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, September 7, 2012

It Stinks - Do You Know Why?

Water pollution and poor sanitation are two sides of a same coin

J&K Lacks Water Pollution Policy

Asem Mohiuddin (Kashmir Times)

Srinagar: While the ever increasing water pollution and poor sanitation arrangements has emerged as the major concern in Jammu and Kashmir state, the state government has failed to conduct any survey or study to make an assessment of chemical and bio-diversity indicators causing pollutions to the water bodies.

The documents available with Kashmir Times reveal that the state is lacking any comprehensive study to check the various types of pollutions in water bodies and measures to stop it.

“The government has not done any study to identify the wetlands where the aquatic species and human health are facing any pollution threat due to water pollutions,” the documents claim.

The documents further disclose that there is no policy in place to study the water pollutions.

“Programmes for prevention and control of water pollution, Policy for water pollution and constitution of water quality review committee have also not been formed,” it adds.

The documents read that there is no study being done by the state government to make the assessment of water quality to check the chemical and bio-diversity indicators causing pollution to the water bodies. The state is also lacking the study of water contamination and impact of human activities on these water bodies.

Following the failure of government to preserve the water bodies, the quality and quantity of water of lakes and rivers has adversely been affected.

The state has no ready study or survey available to prove the various types of pollutions contracted by the water bodies including rivers and lakes.

The documents suggest that as per the survey of 2005-06 conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) 241.79 millions liters of sewerage per day in A class and B class cities of the state has no treatment capacity available, therefore posing major threat to the water bodies and wetlands.

However, the documents said that the 17.14 crore “Jehlum River Action Plan” under National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) sponsored by the Government of India Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) couldn’t take off following the delay in submission of utilization certificate till November 2009 by Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA).

“LAWDA furnished the Utilization Certificate (UC) in November 2009 but funds were not transferred till date from MoEF. As a result, the project did not take off and deprived the state of Rs 17.14 crore project,” the documents read.

Stating that LAWDA is not dealing with the project, its chairman Irfan Yasin said that they are not responsible for the delay in receiving the funds.

“We have no knowledge of the project; even the rivers are not falling under LAWDA. So we have nothing to do with the project,” he told Kashmir Times.

Pertinently, the Government of India in its annual report titles as “Water Pollution in India” expressed concerns over the declining water quality of world famous Dal Lake.

The report has revealed that failure of LAWDA to arrest the discharge and run-off from catchment areas led to the decline in water quality.

It has also said that the local fish qualities also witnessed the sharp decline and new species of weed like Azolla has engulfed its larger part.

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