Should environment be subservient to development?

The acid test of the requisite expertise and dexterity of policy planners in the country is how developmental schemes balance with the preservation and sustenance of the environment. We can do nothing in the present most competitive and fast age without accelerating the developmental process but if our tourist spots, rivulets, springs, forests, lush green trees, flora and fauna etc become casualties and get expended towards the cost of development, imminent catastrophe was bound to gradually set in and strike us. What we see now-a-days all around us except concrete houses and buildings, smoke, noise, dust, traffic mess, low quality drinking water, no place to go for a walk, dust and smoke ? Children are left with no places and parks to play, sweat, run, compete and emerge physically stronger. Instead, clinging to mobile phones, avoiding walking and physical exercise, preferring motorbikes even for shorter distances, vulnerability to using of drugs and intoxicants, watching movies and TV serials, depicting violence and vulgarity in most of the cases, are invading the otherwise zeal for enjoying nature and in the process emerging physically healthy and stronger.
Have we ever bothered to see the nearest place of interest from the point of breathing fresh air, running or resting on the splendid lawns watching flowers and butter flies, birds, enjoying the greenery, going about bathing and swimming in a rivulet or enjoying beneath a water fall fulfilling all the prerequisites of an ordinary tourist place, so that school going children could be taken there at least once in a quarter or even anyone interested could go there and safely return by the evening? One such place is in Nagrota Jammu known as Jhajjar Kotli which we all know until a few years back, had a niche in its popularity among the people, men, women and children from Jammu and nearby places. Have we bothered to see its present status which is a fit situation at least for those having been witness to its glory and popularity in the past to only write an epitaph. We needed a magnificent four lane smooth road to facilitate smooth and fast running of numerous vehicles nonstop on the National Highway but surely not at the cost of sacrificing the sheen and the glory of Jhajjar Kotli.
Concomitant extravaganza, fast urbanisation, wasteful consumption, disappearance of water bodies, dumping sources of natural water with wastes and garbage and even with abandoned building and construction material and the like are the challenges staring in our faces. If we do not still feel alarmed to resolve them, floods, acute shortage of drinking water, exasperation for fresh air, draughts, health problems, disparities etc shall have to be faced by us with devastating consequences. ‘Do not build a thing if a tree is required to be felled’ appears to be very difficult to implement but rising population and various associated problems bring in its wake certain growing challenges in respect of the environment which need proper resolution failing which we must be prepared for the worst. We do not question the technical knowledge of the engineers and the technicians in raising the levels of the road by several feet to build a new highway and in fact, in a way compliment them for the job they have done but how can we not rue over the fate of Jhajjar Kotli in respect of the loss to it in various forms having not been replenished and the important picnic spot not restored its glory and utility.
We are not striking a pessimist string but even are taking note of, in whatever form its certain portions are just presently maintained like the lawns spread in two decks being looked after by the concerned State department but lot remains to be done. In fact, a master plan for its restoration and beautifying is required to be prepared and implemented with intent to attract more visitors from Jammu city itself and from other areas as well. This plan should be comprehensive to take care of all those things which have become the victims of the development around it. At least, a good eating shop or a cafeteria , public utilities, sitting arrangements, some shelter from rains etc, cleanliness and reasonable maintenance, proper approach to the centre of the spot or the island from the road, are the main rather not negotiable issues requiring immediate and urgent attention from the JKTDC, PWD, Floriculture, PHE and other departments which must work in tandem to bring about the improvement immediately.