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Implementation of anti-pollution laws a distant dream in JK

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Srinagar, Mar 25: While the government claims that protection of the environment was its top priority, the implementation of various anti-pollution laws is still a distant dream in Jammu and Kashmir.

Various anti-pollution laws have been framed in the state over the years like, Water Prevention and Control of Pollution Act 1974, Air Prevention and Control of Pollution Act 1981, Environment Protection Act 1986, JK Non-Biodegradable Material Act 2007, JK Brick Kiln Act 2010. But official sources said there is rarely any implementation of these laws, Besides that disposal of waste has to be managed by Solid Waste Management Rules 2016, Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules 2016, Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016, Hazardous and Other Waste Rules 2016, Construction and Demolition Waste Rules 2016 and E-Waste Management Rules 2016.

As per official details, in the year 2015-16 one workshop was organized on solid waste management for officials of the municipal bodies. According to these details, awareness programmes were conducted in 28-schools wherein around 6500 students were sensitized about pollution issues. Besides 111 awareness camps have been organized.

 

Officials within State Pollution Control Board told KNS that suspended particulate matter (SPM) and respiratory suspended particulate matter (RSPM) have witnessed a steep rise over the years due to increasing number of vehicles, crushers and factories.

An environmentalist told KNS that the authorities have failed to implement environment policy in the state. “We have all types of pollutions in the Valley but nobody is listening to reduce the pollution level here. J&K is the worst possible states in pollution level.”

He said government has been hiding the facts that pollution level was not increasing at an alarming rate in the state. “Our water bodies are extremely polluted. Harmful gases are emitting from factories and huge dust is emitting from roads. For the last three years, over three lakh vehicles have been added on the roads and they would have added to a greater extend to pollute the environment.”

A total of 355102 vehicles have been registered in the state during last three years, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16. Of which 143146 have been registered in Kashmir and 211956 in the Jammu region.

There has been around 120 percent increase in traffic for the last seven years. According to the official figures, the number of vehicles in J&K was 6,68, 445 in 2008. In 2009, it gained7.77 percent increase and reached upto 7,37,581.

While as in the year 2010, 2011, 2012; it increased traffic percentage of 10.34, 11.92 and 11.98 percent respectively and their number reached to 9,16,898 in the state. And now the number has reached to around 14 lakhs. Private cars and two wheelers account for 81 percent of vehicle population in JK.

136 pollution checking centres are registered by the Motor Vehicles Department out of which 81 are working. However, it has been seen that pollution under control certificate is just a formality for vehicles due to lack of reliable pollution checking centres.

The non-commercial vehicles are supposed to be phased out after 15 years of service while as the commercial vehicles are condemned after 25 years by disallowing certificate of roadworthiness. “Despite creating immense pollution, non-commercial vehicles are not being condemned,” a senior official of Transport department said. He said just 7,776 commercial vehicles have been phased out from 1973 to March, 2016.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has banned all 10-year-old diesel vehicles from plying on Delhi roads. The Supreme Court has also supported the NGT’s decision of banning all 10-year old diesel vehicles. However, officials said the government has no such plan to implement such decisions in the state. (KNS)

 


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Kashmir

Roads dotted with risky potholes in Sgr city, no concern for Govt

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Srinagar, Apr 25 : Notwithstanding considerable improvement in weather conditions, authorities have failed to undertake repairs of dilapidated roads in the summer capital.

In absence of timely repairs, most of the roads including Srinagar Airport Road, Jehangir Chowk, Tourist Reception Center, Radio Kashmir, Ram Munshi Bagh, Sonwar, Batwara, Rangreth, Rawalpora, Sanatnagar, Dalgate, Mehjoor Nagar, Jawahar Nagar, Nowgam, Batamaloo, Lal chock, Bemina, Qamarwari and MA Road are dotted with potholes.

The authorities have so far failed to undertake repairs of dilapidated roads in the summer capital.

 

The people here said that though they visited the office of the district administration and Chief engineer Roads and buildings many times with the request for repairing the broken roads, but their requests have fallen on deaf ears.

“The condition of most busy and import Airport road is pathetic. Bad road make it difficult to drive on this stretch. ,” said Tahir of Humhama Airport road.

