The diabolical proxy war unleashed by Pakistan in Kashmir can never ever succeed in affecting its sheer bewitching and enchanting beauty, flora and fauna. Much, however, is in our hands, at all levels, to preserve it, to sustain it and to enrich it. In most of the cases, this paradise is under tremendous strain due to our utter callous and outlandish attitude towards it. Preserving and caring for environment is thought to be the headache of the Government only instead of all of us who should be acting as prescient observers and watchdogs of the environment related issues. Taking a serious view of the prevailing situation, the Chief Justice of J&K High Court Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed today called upon Judges to pass prompt orders in accordance with the law whenever encroachments of wetlands, river systems and plundering of environment (related resources) come before them. He was addressing one day sensitization programme on “Forest and Wildlife Conservation including laws dealing with birds and wetland conservation” organized by J&K State Judicial Academy in Srinagar.
Mahatma Gandhi had well said for us, “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs but not every man’s greed”. The lakes, wetlands, springs, rivers, forests, water bodies and the like are mercilessly disregarded, if not plundered in the absolute sense. In fact, we tend to arrogate in recklessly exploiting the environment and then behave and act pugnaciously if criticized or exposed as if that was our guaranteed right. The Chief Justice in his observation was quite sharp and even acerbic in saying that we should not make hell of this paradise. He observed, “We are living in paradise and it is our duty to preserve this diversity, not only in Kashmir but in Jammu and Ladakh as well, Judges must be sensitized that cases relating to wildlife, wetlands, animals and birds are equally important and whenever cases of encroachment of wetlands and river systems come before the Courts, Judges should be vigilant and pass prompt orders in accordance with law.” The Chief Justice further observed,” Forests and wetlands are very essential and the floods of 2014 are inter connected to what is happening around us. Dal Lake is not shrinking only but the volume of its water has got definitely reduced because of sewage and silt and this has resulted in a complete change in the biodiversity”.
We must continuously keep ourselves on the ball and perhaps the extent of damage done can hardly be reversed but the bells for course correction are ringing rather very much loudly which warrant to preserve whatever is left now and never allow a situation whereby environment is endangered. Pointing towards this cardinal reality of the situation, the Chief Justice aptly observed, “Whatever has been done has been done and whatever is left has to be preserved .In so far wetlands are concerned, I find that J&K is blessed with great diversity.”
The concerns for protecting and preserving the environment were equally expressed by other speakers as well who unequivocally impressed upon the dire need to whet our efforts to protect the “paradise”, to save the environment from degradation, to save the water bodies and equally the wild life and birds etc. In this connection, it was made clear that the changing pace of the environment was so fast that in order to keep the law on the same “wave length”, either they had to be amended quite frequently to meet the new challenges or they had to be given new directions by the judicial interpretation. It, therefore, implies that the policies adopted and the decisions taken by the Government must not remain on papers only but they should be implemented strictly. The laws which need review and amends must be accorded due priority so that the natural bounty or the paradise was not allowed to be malevolently violated.