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Flood threat looms large as Kashmir’s water bodies lose carrying capacity

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, July 11: A new report has revealed that the natural water bodies including Wular Lake have lost their carrying capacity, which is posing a serious threat of floods in the valley.

Prepared by Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Programme (IHCAP) of Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the comprehensive report was released during a three-day workshop themed “climate change reporting in the Himalayas”, here.

“Wular Lake, the largest flood absorption basin, has lost the water carrying capacity due to host of factors’, reads the report.

 

According to the Comprehensive Management Action Plan for Wular Lake, prepared by Wetland International, the area of the lake as per topographical sheets of 1911 was 217.8 sq.km which included 58 sq.km to 86.71 sq.km between 1911 and 2007.

“Overall, there was reduction of the lake area by 45 percent mainly due to conversion into agriculture (28 percent) and plantation (17 percent). Further associated marshes were reduced by 70 percent, again due to conversion agricultural tracts and settlements,” the report reads.

The report has delved deep into the causes of the 2014 floods in Kashmir.

“River Jhelum drains this valley and the city has grown on both sides. This means that the river carried all the water that had drained from the mountain slopes, in addition to the rain that had fallen over the city. The whole valley had flooded with the rains ,” reads the report

“With unplanned development not only within the boundary of Srinagar city, but all along the Kashmir Valley, the natural water bodies had lost their carrying capacity over decades. The lakes and the nearby wetlands, which could have absorbed much of the floodwater and balanced the deluge, had declined in the area.”

Meanwhile speakers at the workshop stressed on the sensitization of media persons in the area of climate change.

Commissioner Secretary, Forests, Ecology and Environment Manoj Kumar Dwivedi, urged media persons to highlight the issues relating to climate change in the context of the state climate action plan with an objective to generate awareness about climate change among people.

He announced that the Green Skills Development Programme, which was launched in the state last year, would be soon expanded to new subjects.

“We need a large number of people trained in different skills with a capacity to deal with various aspects of climate change and environment such as renewable energy and data science,” he added.

A round-table discussion was also held in which environment journalist Athar Parvaiz,  Dr Majid Farooq (Nodal officer, State Climate Change Cell , Salman Khursheed (People’s Environmental Council), Dr Danish Nabi (North campus, Kashmir University), Dinesh C Sharma (Managing Editor, India Science Wire) and Annu Anand (Head, Advocacy, CMS) participated. They stressed the need for bridging the gap between media and scientists as well as policy makers for improving the quality of climate change reporting in media.


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Kashmir

Govt reviews RDD projects in Kashmir, Ladakh

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Jul 19: Secretary, Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Sheetal Nanda Friday chaired a meeting to review the progress and implementation of programmes of RDD and Panchayati Raj.
The meeting was attended by Director Rural Development, Kashmir, Qazi Sarwar, Director Panchayats, Muhammad Nazir Sheikh, Chief Operating Officer, Himayat, Kapil Sharma, Mission Director, Umeed, Abdul Rashid War, Chief Executive Officer IWMP Mohammad Rafi, Additional District Development Commissioners of various districts, Additional Secretary/ Member Secretary MGNREGA, Rakesh Kumar Badyal, Joint Director Planning Subash Chander, all ACDs and DPOs of Kashmir Division.
The Secretary reviewed the district-wise and Panchayat-wise achievements and took stock of physical and financial achievements registered under various schemes of the department. A threadbare discussion was held on the works taken up under MGNREGA, 14th Finance Commission, Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin), Integrated Watershed Management Programme, Umeed, Himayat and other Panchayat related programmes.
The Secretary stressed upon the completion of incomplete works, geo-tagging of all assets, increasing aadhar based payments, implementation of SECURE software for preparation of estimates and T+7 model for timely payments. She said that all out steps are being taken to bring transparency in the scheme.
While reviewing the progress of MGNREGA, the meeting was informed that as many as 5,68,099 Households have been provided job cards and a total of 12.85 lakh Person-days (PDs) have been generated so far under the scheme in FY 2019-20 alone.
With regard to PMAY (G), the meeting was briefed that as many as 7750 have received first instalment while 6361 have been credited with the second instalment and 5168 have got the third and the last payment for construction of the houses. She stressed on early completion of works before the onset of winters so that the main purpose of shelter to houseless is achieved.
The overall performance and achievements of Panchayats was also reviewed. The Districts Panchayat Officers and Rural Engineering Wing were directed to ensure all estimates and approvals for 14th FC are completed in a mission mode and the actual execution of plans on the ground is started at the earliest. The DPOs were also directed to activate the social audit committees framed during Back to Village Programme.
She also took stock of the Digital Literacy Trainings being provided to the Sarpanches and emphasized that the involvement of Panches in process of planning and execution is also to be ensured.
The status of New Panchayat Ghars to be constructed and old ones to be repaired was also reviewed alongwith the registration of Panchayat accounts on PFMS and registration of Digital Signatories of Sarpanches for Payments under 14th FC and MGNREGA.

