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Schools adding to environmental damage in absence of waste management policy

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, Dec 13: There is no solid waste management policy for the Valley-based schools.

Solid waste is one of the most serious environmental problems, given its high negative impact on natural resources.

Yet, the schools do not follow any solid waste management policy, even as they are among the largest producers of solid waste.

 

An official from a leading school in the valley said, “Segregation is the first step in waste management but is rarely implemented. All waste is usually dumped together in a pit, often in some corner or behind school buildings.”

“It is regularly burnt too. Some of the organic waste finds its way under trees and plants.”

Schools with ample grounds routinely make do with such practices, but those with little land are left grappling with mounds of waste.

“With no large space for dumping the waste, the heaps of waste in the abandoned corners behind the school buildings emanate foul smell,” said a teacher from a government boys’ school.

Another staffer from the government school said, “All the waste lying around is an eyesore, not to mention that it attracts pests.”

To aggravate the problem, the amount of plastic waste in schools generated on days when examinations are held is substantial.

Further, the schools near residential areas complain that waste collected on street corners is dragged by canines to their gates at night.

Some teachers also allege that Corporation workers burn plastic and other waste near school premises.

They echoed, “School staff has to take the initiative for managing as much waste as possible. Students, they argue, will not be serious about waste management if they don’t see it being practised in their own institutions.”

Director Pollution Control Board (PCB), Syed Nadeem Hussain, accepted that there was no separate solid waste management policy for schools.

“There is no such policy as such. The waste generated by the schools is handled by the Municipal Corporation. Besides, waste is not much of concern for us as it isn’t hazardous in nature.”

While the health officer Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) Dr Qazi Javaid said, “We always collect the waste in segregated form. The corporation also apprises the new schools registered with us about the hazards of the waste and how to manage it.”

Senior Scientist and Head of Biomedical Waste Management Cell, PCB, Dr Sabeena, contradicted the SMC’s claims.

“No segregation of waste ever takes place in schools. We always receive the mixed waste at the dumping sites though we made the waste management rules clear to SMC time and again,” she said.


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Kashmir

APDP’s 2019 Calendar: An old plea in a new year: Where are our loved ones you took?

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By Tabish Shafi

Srinagar, Jan 15: For the third straight year, the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) Tuesday released a calendar reiterating the forced disappearances of the thousands of people during the last three decades of political conflict in Kashmir.

A group of people, longing for their snatched loved ones, displayed the calendar at Srinagar’s Pratap Park; their silence asking the same questions they have been asking for years now: How long do we wait? Where is our kin? Are they dead? Can we, at least, get their bodies back?

 

The title page of the calendar bears a moving illustration by the noted sketch-artist, Suhail Naqshbandi: A female clad in red pheran, half of her face mournful and weary, the other half worn down to bare bones as she holds a photo of the disappeared person she has been longing for. A few shades of dark and grey that look like a cloud form the background.

Inside are 12 leaves, each carrying a sketch of the disappeared person, with a brief bio of the person–where, when and in what circumstances the person was taken.

Among the parents of the disappeared ones is Ali Mohammad Dar from Noorpora Magam.

His 18-year-old son, Ghulam Mohiuddin, was picked up by the government forces in 1991, never to return.

Dar says the calendar made him realize that he was not the only one who lost his son.“There are hundreds of parents like me,” said Dar, whose forehead was strapped with a bandage as he had recently met with an accident.

Chairperson APDP, Parveena Ahanger—whose own son is among the victims of forced disappearance––said that coming out with the calendar was an attempt to keep alive the stories of the missing ones.

“There have been so many disappearances in Kashmir that two calendars could not feature them all. We released the third one and will continue to feature all others too in the coming years,” she said.

Parveena said that APDP was planning to send the calendars out of Kashmir too, especially to the educational institutions, so that the people and students outside the valley know about the tragedies that have befallen the families of the disappeared.“It has been 29 years now since our loved ones disappeared. I ask both the government of Jammu and Kashmir, and India that if they deny our beloved ones’ disappearances then where are they? At least, handover their dead bodies if they aren’t alive!” a teary-eyed Parveena pled.

Asked about the inquiry by High Court and State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) regarding the disappearances, Ahanger said: “Court (referring to judiciary) only does ‘inquiry’ and avoids our cases by directing them to SHRC. When court, which is the highest authority, is not able to deliver justice, what can we expect from SHRC?”

Parveena said she did not trust the politicians who “claim to help but in reality are interested in gaining power”. “I trust my Lord. We APDP) will continue this movement till our last breath and will ensure that none from the younger generation suffers like we did.”
APDP is an organization that was begun as a one woman endeavour.

