Govt deptts treating directions of Committee on Environment as ‘trash’

Creation of Mubarak Mandi Development Authority suggested

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Feb 13: Showing disrespect to the State Legislature, majority of the Government departments have been treating as ‘trash’ the directions of the Committee on Environment of the Legislative Assembly during the past many years. Due to this environmental degradation has remained unchecked across the State and posing serious threat to water bodies, wetlands and tourist places, which otherwise have significant importance for tourism promotion.
“It is unfortunate that directions and observations given by the predecessor Environment Committees have not been taken seriously till date”, the latest Committee on Environment of the Legislative Assembly said in its report tabled in the just concluded Budget Session.
“The directions of the predecessor Environment Committees seem to have not been implemented by the concerned departments with the result the environmental concerns have not been taken care of properly”, the House Panel said, adding “there was no fun to constitute the House Committees if the directions and recommendations of these committees were not taken seriously and not implemented in letter and spirit on ground”.
Quoting an example in this regard, the Committee on Environment said, “the issue regarding solid waste management in Gulmarg had time and again been discussed but nothing concrete was done to set a proper dumping site there besides treatment of solid waste in the area so far”.
It is pertinent to mention here that Committee on Environment is comprised of around 20 Legislators as such its importance cannot be undermined by any of the department of the State Government.
Pointing towards wetlands and water bodies, the House Panel said, “water bodies and the water resources to a larger extent have been polluted because of non-seriousness not only on the part of administration but the society as well although numerous suggestions and directions were given to check pollution of water bodies and wetlands by the predecessor Environment Committees”.
The Committee on Environment has decided to constitute Sub-Committees which will go on-spot to ascertain the physical status of the water bodies and other water resources in the State.
Expressing concern over lack of solid waste mechanism in Jammu province, the Committee said, “all the waste is being directly flown into water bodies particularly River Tawi thereby endangering the existence of famous river, which is also called as Surya Putri”.
It is worthwhile to mention here that not only Committee on Environment of the Legislative Assembly, a Parliamentary Committee few years back had criticized all the concerned agencies of the State Government for maintaining blind eye towards the deteriorating condition of River Tawi due to continuous flow of waste.
The same concern by the Committee on Environment of State Legislative Assembly has clearly established that no serious efforts have so far been made to restore the purity of sacred River Tawi.
About the tourist resort of Patnitop and holy town of Katra, the House Panel said, “solid waste in Patnitop is not being taken care of properly thereby leading to pollution of the environment”. Similarly tons of garbage being generated every day in Katra is not being handled properly, the report added.
“It is a matter of serious concern that the area was historically having a number of natural springs and other water bodies which have been polluted with the passage of time”, the Committee on Environment headed by CPM MLA Mohd Yousuf Tarigami said in its report.
It further observed, “environment and tourism are interrelated as such should maintain a reasonable balance. The Tourism Department should ensure not to raise any such type of infrastructure which ultimately results in damaging the environment as a whole”.
After holding detailed deliberations on re-construction of historic Mubarak Mandi Complex, the Committee on Environment has suggested creation of Mubarak Mandi Development Authority so as to develop the heritage fully.
“State is having tourist destinations in abundance besides having special tourism features. Valley of Kashmir is a matchless in its scenic beauty and Jammu leading in pilgrim tourism and both needs to be explored to their fullest besides the Tourism Department has to be extra vigilant in respect of the environmental protection so that the precious wealth is saved”, the Committee has suggested.