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.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

This is Not a Trevi Fountain

Do you know that water through fountains of Rome (including the famous Trevi) is hygienically portable? How about recently constructed fountains in Srinagar?

Fountains in City Crave for Attention

Faiqa Masoodi (Rising Kashmir)

Srinagar: The fountains erected at several major junctions across the city have failed to add to the charm of the summer capital as they either remain off or shower stagnant water.

There are 12 major fountains at road junctions in the city. These include the one near Tourist Reception Centre, Karan Nagar, Rainawari and Pantha Chowk. The fountains were installed at various places across the city way back in year 2007 and a whooping Rs 20 lakh were spent on each fountain, sources within Srinagar Municipal Corporation said.

The fountains were a part of SMC’s drive to beautify the city. The existing fountains were also renovated and attractive lights were added to them. However, the ambitious project could not take flight and the fountains started “dying” due to one reason or the other.

Maintaining that the fountains have a great aesthetic importance, President Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Alliance (JKTA) said, “The fountains give a feeling of pleasure and relief to those who sit by its side whether they are tourists or locals. Their maintenance is must and the water used should be changed regularly. Same water can be reused but it should not be allowed to get stagnated.”

People say the water is not drained out from the fountains for days together.

“Mere decoration won’t help as fountains need proper maintenance. Sitting around these fountains which otherwise should be relaxing gives a feeling of displeasure as bad smell emanates from them always. The pools around fountains are filled with all sorts of garbage. Not a single dustbin can be seen near any fountain,” said Tasleem Ahmad, a student.

SMC Commissioner, G N Qasba said he has no knowledge about the time gap after which the water for the fountains is changed. “I have no knowledge which water is used in the fountains. I will confirm the reasons for non-functioning of fountains from the concerned officials,” said Qasba.

Meanwhile, Joint Commissioner SMC, Fayaz Ahmad Bala said there are some technical problems which at times cause inconvenience. “All fountains in water do not fall under SMC jurisdiction and some are under the Department of Floriculture also. At times the motor pumps of these fountains get heated up so we have to stop them. We are trying to work out all wrongs in fountains,” said Bala.

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