Let’s Protect

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In our quest to make money and get rich overnight we have sped up exploitation of our natural resources, leaving environment in shambles.

In last two decades Pahalgam and Gulmarg, Kashmir’s two most frequented tourist locations, were turned in to mess. Despite court ban and strict guidelines from environmentalists that putting too much burden on these twin tourist hubs can have adverse impact on their ecology, there is no stopping for illegal construction.

If you have visited Pahalgam in the recent past, the first thing that would catch your eye is a large ugly line of concrete structures that now shadow the once famed Lidder River front. This place is called Yanner. It is said that a very influential person, who is well connected politically and knows his way around the system, was the first person to flout building rules around Lidder. Rest is history. It took less than a year for some 150 odd structures to dwarf the small and beautiful dwelling that compromised Yanner village. The village is now lost in the background while land mafia inches closer to Lidder with every passing day. How come nobody takes notice of this day light violation is beyond a common man’s comprehension. But with politicians and big businessmen and so-called respectable citizens of our society involved neck deep into this murky business, who will point fingers at whom? The situation is so grave in Pahalgam now that if measures are not taken quickly then soon this famed picnic spot will be lost forever. There won’t be anything left for tourists to see except large concrete buildings. If government is serious about preserving environment then they must make Pahalgam and Gulmarg as examples for violators. Let us start ‘back to nature’ movement where violators are made to demolish illegal structures and told to restore the land to its original form.

Gulmarg is no different. In last two decades this beautiful meadow has became recreational spot for Indian forces who annex nearby forests inch by inch under the garb of securing it from threats!

Some of the most scenic spots in Gulmarg are now inaccessible for locals. It is the army that rules the place literally. One can see large, ugly, and aesthetically incorrect structures erected by the army amidst beautiful meadows for its warfare school. This school, which is build on a huge patch of forest land, looks more like a garrison failing to gel with the nature surrounding it. But the worst part is that Gulmarg is fast losing its sheen because of excessive human intervention round the year.

According to media reports around 176 acres of land is under army’s occupation in Gulmarg. They have raised new structures in the area defying all environmental or local administration guidelines.

If not preserved properly soon Kashmir will be nothing but a messy jungle which attracts none!

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