Paradise – that  is changing into hell

In an editorial note, the daily Uqab writes that Kashmir, once called paradise is fast changing into hell, a place that would not be fit for living. The pressure of population, changes in the way of living, and greed and negligence have all contributed towards its decline. Forests, water bodies, tourist places, have been adversely affected.

Excerpts:

 

Environmental Degradation:

“Kashmir ‘was’ a beautiful valley, full of streams, lakes, springs, brooks and fountains, where there ‘were’ Chinar trees, gardens replete with flowers, vast orchards and hills that would captivate your heart. All this is visibly there, but tragedy is that everything is at the last stage of decline. Our generation that is in its last phase, that has seen the earlier ‘picture’ of Kashmir, finds a different, situation now. They (the elder generation) had seen that Dal lake whose clear sparkling water they would drink. But today caution is exercised for taking vegetables grown on Dal lake and its fish, lest there are toxic substances in that. The generation had seen streams and brooks and ducks swimming in these. But these are not visible these days. In the old city of Srinagar, there was a net work of streams connected with Nala Mar. Anantnag literally means ‘countless springs’ of course, there were springs in Anantnag, spread over the region. The people would use the water of these springs, and water of some springs could be used for treatment of some ailments. There were gardens, orchards, trees, and greenery everywhere. But with the advancement of time, extraordinary increase in population and change in the way of living of people changed the beauty of Kashmir rather adversely. Gulmarg and Pahlgam, known world over for their beauty, lost their grace and beauty because of construction of hotels in a haphazard manner. Dal Lake, whose area was 50 sq kms has been reduced to 20sq kms. From one corner of the lake you could look across to the other corner, but has now got compartmentalized (or partitioned) because of buildings and abundance of houseboats”.

 

The Construction Boon:

 

“The process of illegal constructions, inspite of government policy of cleaning the lake of other encroachments, is still going on. Money, not in crores, but in arabs (billions) was spent to protect Dal lake. But the condition of lake, instead of improving became worse. Due to increase in population vast gardens were changed into residential colonies. The people of rural areas migrated towards Srinagar, and because of dense habitation or colonies, Srinagar lost its open space, Historical sites got lost, and unplanned constructions created many problems. Shopping complexes were created, illegally; chinar trees vanished. A new Srinagar came into existence – which is neither ancient nor modern. The towns also faced a similar situation. A master plan had been formulated, but how and when it is implemented, is not known. Multi-storeyed buildings are being constructed over the banks of Jhelum, and all the sewage and rubbish will go into Jhelum. There are no sewage and drainage systems, though millions of rupees have been spent. There is no accountability, no planning, no order, no system. Srinagar has become one of the dirtiest cities of the country. Forests have been ‘cleared’ – destroyed. Environmental pollution has engulfed Kashmir. The so called paradise is changing into hell. Nobody is bothered, neither government nor people. Talking of smart city. Forget it. Not only Srinagar, whole of Kashmir won’t be a place worth living soon.”

 

[Courtesy: Urdu daily  Uqab, Srinagar, Kashmir;  October 10, 2018].

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