SOPORE, JAN 2: Mushtaq Ahmad Malik, who escaped death on November two last year in a bear attack at Tujjar Sharief village on the outskirts of Sopore, is so scared that he is not coming out of his house alone. He remains confined to a corner of his house and seldom goes out but another family member has to accompany him, his family members said.
Malik and three women were grazing cattle in nearby forest area when a black bear attacked them on November 2, 2017. Malik suffered multiple injuries as the wild animal attacked him across his nose and eyes damaging his face. He was treated at to Sher-I-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Soura for months together.
Man-Animal conflict according to officials is very old in Jammu and Kashmir but people seldom reported the attacks earlier.
In 2016, human-wildlife conflict claimed 8 lives in parts of North Kashmir, and 45 people were injured by animals. In 2017, according to the Wildlife Protection Department, Sopore, 9 people were injured and death of a girl was reported from Uri, Baramulla.
Earlier in the year 2014-2015 the figure of dead and injured was much higher than the current data. An official data procured by Kashmir Wire from Wildlife Department Sopore revealed that decrease in man-animal conflict in 2016 and 2017, thanks to awareness programmes and precautionary measures initiated by the department about man-animal conflict through print and electronic media, Mohammad Sadiq Mir, Wildlife Warden North Kashmir, Sopore said .
“The graph of man-animal conflict is going down for the last 2-3 years. Appearances of black bear have increased but attacks on humans have decreased. Deaths too have reduced in last few years as compared to earlier years. Even attacks have decreased but that doesn’t mean there is no conflict. Human beings intrude into the forest areas and the wild animals in search of food visit the human habitations. It is where the conflict arises,” Wildlife Warden North Kashmir told Kashmir Wire.
Mohammad Sadiq believes that the shrinking of buffer zones, a space between forest and human habitation is the main cause of man- animal conflict.
He said that 15 years back there was a vast space between forest area and the human habitation. With the increase of population, people started encroaching forest areas; the buffer zone squeezed which in turn increased the man -animal conflict. However, an increase in the population of black bear is seen a main cause in the man- animal conflict, he added.
According to him outside protective areas (wild life sanctuaries, nurseries) such episodes happen very less because animals have enough feed. “You can see only one per cent attacks.
These man- animal conflict stories mostly arise from non protected areas. In unprotected areas, they don’t find feed, so they visit villages and towns, orchards and there only happens man- animal conflict,” he said.
Officials in the department said that with a change in agriculture practices, the increase of man- animal conflict is evident. “Earlier we used to cultivate maize, wheat but nowadays we have turned our agriculture fields into orchards. That’s also a reason to man- animal conflict. From one orchard to another, the wild animal crosses villages and reaches towns and when it fears for its life, the wild animal attacks the humans,” the official said.
Asked if there is any dearth of equipments or manpower in the department, Mohammad Sadiq said that the department has state –of- the- art equipments available with them and control rooms at divisional and District levels which has also decreased the number of causalities and injuries of human lives.
“Whenever we get call, our men equipped with guns and tranquilizers reach to the area in rescue vans. We have special tranquilized guns, trained staff, we have special cages. So there is no such case of problem from our side. The concept of funds is very minuscule in our department. We don’t need funds but yes dearth of manpower is there. We engage local people whenever we need them for rescue purposes. We have to deal such incidents despite lack of staff,” Wildlife warden added.
In 2006 state government approved compensation with regard to man -animal conflict. Human lives lost in man- animal conflict are now being compensated by the government with a sum of Rs. three lakhs, up to Rs.1 lakh for grievous injuries and Rs.10,000 for minor injuries. Wildlife warden said that compensation has also made it easy for the department to check the man animal conflict, as people now report such incidents for seeking compensation.
Inclement weather forecast: DC Srinagar reviews preparedness
SRINAGAR, NOVEMBER 12: In view of the inclement weather forecast predicting snowfall between November 14 and 16 in the district as elsewhere in Kashmir, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary Tuesday convened a meeting with heads of different departments to review their preparedness.
