Civil Society to seek compensation for Tosamaidan Degradation
Kashmir Centre for Social and Developmental Studies (KCSDS) has expressed deep concerns for continued and sharp deterioration of general quality of environment and ecology of Jammu & Kashmir state.
In statement issued on Saturday, in a round Table Conference chaired by Prof Hameedah Nayeem and attended by various state holders and civil society formations, the participants regretted the role of successive state governments whose policies or lack of proper planning led to degraded state of environment that we are face to face with.
The participants stressed on the need to maintain a balance has between environmental protection and developmental planning.
In the presentations made by Geo Scientists and other experts, it was revealed that the glaciers in past two decades have shrunk at an alarming rate of 20% which adversely affects the discharge and water table for usage. This has also badly affected the biodiversity of the state. In order to check further shrinkage, human traffic in upper Himalayan ranges needs to be considerably reduced and regulated by the authorities.
The conference stressed on promotion of Tourism in various tourist destinations only after proper environmental impact assessment and approval of Master plans by environmental experts and concerned civil society members.
The participants urged the state government to stop the unbridled promotion of religious tourism to shrines, mosques and temples in the most sacred and eco sensitive spots.
The participants deplored the presence of 12 out of a total 66 Field Firing Ranges in eco fragile state of Jammu and Kashmir. It was unanimously demanded that all these firing ranges should be shifted to some suitable places in India. Any attempt made to relocate these ranges within the state will equally be disastrous, hence opposed tooth and nail.
The participants noted with concern the attempts of the armed forces for unbridled construction of temples on forest land along Jammu- Srinagar Highway. It is intriguing that many places in Kashmir are being renamed in sync with Hindu mythology like “Somnath Deevar” near Athwajan.
It was unanimously agreed that a PIL will be filed by the Civil Society viz-a-viz Tosamaidan environmental degradation due to artillery exercises over a period of time and the compensation thereof.
The conference was attended, inter alia, by various civil society formations, tourist bodies, trade chambers, legal luminaries, environmental experts, geologists, columnist, prominent journalists, economic and financial experts.