JK News Today
There was a deafening noise in the Central Hall of the state legislature by the opposition parties protesting against what they believed the PDP-BJP government stood for , but not even a single thought was spared for a huge crisis staring at the 12.5 million people of the state- catastrophic water crisis . The rivers in the state are dying and there is no way to revive them because of the nexuses of various kinds .
Jhelum river is having the lowest water level. The river is lifeline of Kashmir Valley and many parts of Pakistan and it is facing a crisis of its own existence because of the low rainfall during summers, and a prolonged dry spell. These are the major issues that should concern each and every one in the state, particularly the Valley. Much of the irrigation of the agricultural fields , livelihood for fishermen , attraction for the tourists comes through the river.
It is an easier explanation to say that the river is facing consequences of the global climate change . True, when the glaciers are melting and the Antarctica is losing its identity with melting of the frozen masses , Jhelum and Kashmir cannot remain untouched . The snowfall is alarmingly low and with much less water content than what it used to be few years ago.
But there are some other very serious issues to which we have shut our eyes. The ruthless encroachment of the river bed from Verinag to Uri in the Valley before the river falls like a waterfall to Pakistan occupied Kashmir. Tree lines that were holding the rain water and snow are vanishing – a grand result of the human greed.
Kashmir needs to answer something more than that . It has been seen for the past nearly three decades that how the threat of guns was used to wipe out the forests . Timber smuggling, like the encroachments , is the best business of the unscrupulous elements during the period of disturbances . It has been so greater since 2008, followed by 2010 and the just ended 2016. The whole climate has changed . There is a need to study the impact of the petrol bombs, grenades and the pellet guns on the environment , which , tragically, is more than the losses that have already been inflicted on the people in the troubled Kashmir.
Indeed there is a nexus at all levels, between the politicians , encroachers , smugglers and others , but all this gets a natural shelter and excuse when the agitation erupts .
In 2016, the timber smuggling was at its peak, encroachments were made behind the shied of stone throwing. The clashes between stone-throwing protestors and forces took away the attention of the authorities from their original priorities . The “ resistance” movement or the law and order situation relegates everything to back ground. Search for the normalcy results in blindsiding of the loot of jungles and stealing of the water bodies for the construction of residential quarters and commercial establishments .
Slogan shouting and protest against “ killings” and political attention is a democratic right of the opposition , but when it becomes a disruption, the things become difficult to tame the forces stealing our water bodies, loot of jungles . The drying up Jhelum is not a wake up call. The disaster is staring at us and there are forces courting more of it.
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