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, April 10, 2012

Not Dalgate, but "Dal-gate"

J&K Government takes bad governance to a new high

J&K Failed to Implement Its Own Report on Dal Lake

Srinagar: The IIT Roorkee report apart, the J-K government has failed to implement its own comprehensive 256-page report that was submitted in the legislative assembly. The report had shed light on the deteriorating condition of the lake and advised how to save the water body.

The report was submitted by a 13 member house committee under the chairmanship of Sadiq Ali to the legislative Assembly in 2002. The report emphasized on the preservation of the water bodies of Kashmir. It gave recommendations on how to save these reserves of water .But till date no work on these recommendations has been done. Even this report has not been able to make its way out of the assembly, due to unknown reasons.

One of the recommendations of the report was that an expert committee needs to be appointed which will act as a watch dog for the accomplishment of the said plan of the report and will look into its proper functioning. Also the report emphasized on the point that an action plan needs to be made functional which will look into the condition of these water bodies. But till now no such committee has come into existence which would clearly and specifically work for the preservation of Dal and other water bodies except LAWDA.

In fact on the same point one of the most active NGOs of the valley, Nigeen Lake Conservation Organization (NLCO) president, Manzoor Wagnoo said “There is a authority meant for conservation of Dal, Nigeen etc which is LAWDA but when it does work properly I think a committee should be there consisting of local people. It will help in having a civil eye on the working of government bodies,”

The report makes it mandatory to make the action plan practical and be enforced strictly by the authorities such as Lakes and Water Ways Development Authority (LAWDA). The report also talks about the increasing level of pollution and garbage in and around Dal. For this it recommends strong measures which will keep the levels of pollution and contamination under control.

The report also states that it is quite essential for the state of J-K to undertake strong investigation to take continuous assessment of the environment so that immediate steps are taken to maintain and protect it. Also the report emphasized on the point that it is quite necessary to make people aware about the condition of these water bodies and what the consequences of pollution will be on them.

Construction and demolition of the buildings in and around these water bodies should be done in accordance to a special code of conduct given by the government so that no illegal construction takes place as encroachment is one of the recommendations of the report, which till date has not been done. Though LAWDA has banned further construction in these areas, the period like curfew, strikes etc in Kashmir last year saw construction of many new houses and buildings. The report clearly states that the construction material is carried at night to avoid the governing eye.

Also the report pointed out to an important fact that only 7% of the sewage and dirt is treated in the sewage treatment plants, remaining 93% still finds its way into these water bodies. The report says that a certain plan needs to be made which will give suggestions about the treatment of this 93% of sewage.

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