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Family appeals missing ‘depressed’ son to return

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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Srinagar, Jul 19: A desperate family of a missing Srinagar youth has made an emotional appeal urging him to return home.
Twenty something Fazil Latief Makroo left home on Sunday but did not return home.
Family immediately lodged a missing report in the police station Nowhatta, but so far he has not been traced.
“On Sunday afternoon, after having lunch, he left his home as usual for outing. Since then, we have been searching for him but to no avail,” said Latief Makroo, Fazil’s father.
Latief, a farmer by profession said that Fazil has been suffering from depression.
“He is undergoing treatment for depression. He is a good boy and particular about Salah. We have no idea, why he left us. His younger brother and sister are waiting for him,” said Parvaiz Ahmad, Fazil’s cousin.
Family has also appealed the general public to inform the police in case they have any information about the missing youth.
“After we failed to trace him, we lodged a missing report in police station Nowhatta. The police has been looking for him. If anybody has information about his whereabouts, he/she may please contact us or police station Nowhatta,” he said
Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO), Khanyar, Farhan Janbaaz said efforts were on to trace Fazil.
“We are in touch with his friends and enquiring from them,” he said

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KEG to take legal recourse over ‘TOI’ report

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Jul 19: Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) has taken a strong exception to a news report published from Srinagar by ‘The Times of India’ and has decided to take legal recourse over the report.
The editors termed the TOI report, which casts aspersions on the Kashmir based journalists “malicious, propagandistic, motivated and defamatory.”
In a statement, KEG said the report has raised points questioning the integrity of the members associated with KEG and the Kashmir Press Club (KPC), terming them as a creation of ISI and ‘Jehadi Journalists’.
Notably, KPC conducted its first elections last week wherein a managing body was elected through an overwhelming participation of journalists working in Kashmir and the entire exercise was appreciated by all quarters in the state.
The editor’s body felt perturbed over the consequences of such a life threatening piece of reportage published by TOI.
“KEG is a body of 15 editors and has been working for the issues facing the media. It has been there since 2008 and even earlier,” the statement read.

Press Club to take up matter with TOI editor
Monitor News Bureau
Srinagar, Jul 19: The newly elected management committee of the Kashmir Press Club (KPC) in its meeting Friday took a strong note of a news story published in the ‘Times of India’ newspaper.
A spokesperson of the Club said it was observed that the story is “baseless and full of insinuations against unnamed executive members of the club.”
“It appears from the story that the reporter has filed it without making any efforts to contact any executive member to seek his version. He has also not backed his story with any evidence or facts,” the spokesperson said.
While condemning the story as highly objectionable, the KPC members observed that “it seems to have been filed by the concerned reporter with malafide intent to bring in disrepute to the elected journalist members in particular and the entire club in general”.
“This is an attempt to drag the club, which successfully conducted its first ever elections this month, into unnecessary controversy,” the spokesperson added.
The management committee of the club, he said, has decided to formally take up the matter with the Editor of the newspaper in New Delhi.
“A letter of protest in this regards shall be sent to the newspaper concerned. Such baseless insinuations published in a reputed newspaper like Times of India in fact violate the basic standards and ethics of journalism,” the spokesperson added.

 

Journo associations express outrage
Monitor News Bureau
Srinagar, Jul 19: Kashmir Working Journalist Association (KWJA) and Kashmir Journalists Association (KJA) have expressed outrage over an insinuating report published by the Times of India which uses unsubstantiated allegations to malign and endanger the journalist fraternity of Kashmir and respected institutions like the newly formed Kashmir Press Club, Kashmir Editors Guild, and the daily Kashmir Reader.
“We find it unfortunate that the Times of India has given space to such an insinuating report based on its reporter M Salim Pandit’s fantasies and bred out of his personal grouses,” a joint statement issued by KWJA and KJA said, adding, Pandit is “no stranger to controversies, slander and whimsical allegations mostly based on his personal animosities and fantasies.”
“The reporter is taking shelter in unnamed sources to defame fellow journalists and journalistic institutions in Kashmir, branding them as creations and proxies of Pakistan based agencies.”
‘The reporter has in the past often brought disgrace to the institution of journalism through his fabricated reports and actions. Ironically the author is trying to create aspersions on Kashmir Press Club even though he had been appointed the president of its first (ad hoc) managing body, with the support of Kashmir Editors Guild,” the statement added.
“His grouses lie in the fact that he was asked to step down by other members after a series of controversies and disgraceful public behaviour on his part,” it said.
“KWJA and KJA condemns the shameful actions of the reporter and the irresponsible behaviour of newspaper in giving space to a baseless report. It hopes that the newspaper will take corrective action by publishing a corrigendum and bringing down the report from its online edition. At the same time KWJA and KJA urges the Kashmir Press Club to initiate an inquiry into the irresponsible behaviour of its member M Salim Pandit,” the joint statement read.

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