The meeting discussed the plans of concerned departments that have been prepared on the instructions of the DC to prevent interruption in services during future snowfalls in the district.
The DC while hailing their efforts after last week’s unforeseen snowfall in the district asked all the concerned departments to ensure faster and wider dealing with inclement weather situation as forecast and immediate services restorations wherever required.
Concerned departments including Mechanical Engineering Department, Power Development Department, Public Health Engineering, Roads & Buildings, Srinagar Municipal Corporation and Fire & Emergency Department were provided 5 lakh rupees each for acquiring gear to equip their ground staff involved in restoration efforts for dealing with harsh conditions.
The Power department was also provided with 2 crore rupees including 50 lakh rupees for each of its four divisions to procure buffer stock of transformers to handle situations where transformers are damaged. In addition to this 10 lakh rupees including 2.5 lakh for each of its divisions was provided to the department for handling restorations.
The PHE department was also provided an additional 10 lakh rupees to facilitate immediate restoration of damaged infrastructure when required.
The Drainage division of SMC was provided an additional 15 lakh rupees for fuel expenses for operating dewatering pumping stations during exigencies. The Health department was also provided an amount of 5 lakh rupees for procuring fuel for power generators – already provided to several health institutions – required during snowfall-caused power outages.
Fourteen lakh rupees including two lakh rupees each were provided to Tehsildars to provide for their mobility requirements during times of exigencies.
The departments were instructed to equip their staff and activate them immediately. They were asked to project any further demands but were asked to show results.
The DC directed for ensuring that snow clearance machines are positioned at all critical spots and that these must be pressed into service as soon as snow starts to accumulate. He stressed on prioritising snow-clearance from roads leading to all important installations across the district. The R&B was asked to work in close coordination with the SMC as long as the weather situation lasts.
The meeting was informed that both the MED and the SMC are geared up with the former with 23 snowplows and the latter with some 4000 personnel and 22 JCBs including 2 skid-steers at their disposal for snow-clearance on all main roads and pedestrian lanes across Srinagar.
It was also informed that all of 80 dewatering stations and 115 mobile pumping stations in the city are operational and that all concerned personnel have been sensitised. The F&ES department has also kept some of its pool of fire tenders and portable fire pumps available for water-logging exigencies in case there is a need.
Dr Shahid said water-logging as a result of snowfall or rains throws a major challenge in the district and that the concerned departments must be well-prepared to deal with it. He instructed for ensuring quick draining-out of water-logged areas including all interior roads and lanes.
He also instructed the SMC to remove the accumulated snow from roadsides which he said leads to traffic hurdles. He also instructed the Forest department to undertake immediate pruning of trees and lifting fallen trees and broken branches to facilitate road clearance and power restoration efforts.
He directed all the concerned departments to be in a state of preparedness and responsive to any crisis thrown up anywhere in the district.
The meeting was also informed that a central disaster management response store has been established at Bemina with a designated nodal officer to handle its affairs.
Dr Shahid directed for thorough implementation of all instructions and their respective plans in order to ensure timely and coordinated redress of problems and eventualities presented during the inclement weather situation. He directed for ensuring presence of all ground staff and concerned officers right till the end of the weather situation.
He directed for setting up control rooms in all concerned departments instructing them to provide real-time update about status of restorations. He said that a central control room will be set up which will oversee the overall operations ensuring coordination and organisation during eventualities.
The DC said there is a need to put in place a comprehensive mechanism that will ensure prevention of interruption in essential services because of snowfall in the district. He said the process has been started and a mechanism ensuring preparedness at all times and avoidance of services interruption in all circumstances will be put in place soon.
The meeting also took stock of restoration after last week’s snowfall. He directed the concerned for immediate assessment of losses to public properties and crops and for quick processing of compensations as due.
ADCs Srinagar M Hanief Balkhi and Khurshid Shah and senior officers from all line departments attended the meeting. Joint Director Planning Srinagar M Yaseen Lone was also present.
Union Jt Secy Culture terms Kashmiris as ardent readers of good literature
SRINAGAR, NOVEMBER 12: While praising the cultural heritage of Kashmir, Union Joint Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Nirupama Kotru today said that there is no parallel to the heritage of the region.
