Water quality of Devika River

Despite the havoc wreaked to the holy Devika river in Purmandal by untreated sewerage , the concerned authorities appear to be quite carefree about how to address the issue concerning the resultant menace of pollution of the river. This has resulted in continuous drop in the water quality standards of the river. It is equally surprising that the Jammu and Kashmir Pollution Control Board (JKPCB), despite having raised concern over the quality of water deteriorating at an alarming rate and avoidable lapse in not following the norms by those authorities responsible for it and expected the discharge of untreated sewerage into the river to be stopped, ground realities depict worrisome situation. Since the concerned authorities have failed in stemming the rut , JKPCB has now asked the Chief Executive Officer, Surinsar Mansar Development Authority (SMDA) to submit a report in respect of what specific measures had been taken to rid the river of the menace of wanton pollution.
Let the other side be analysed. Those, who are responsible individually or collectively, say nearby establishments, localities etc, not only in generating the sewerage but feeling quite satisfied in dumping the same into this river, are prima facia the main culprits . These people must otherwise be speaking in public or otherwise, volumes about the holiness of this river but at the same time, not hesitating in violating its sanctity . If we, from the current unprecedented and unfortunate situation arising out of the pandemic of Corona virus and how we are locked inside our homes, do not still learn lessons as to how nature is unleashing its displeasure in one or the other way , of how we were polluting the air, water , land and other natural boons, then what worst could teach us to behave and respect the nature? Though not at that cost , see the worst polluted cities have turned out to be ‘natural clean cities’, no smoke and no dust, equally absolutely no noise during and as a result of the current unfortunate but quite absolutely unavoidable lockdown . Even rivers have become cleaner and fish and other water habitat are ”visibly looking redeemed’. Water quality of Devika continues to be below the accepted minimum standards, just class -B as also the colour of its water and the smell too are below the accepted standards. If the same is not checked now, it would be too late to get this river out of the morass it has been ‘pushed ‘ into.
‘Excelsior’ has been regularly voicing concern over pollution of our rivers and water bodies across the UT of Jammu and Kashmir including the Holy Devika river . Our stand is vindicated in State Council of National Green Tribunal having taken suo-moto cognizance of our editorial published in our edition of May 1 last year about this river and accordingly, initiated action in this regard. That the situation should continue to remain unchanged, must worry everybody. We, the people, have also to change our behaviour towards such priceless but limited boons of the nature but we are continuously ravaging this river, be it in the form of cremation of the dead bodies anywhere and not at specified spots, encroachments of different hues, dumping of waste material, discharging of untreated sewerage and plundering its minor mineral . In other words, from all sides, onslaught on this river is carried out and it is the bounden duty of the authorities to strictly enforce the relevant laws and regulations under Environment Protection, Water – Prevention and Control of Pollution Acts etc.
The culture of ‘Paper and table work’ must not be the be all and end all of the activities under the Action Plan by the concerned authorities but should be followed practically on the ground, results assessed and reviewed periodically. Authorities have been given enough powers to enforce the laws and procedures. If they do not exercise those powers for the welfare of the people, as pollution free Devika would be for the benefit of the people only, then either it was sheer incompetence on the part of the concerned officers or their unwarranted frugality in mustering enough courage to get things done.


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