Parveena, who had lost her son in the ‘90s, strived to mobilise and provide support to other such families, who had lost their loved ones to enforced disappearances.

Her aim: to put pressure on the authorities to investigate the estimated 8000-10,000 cases of involuntary and enforced disappearances in Kashmir.

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Rajouri set to become J&K’s first district to fully comply with JJA norms

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RAJOURI, JAN 15: Rajouri will soon become the first district in the State to be fully complying with all the laid down provisions of Juvenile Justice Act (JJA) and having all the structures and institutions provided under the Act.

This was stated in a meeting chaired by Chairperson Selection Committee, Justice (Retd) Hasnain Masoodi which was also attended by District Development Commissioner Rajouri, Aijaz Asad.

The Child Welfare Committee, Juvenile Justice Board, District Child Protection Unit and the Special Juvenile Police Unit are already in place in the district.

 

The district is in process of setting up Village Level Child Protection Committees (VLCPCs) and Block Level Child Protection Committees (BLCPCs) in accordance with rules/guidelines by February 15, 2019.

The setting up of VLCPCs and BLCPCs will give the necessary impetus to full implementation of Juvenile Justice Act in the district. It has been already announced that an effort would be made to have VLCPCs and BLCPCs in place in the State by March 31, 2019.
MD ICPS G A Sofi, SMD and Member Secretary ICPS would coordinate with District Administration and oversee the creation of proposed structures.

Meanwhile, Justice Masoodi accompanied by Members SCOC– Rajiv Khajuria, Dr. Rouf — and ICPS officers on a day-long visit to Rajouri, inaugurated two-day capacity building workshop for the Juvenile Justice stakeholders in collaboration with ‘Save the Children’.

Earlier, the meeting decided to explore the possibility of shifting CCI (Girls)/Nariniketan from the present rented building to any other suitable place. The meeting was informed that the District administration has already identified a plot of land measuring 15 kanal at Rajouri for construction of CCI for Girls which will be replete with all modern facilities.

Chairperson CWC Mohammad Iqbal Shawl was asked to coordinate with District Administration for prompt possession of identified land for CCI construction.

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Congress will give top priority to trade, commerce and tourism: Mir

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Jammu, Jan 15 : While speaking in a programme of Trade, Commerce & Tourism wing of Congress to access the difficulties, problems and ground realities of the people of this line ,which was participated by the representatives of that wing from the whole J&K state, G A Mir President PradeshCongress Committee who was Chief Guest on the occasion besides congratulating Rakesh Wazir for his new assignment as head of this wing of Congress for J&K State said that Trade, Commerce & Tourism would be the top priority of Congress if it comes to power in the next elections.

He said that Youth of the Country and J&K state in particular want employment and that cannot be generated until unless we focus our all energies for the revival of Trade, Commerce and more particularly the Tourism in our state which provides maximum job opportunities to the people of our state and which had got neglected miserably in the previous regime of BJP-PDP combine which in fact had no policy or concrete thinking with regard to that and this could be judged from the fact that Tourists which were there at its peak in J&K in 2012 when Congress led government was there in power in the state reached to the lowest level in last six years in 2017 when BJP-PDP government was in power and this downward trend is going on like that and as a result most of the people of the state became un employed and are now running for their survival.

He said that people of the state want jobs and not mere slogans and since the things were not tackled properly as a result leaving aside new jobs even the people who were working became un employed and thus it is very important that a concrete policy for the revival of Tourism which is decreasing with every passing day and as such revival of Industry, Trade & Commerce besides Tourism in the state is the need of hour which are major job providers in the state and can act as major source of livelihood of the people of the state.

 

Rakesh Wazir President Trade,Commerce & Tourism wing of Congress while speaking on the occasion besides thanking the organization for giving the responsibility of heading such an important wing of the party said that he will leave no stone un turned for the upliftment of Trade, Commerce & Tourism of the state because these are the back bones of economy and employment of any state and until unless focused approach is not adopted towards this sector employment cannot be generated and more particularly when state is passing through a turmoil and condition & situation of the state is becoming from bad to worse as for as arrival of Tourists, and coming of new industries and trade is concerned and thus consolidated approach towards these sectors with the help of all can only bring the things on track.

He further said that very soon with the active guidance, help and approval of the leadership this wing after having full state body, will have organization at district and then up to every small or big town or village level so that ways and means of employment are generated at every nook and corner of the state and proper policy and programme is chalked out with rightful and clear aim in mind.

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