She said steps needs to be taken to conserve the tangible heritage which includes tombs, old houses, age-old buildings, artifacts in museums, along with non-tangible heritage including music, literature, paintings and others.
The Joint Secretary said this at a book release function held by Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages at the seminar hall of JKAACL, Lal Mandi. The function was held in collaboration with Department of Achieves, Archaeology and Museums.
Secretary J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages Muneer-ul-Islam, Director National Council of Science Museums Samarendra Kumar, Chief Editor (Urdu), J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages M Ashraf Tak were present during the function.
Speaking on the occasion, Kotru said that people of Kashmir are ardent readers and have always loved to read good stuff. She said that Kashmiri folk tales are so rich that people world over read them with great admiration.
Joint Secretary said that the Valley has a rich tradition and culture which is admired world-over. The writers and poets here have expressed their love and emotions so beautifully that their work inspires millions, Kotru said. She said it is important that such literature and art is showcased world over so that the seekers get the requisite benefit from their great work.
Admiring Academy for doing a commendable work, Kotru said the Academy has been at the forefront of doing a commendable job in bringing out journals, high quality translation works and other books in various indigenous languages which include Kashmiri, Gogri, Pahari, Dogri, Urdu, and others, thereby giving a glimpse of art and tradition of the place.
Earlier, the Joint Secretary released various books in different languages and translations including Intangible Heritage of Kashmir(English), Intangible Heritage of Jammu (English), Habba Khatoon (English Translation done by Prof Ghulam Rasool Malik), Tawareek Hassan (English translation done by Prof Shafi Shouq), Aknandon-folk tale told by six authors, Lok-e-Kath- reprinted version of Kashmiri, Kashur-sun-Adab, Kuliyat Azad (reprinted), Kuliyat Mahmood Gami (4th edition reprinted), Nawjawan number (Urdu), Arsh-e-Sehbaie (Urdu), Bulbul Kashmiri (Urdu), Tota Maina (Pahari translation) Hasta Adab (Pahari), Lale-de-Banjrary (Pahari), Gojiri Lok Kahaniyan (Gojri), Mai Azmiyo Sach (Gojri translation of My experiments with truth) and others.
Later, the Union Joint Secretary also visited Department of Archives, Archaeology and Museums where she was given a detailed tour of old and new Museum by Muneer-ul-Islam, who is also the Director Department of Archives, Archaeology and Museums. Besides, apprising her with various issues related to the department, the director discussed various future plans regarding the department with the Joint Secretary.
Div Com discusses DPR preparation for Srinagar-B’la-Uri four-lane road
Srinagar, Nov 05: Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan, today chaired a meeting of concerned officers to discuss the preparation for the formulation of Detailed Project Report (DPR) for development of Srinagar-Baramulla-Uri four-lane road.
The meeting was attended by Deputy Commissioner, Baramulla, Dr G.N Itoo; Additional Commissioner, Kashmir, TassaduqHussain Mir; ADC Baramulla; Chief Engineer, Beacon; SE (Civil), Commander, 760, BRTF and other concerned officials.
Calling the project a ‘prestigious one’, the Div Com instructed the concerned officers to take all technicalities in account while formulating the DPR. Various bottlenecks and constraints in this regard were also discussed during the meeting.
On the occasion, Div Com directed Chief Engineer, Beacon to explore possibilities of re-alignment of Srinagar-Baramulla-Uri road at four highly built-up spots in consultation with Baramulla District Administration. He also asked the officials to assess the feasibility of construction of bye-pass at Pattan and Baramulla and a flyover at Sangrama.
Div Com directed DC Baramulla to constitute teams for joint survey which will include representatives from the concerned agencies.
DC Baramulla was also directed to conduct weekly review meetings and furnish action taken report to be submitted to Div Com office on weekly basis.
He also directed the concerned officials to ensure that the consultancy engaged for the projects is made available at an earliest. CE Beacon was also asked to place indent of the road before DC Baramulla for the purpose of land acquisition.