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.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Strictly for Kashmiri Cuisine Aficionados

Hopefully Kashmiris will realize that the looming disaster is much more than simply shrinking water bodies and degrading environment

Nadroo Production Decreases in Wular

\Sheikh Saleem (Rising Kashmir)

Srinagar: Once known for Nadroo (lotus stem) production, Asia’s largest fresh water lake Wular has stopped producing Nadroo due to the growing pollution and encroachment. The extinction of Nadroo has taken toll on livelihood of thousands as people who lost their ancestral work.The Nadroo extractors and contractors have either switched to other jobs or have been rendered jobless.

Around 30000 people, living on the banks of Wular were dependent on the Nadroo production of the lake. “In early 90s, we were selling tons of Nadroo but now not a single lotus is seen in the lake,” said Ali Mohammad, a Nadroo-grower. Attributing the extinction of this valuable Kashmiri cuisine to growing pollution in the lake, the Nadroo extractors said the marshy land of the lake was encroached upon by people and the government alike.

Nadroo-is a lotus stem grown in marshy lands. According a report of Wetland international-South Asia, lake vegetation sustains livelihood of 24150 households forming 29 percent of total lakeshore population.

Data collected from the rural appraisal indicated an abundance of vegetation, particularly Nadroo during 1950s, which provided income base to 75 – 80% of the population. However, the availability of Nadroo has decreased by 56% during the last fifty years owing to reduction in lake area, siltation and decline in water quality.

The report that was published in June 2007 said analysis of trend data on availability and dependence indicates drastic changes in vegetation resources over the last fifty years. “Kashmiri Nadroo is famous in India where the market was good for the Nadroo business, but the growing pollution proved a slaughter for our ancestral trade,” said Ghulam Hasan an erstwhile nadroo extractor. Though the people dependent on the Lake were hopeful as the government of India announces beautification and drudging of Wular, but six years have passed government has failed to even remove the encroachment.

According to a survey conducted by government, various government and private agencies have encroached about 62,232 kanals of land in past decade. Most of the land is under willow plantation. The plantation has been done by the forest department and social forestry. Interestingly the government has failed to implement the orders of removing encroachments orders issued five years back in 2006.

Due to extinction of Nadroo from the Wular the dependents on Wular have now switched on to other jobs thus losing their ancestral work. “The communities have gradually switched over from Nadroo to trapa collection, “said Iftikar Rasheed, an environmentalist.

Environmental experts have constantly warned in the last few years that lake is fast dying. The encroachment has taken toll on the production of vegetation and fish in the lake. “The encroachment on the lake has changed dramatically over the years, thus there occurs immediate change in the fish production,” said Iftikar Ahmad Wani, an environmentalist.

As government earlier used to issue tenders for the auction of Nadroo extraction but a government official said from past few years department have stopped to issue auction notice.

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