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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

Govt taking several steps to double farmers income by 2022: Skandan

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Srinagar, Jun 17: Advisor Skandan on Monday said the government is taking several steps like PM Kisan programme and other welfare initiatives to double the farmers’ income by 2022.

He also inaugurated one-day mega Kisan Mela under centrally-sponsored Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA) scheme at Sports Stadium Budgam.

Besides farmers, the Mela organised by District Agriculture Officer (Extension) was attended by agriculture experts and scientists from the Valley.

 

He said besides schemes and soil health cards, the farmers need various other inputs and techniques to increase their production.

He suggested the Agriculture Department arrange interaction between progressive farmers and other farmers so that the later too would get acquaintance with the government schemes.

Saying that the Government is very serious to double the farmers’ income, he said the Government will do everything possible for the betterment of the farmer community in Kashmir.

Speaking on the occasion, District Development Commissioner Budgam, Syed Sehrish Asgar, said that the Agriculture Department and the district administration are working shoulder-to-shoulder for the betterment of farmer community in the district.

Director Agriculture Kashmir, Syed Altaf Aijaz Andrabi said the Department has taken various initiatives both under centrally and state-sponsored schemes to upgrade the agricultural scene in Kashmir. He said that the mechanization in agriculture has remained a key in the doubling of farmers’ income.

Earlier, the Advisor, who was also chief guest on the occasion, inspected different stalls put up at the Mela to showcase the different agricultural and its allied departments’ products and activities.

The Advisor inspected stalls of vermin-compost model unit, hybrid crops, button mushroom, seed production, fertilizer, orgainc, farm machinery, soil testing laboratory equipments, terrace farming, soil erosion model, scented herbs and plants stall like Salvia, Aster, Dahlia, Antirrhinum, Zinnia, organic model village, etc. He also inspected the stalls put up by several female entrepreneurs and also held interaction with the young entrepreneurs.

On the occasion, the Advisor was briefed about the importance of the Mela in making the people especially farmers of the district aware about the Government schemes, latest technology and good practices for progressive farming to boost their production.

The Advisor was told that Budgam district is self-sufficient in vegetable production, besides exporting large quantities of veggies to other districts of Kashmir.

Later, the Advisor released two booklets ‘Munfarid Zaraiy Hidayaat’ and ‘Studying Document on Doubling Farmers Income by 2022 in Kashmir Division.’

Chief Agriculture Officer, Shabir Ahmed Allaqband and other concerned were also present on the occasion.

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‘Unusual’ rain in Kashmir worries farmers, fruit growers

Kashmir News Service

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Srinagar, Jun 17: With rainfall in June bringing down temperatures across Kashmir, the unusual weather pattern is turning into a cause of worry for farmers and fruit growers.

Farmers are already feeling the heat due to freaky weather. “Our apple crop is almost 50 percent damaged while other fruits and vegetables have been completely wiped off as rains and hailstorm lashed Kashmir right from the time of flowering,” Kursheed Ahmad, a farmer from North Kashmir said.

“Secondly, the plunging temperature and wet weather makes our fruit plants susceptible to diseases like scab and we have to spend extra amount to spray them with fungicides and insecticides more frequently. For 50 percent less crop we have to spend 200 percent more.”

 

Officials at Horticulture department also present a gloomy picture. “We won’t say fruits and vegetables are completely destroyed, but it has been hit badly,” one of the Horticulture officials told Kashmir News Service (KNS). “On one hand we are assessing the damage and on the other trying to help farmers by expert counseling and compensation.”

May and June are crucial for paddy cultivation in Kashmir since rice saplings are transplanted from nurseries to the fields. However, frequent rain has not only affected the transplantation operations, but also hampered the normal growth of saplings in the nurseries. “Our fodder crop did not grow to the right length this spring. Now, frequent rains are affecting rice transplantation, even as chilly weather caused stunted growth of the saplings in the nurseries,” said a visibly worried Javaid Ahmad, 44, a farmer in north Kashmir Kupwara.

Fruit growers too are worried about moisture in their orchards, which acts as a catalyst for fungal and parasitic diseases in trees, besides causing an explosion in pests’ numbers. “Fungal diseases explode in orchards in wet weather conditions since moisture remains on leaves and trunks of apple trees for longer periods,” said one of the, professors at the Srinagar agricultural university.

