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Worrying weather patterns make absence of environmental policy felt

By Hirra Azmat

Srinagar: The worrisome weather patterns prevalent in Kashmir Valley are making the absence of a comprehensive environmental policy felt.
Kashmir has received scant precipitation in the last eight months, resulting in a drought-like scenario.
Consequently, the farmers have been advised to sow crops that need less water.
Srinagar centre of India’s Meteorological Department (IMD) has already confirmed rise in winter temperatures in the valley and also the “disturbed” precipitation patterns.
The environmentalists say that bad weather scenarios could have been avoided with an environmental policy.
Government of India framed National Environment Policy in 2006.
It was aimed at ‘mainstreaming the environmental concerns into all developmental activities’ through emphasis on conservation of resources.
Environmentalist, Dr Arshid said, “There is no environmental policy under implementation here. The government only takes short-term measures to deal with the problems.”
“We need to think 10 years down the line. Proper policies shal be there to mitigate the unprecedented environment crisis we are stuck in. Such policies highlight how we can protect the environment, avoid disaster-like situations, and be well prepared for that.”
Noted environmentalist, Majid Kak said the government has failed to frame an environmental policy that could help in framing and enforcing the required laws.
“There is no clear cut policy from the government. Results are before us. The weather pattern is erratic, forest cover is receding, water bodies are getting polluted, water levels in streams and rivulets is dwindling, and the credit goes to the government,” he said.
“We shall have a separate ministry for environment, but the government doesn’t seem concerned.”
Legislator Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, who heads the State Environment Committee, said, “There is no dearth of laws and guidelines in place. The challenge would be implementation.”
He blamed government for the environmental degradation.
“The present weather scenario could have been avoided if the departments had prepared a well-defined road map beforehand. The various departments here only issue advisories and indulge in fire-fighting measures. It again highlights how much less we are prepared to deal with the natural disasters,” he said.
He said the government of India has stalled the funds for environment, suggesting that the environment was “not a priority concern for this regime”.