for garbage disposal, SMC does not now hesitate in dumping the litter on city roads. One is not too sur¬prised to see the garbage piles anywhere on a Srinagar road where it might even stay for days together. If initially, people were alone to blame for littering the environment, it is now the SMC safai karamcharis (employees) too who are a part and parcel of this irre¬sponsible garbage disposal mechanism.

The state of irresponsible and irregular mechanism of garbage disposal could be gauged from the fact that a few Kashmir University students perturbed with the garbage dumping at even the University gates have taken upon themselves to clear the University of the mess.

“Hazratbal area is easily one of the densely popu¬lated areas in the city being home to two big universities. Due to a huge population, SMC should have provided this area with more dustbins and also reserved a par¬ticular space for the dis¬posal of garbage. But such policing is nowhere in scene. There are huge garbage heaps near University gates. Due to unhygienic conditions prevailing around, Univer¬sity students are more prone to health disorders,” Asgar Ali, a Kashmir university student and an active envi¬ronmentalist said. People complaining of huge gar¬bage dumps being disposed in the vicinity of their neighborhood is especial¬ly more prevalent in city outskirts like Pampore where people say that due to odour and flies every¬where around, it has become a nuisance for people even to survive under such conditions.

“Earlier it were the dogs, SMC used to rid the Srinagar city off which were a source of health problems here and now these garbage heaps. There is literally no rule which could guides where exactly these dumping grounds should be located at. SMC does what is con¬venient to it without caring about the health of the people,” Abdul Salam, a Pampore resident asserted.

Garbage dumping pro¬cess, according to many locals has received a setback due to non compliance of duties by Safai Karamcha¬ris who are assigned the work of collecting trash from homes everyday. According to Srinagarites, even that does not happen on a regular mess.

“Initially, although there was a lot of consistency when it came to collecting garbage from the colony homes here, but now one hardly sees these Safai Karamcharis around. Srinagar is in a state of gar¬bage mess now and the credit largely goes SMC,” Aqeel, a downtown Srinagar resident said.

Plagued by the garbage dumps everywhere, the sight of roads is not pleasurable. “ During the time, when tourists are coming here in large numbers, garbage filled streets and lanes do not leave a good impression or do they? ”, asks Haya, a young activist.

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