Inordinate delay by authorities to undertake repairs of Srinagar Airport is taking a heavy toll on the commuters.

The road is dotted with potholes and rough surface. The road has caved in at several places posing risk to commuters.

“We wonder why the authorities are sitting on repairs on this vital stretch” asked Nisar Ahmad, a local.

The road from Qamarwari, Noorbagh to Dalgate is in a bad shape causing inconvenience to commuters, especially students and office-goers.

“Nobody from the administration bothers to take steps to make the bumpy roads functional for the smooth traffic,” said a government employee.

“A distance which should be travelled in less than 40 minutes takes more than an hour because of the potholed roads of the city,” said Mushtaq Ahmad, an auto rickshaw driver.

“The non-seriousness of the authorities can be gauged by the fact that in the month of March, Chief Engineer R&B Sami Arif had said that the repair work of roads has been started. Almost two months have passed now, but no roads in the city have been repaired. It seems that the Chief Engineer is ignorant and does not bother to look into the matter,” said one of the commuters.

Road from Qamarwari leading towards Valley’s lone tertiary care hospital, SKIMS Soura is in shambles. This poses risk to lives of patients who are referred there from other hospitals,” said Mohammad Ismail, a resident of Safakadal.

During rains, the dilapidated roads turn into cesspools. “When water remains stagnant for a long time, it further damages roads,” a shopkeeper in commercial hub, Lal Chowk said pointing towards damaged stretch of road.

Taking the cognizance of the bad situation of the roads in the district, the Srinagar district administration in an order issued to R&B Department on April 10 sort details about officials and contractors for criminal proceedings. Even former chief minister Omar Abdullah has expressed concern over bad condition of roads.

Meanwhile most of the roads in Shaher-e-Khaas including Alamgari Bazar, Soura, Nowhatta are dilapidated.

The roads in rural areas are also in mess. Reports said that the roads in North and south Kashmir are in shabby condition, and travelling is proving to be back breaking experience.

The angry commuters here also accused Roads and Buildings (R&B) department of having failed to carry out necessary repairs of the roads.

“What is the fun of macadamizing when it (macadam) doesn’t last long? The authorities should take into account the hardships suffered by the commuters,” they said.

The experts believe that lack of planning, poor quality control and drainage system are the primary causes for the poor condition of roads in the city. They said that that poor drainage leads to accumulation of water on the roads that eventually washes off a patch or leaves the roads with potholes.

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Mismanagement on Jmu-Sgr highway: Ill planning causes crippling losses to state economy, says KCCI

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Srinagar, Apr 25: The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry has expressed serious concern at the lack of proper infrastructural planning and mismanagement of traffic which is causing crippling losses to the economy and suffering to the general public.

The frequent closure of the Jammu-Srinagar road link due to landslides and shooting stones, unscheduled declaration of one way movement, the two days closure for movement of Security Forces and the harassment of travelers due to multiple check points has resulted in the development of an abnormal situation of people being dissuaded from using the Highway.

A spokesperson of KCC&I today said that although the Jammu- Srinagar highway suffered from minor problems earlier also but the condition since last year has been unprecedented. The journey from Udhampur to Srinagar a mere distance of around 200Km- has turned into a nightmare. Vehicles laden with goods have been stuck at various places for weeks together. Documents submitted by members of the KCC&I show that some trucks have been stuck at Udhampur since 10th of April.

 

Transportation of livestock including poultry and sheep towards Srinagar and movement of fruits from Srinagar to outside the valley has also been severely hit. There are reports the fruit sent from Kashmir has reached various Mandi’s in a bad condition. Tourist vehicles are also stopped and we have reports that tourist groups have often taken more than 20 hours to reach Srinagar which has disrupted their booking schedules and programs. Tourists are therefore avoiding travelling by road. In view of the huge monetary risk involved, movement of perishable goods including frozen products has reduced to almost nil. Transporters are now flatly refusing to ply their vehicles on the Jammu-Srinagar Sector. Losses caused to various sectors are mounting as the sector has been rendered unviable due to the reasons enumerated above.