“Pests like hairy caterpillar – also called gypsy moth – grow better in rainy conditions.” “These pests devour leaves and other fleshy parts of the tree, destroying both the fruit and the plant,” he added. What is adding to the growing worries of farmers and fruit growers alike is the fact that local weather forecasts do not hold good news for them in the near future as well.

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Adv Sharma for fast pacing of environmental conservation projects

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Srinagar, Jun 17: The Advisor to Governor K K Sharma today directed the officers to ensure that the ecological concerns in consonance with the local landscape and environment are taken into consideration while undertaking the conservation of the environment, water bodies and maintained that they should be fast-paced.

The Advisor was reviewing the progress of work on the Abatement of Pollution in Banganga & Tawi Rivers Project.

The meeting was attended by Principal Secretary, H&UDD Dheeraj Gupta, Director Planning, H&UDD Ishfaq Packhiwal , Chief Engineer UEED, Satinder Rana and other senior officers.

 

While referring to the importance of the project, the Advisor said the Project has pivotal importance with regard to the conservation of the rivers Ban Ganga and Tawi. He added it, therefore, becomes important that the project is undertaken in a systematic and scientific manner while keeping in view the local ecology and also the heritage and cultural value associated with these historic rivers.

The project should be implemented in consonance with the local ecological and environmental concerns, the Advisor said.

Sharma also directed the concerned to involve other stakeholder departments like Forest, Soil Conservation, and Irrigation & Flood Control in the implementation of the programme.  He said that the executing agency should also undertake convergence of other schemes in order to make the project viable and holistic.

The 98.70 crore project meant to check the pollution abatement of River Ban Ganga and Tawi at Katra Town would be providing a total Sewerage network (RCC Pipe) to about 57.19 Km, having about 3619 Manhole (RCC & Brick) covers, providing 4045 house connecting chambers, 2023 property chambers and having 07 no.s of Intermediate Pumping Stations (IPS).

Besides, it would have a non-sewerage component involving the development of Bathing Ghats, Shamshan Ghats, Green Areas and Mini Parks at different locations en-route the main flowing the pattern of the River Ban Ganga and it is tributaries finally culminating in Tawi River.

Meanwhile, several deputations also called on the Advisor and apprised him with the problems and grievances in their respective areas.

A deputation of Bhardewah led by Ravinder Kotwal called on the Advisor and projected several issues related to PDD, R&B, PHE and Urban Local Bodies. The Advisor assured that their genuine demandswould be addressed at an earliest.

Former minister and MLA Vikar Rasool Wani also called on the Advisor and apprised him with various issues regarding his constituency.

The issues projected to take up the much-needed road projects of Banihal constituency, funds for Heewagan Bohardar up-to Chamalwas as bypass road under CRF, for compensation of Bankoot Gujjarnar and Chapnari Gudar road, for Kharpora Rattanbas road, Buzla road, Shiekhpora Nagam road, Digdol radoog road.

He also strongly raised the concerns over the delay in completion of Ramban Banihal NHW, besides Banihal bypass stretch.

Vikar Rasool Wani urged upon the advisor to expedite the construction work of all ongoing projects, besides he also demanded for immediate releasing of the funds under languishing for completion of incomplete roads and bridges of Banihal constituency.

The Advisor assured the MLA that all his genuine demands would be addressed at an earliest and will personally try to meet out the issues highlighted by the deputation of Banihal headed by Vikar Rasool Wani.

Later, former legislators Ashraf Mir and Noor Mohammed Sheikh also called on the Advisor and apprised him with the problems faced by the people in their respective areas.

Among the issues projected included drainage project at Panthachowk, inclusion of Panthachowk area in Smart City project, delay in Vyethpora bridge at Pandrethan bridge, augmentation of  Tangnar Water scheme and other issues of the Srinagar City.

A deputation of Municipal Counsellors also called on the Advisor and briefed him with various issues including the need for providing them with the security, earmark funds for them to carry out the developmental works in their municipal areas. 

The Advisor assured them that their genuine demands would be looked into.

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