Six years back State Government had initiated formulating first ever Environment Policy of Jammu and Kashmir. We have rich forest wealth which is the gift of nature. But are we protecting this gift and are we making it sure that it is not degenerated? The harsh truth is that we are careless about environment and we are allowing it to degenerate not through natural instrumentality but by our own selfish deeds. This question was raised in the Assembly and in reply the Minister of Forest repeated the rhetoric that the matter is receiving the attention of the Government and the process is going on. In these columns we had already taken up the issue and warned the Government that degradation of environment was a serious matter that was going to adversely affect the health and well being of the people of the State.
The State Pollution Board constituted a Technical Committee in 2011 to examine the matter and submit a report. The Technical Committee discussed the issue and constituted a sub-committee under Member Secretary, State Pollution Control Board. But by a quirk of destiny before the sub-committee would end its report, all files and papers pertaining to the subject were destroyed by the floods in 2014 in Srinagar. This rendered the sub-committee helpless and it has not been able to send in any report. Thereafter neither the Technical nor the sub-committee has been able to submit any report and the matter is hanging fire.
Agreed that the files were destroyed in the flood in Srinagar Secretariat, the question is that should life and its business stop with that. The administration does not come to standstill with that. The Pollution Control Board is duty bound to find the ways and means of how environment can be conserved and saved from degradation. Flood cannot be an excuse for stopping to move further. We hope that the Technical as well as sub-committee will resume their work without delay. The question of formulating Environment Policy should be taken up on war footing because further degeneration of environment would mean great hazards for the people.