The situation in the capital city of Srinagar and other major townships of the valley is no better. Traffic bottlenecks, jams and inadequate management manpower at all major and peripheral junctions has choked the roads. Srinagar seems to be the biggest casualty of ill-conceived planning over the years.

The conversion of a motorable bridge at Rajbagh into a footbridge is a case in point. The wastage of crores of rupees of public money into the creation of a foot bridge when the choked public is gasping for more road links is a bizarre decision. Same can be said of the erstwhile Zero Bridge which could have – with appropriate reinforcements – provided necessary traffic disbursal linkage for light one-way traffic. The Government has, in its wisdom, converted two motorable bridges into foot bridges and built another footbridge near the Museum in a stretch of around 1.5 km whereas the requirement is for providing of multiple motorable bridges across the Jhelum. The Government seems to be oblivious to and unconscious about the miserable plight of the public who have to waste hours every day while commuting to work on these routes. After the Durbar Move, the situation is likely to go from bad to worse.

The Government needs to take immediate corrective measures to rectify the abnormal situation which is clearly moving towards an economic collapse. But at the same time, it also needs to re-assess long term infrastructural requirements as it cannot be digging wells every time there is a fire.

The Kashmir Chamber has also been pressing for the early opening of the Mughal Road and in this regard appreciated the efforts put in by the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir for issuing necessary directions for diverting road opening machinery for this purpose. The efforts put in by the district administration of Shopian especially R&B Department, Mechanical Engineering Wing has resulted in the clearance of the road upto Peer Ki Gali despite inclement weather conditions and heavy snow. The blockade is now on a stretch of about two kms falling in Jammu Division which we have been assured will be cleared up within a week. The KCC&I strongly recommended that the Mughal Road should be developed as an exclusive corridor for uninterrupted movement of civilian traffic during the summer months in addition to correcting the problems on the National Highway.

The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry also urges for conversion of the Foot Bridge to Motorable bridges, as originally planned adequate augmentation of personnel for management of traffic throughout the valley is also recommended.

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Rattled Mehbooba desperate to generate sympathy: BJP

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Srinagar, Apr 25: Brig Anil Gupta, State Spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday said that low voter turnout in her perceived bastion in phase one of the Anantnag Parliamentary Constituency has rattled Mehbooba Mufti so much that she has upped the ante as far as her anti-India tirade and pro-separatist agenda are concerned.

In a statement issued, Brig Gupta warned Mehbooba Mufti that in her quest to generate a sympathy wave, she continues to boast about her defiance of the instructions/advisories issued to her government by the Central Government. These statements of are confession of her betrayal to the highest constitutional post while in occupation of which she was working against the national interest.

“She also continues to emotionally exploit the local Kashmiris through half-baked truth and spin-doctored statements. Knowing fully well the difference between international trade carried out at Wagah and barter trade across the LOC carried out at the two trade facilitation centres, one each in Jammu & Kashmir regions, she continues to mislead the Kashmiris through statements like “if trade via Wagah can continue, why not the cross-LOC trade?” Since majority of the rural population in Kashmir does not know the difference between the two types of trade they get emotionally swayed and get carried away by her anti-India propaganda that “Central Government wants to subjugate the Kashmiris and squeeze them economically.” Nothing can be farther from truth rued Brig Gupta. As a responsible mainstream politician and ex-CM of the state she should be explaining to the people the real intent of the government which is to curb terror funding so that the menace of terror can be eradicated from the Valley and peace restored for the benefit of common Kashmiri,” said Brig Gupta.

 

“The recent revelation of how the cross-LOC trade was being manipulated by the ISI through Pak based Kashmiri militants belonging to Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) is an eye-opener and should enlighten the Kashmiris about the false and malicious propaganda being carried out by Mehbooba just for the sake of votes so that she can remain relevant in the corridors of power. I appeal to our brethren in Kashmir to not to get swayed by the motivated and false propaganda unleashed by her,” he said. He said “While Mehbooba has a soft corner for terrorist turned separatist Yasin Malik and is threatening the Central government to release her, she has not uttered even a single word of condemnation against cold-blooded murders carried out by him of Indian Air Force personnel and many Kashmiri Pundits. It further confirms her anti-minority and pro-terror mind set which is not only dangerous but contemptuous as well.”

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