Friday, October 30, 2009

Mir directs pilot project for Saffron irrigation

Minister for Agriculture, Ghulam Hassan Mir today directed formulation of a pilot project for providing adequate irrigation facilities to Saffron fields at Pampore. In this regard, he sought a project report within a week’s time for its subsequent execution.

Chairing a meeting of officers to redress the problem of inadequate irrigation facility to the saffron fields here this morning, the Minister asked the concerned agencies to undertake an inspection of the area for an on the spot assessment of the problem and identify the possible sites of irrigation schemes. He also directed taking up immediately a pilot project for the purpose.

Mir asked all the related agencies to prepare a project report for the purpose and submit the same to him within a week’s time. He said on the receipt of the project report he would like the execution of the same so that farmers get relief at the earliest.

The Minister asked the officers and engineers to take all irrigation options like dug wells, bore wells, lift irrigation etc. into consideration while making the project report.

Minister of State for Agriculture, Javid Ahmad Dar, Director, Agriculture, B.A Dar, Director, Enforcement, Manzoor Shah, Chief Engineer, Irrigation & FC and other senior officers attended the meeting.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Comprehensive Wullar restoration project in pipeline

The Jammu and Kashmir government is vigorously following the proposal furnished to the Centre for funding Wullar development project involving an expenditure of over Rs. 350 crore.

This is a Rs 350 comprehensive project furnished for the revival and restoration of the world’s famous fresh water Lake Wullar for which Government of India has been approached to provide financial assistance for its implementation. JK government is also planning to the restore water supply to Mansbal Tourist Resort.

Relevant to mention here that large scale human interference and encroachments have badly affected State’s water wealth and greenery.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Govt. contemplating to develop S.R Gunj as Heritage Market: Gul

Advisor to the Chief Minister Mr. Mubarak Gul today said that government is contemplating to develop S.R Gunj as a heritage market. The proposed project aims at restoring the glory of the bazaar by giving it a heritage look so that it emerges as favourite and a must go place for shoppers, tourists and heritage lovers.

The deputation representing Beopar Mandal Downtown along with prominent citizens of Shaher-i-khas today met the Advisor and discussed issues relating to the improvement and upgradation of the bazaar and apprised him of their other demands as well. The deputation also sought sumo service from Batmalloo to Shaherikhas.

Mr. Gul also received several deputations from various districts of the valley here this morning. They presented memoranda of their demands and requested for expeditous completion of ongoing infrastructure-upgradation schemes for faster benefits.

The advisor gave patient hearing to all the deputations and assured them of sympathetic government consideration for redressal of genuine grievances. The advisor also issued immediate directions to the concerned departments for follow up action. He said up-gradation of basic facilities in all areas of the State has been flagged as priority area and government is keen to fast-track development process.

Friday, October 23, 2009

J&K ideally suited for floriculture industry: Sham

“Flower business can be very profitable, especially in J&K state where this industry has lot of potential as well as suitable climate to prosper”.

This was stated by Minister for Floriculture, Horticulture and Health, Mr. Sham Lal Sharma in the inaugural session of two- day workshop on Development of Commercial Floriculture (Including Tulip) in Jammu & Kashmir in Hotel Le Meridian here today.

The workshop has been collectively organized by Agricultural and Processed Food Products Exports Development Authority (APEDA), Ministry of Commerce, GOI, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Department of Floriculture, Govt. of J&K.

He said that this is the right time for the Floriculture department along with the subject related agencies in the country to come forward and work in the state, as under the present leadership in the state and the centre the budgetary constraint is no more a matter of concern for the growth in Floriculture in J&K.

Our state has the potential and necessary support but to understand the supply-demand pattern both at the domestic, national as well as the international markets, workshops like these can be of great assistance. The Minister was also of the opinion that the said workshop should give a road map as to how the missing links can be identified and filled so that this natural resource can be developed thus generating lot of employment opportunities for the youth of the state.

The Minister of State for Floriculture, Horticulture, Health, Agriculture and R&B Mr. Javed Ahmed Dar was the Guest of Honor at the Workshop. He was very hopeful of the fact that holding the Workshop with all sections of the Flower Industry especially the growers and transporters participating itself shows the seriousness of the govt. towards the sector as well as the interest of the National Level players in the field to guide us. The Minister appreciated the efforts of Principal Secretary Agriculture Production, Floriculture and Horticulture Mrs. Sonali Kumar to have taken the initiative in this field and brought together different agencies to come together and help the state govt. in this field.

Mrs. Sonali Kumar in her introductory remarks conveyed lot of enthusiasm and hope in the very fact that if we are able to make use of this workshop in an effective manner it will surely be of great help to the Floriculture as an industry in the State. APEDA was represented by its Chairman Mr. Asit Tripathy and FAO by Mr. David Kahan. A special presentation was given by Mr Vijay Sardana, MD APRL and Consultant FAO on the Findings of the Field Survey of Value Chain of Floriculture.

The workshop was also attended by the growers from Jammu and Kashmir and people working in the field of Floriculture at different capacities. Chief Minister Mr. Omar Abdullah is also expected to grace the workshop tomorrow and discuss the action plan so emerged.

Omar stresses on preserving State’s tourist places

Chief Minister, Mr. Omar Abdullah Friday called for a coordinated approach to preserve and protect the State’s eco-balance adding that conservation of its scenic splendour and natural beauty is imperative to salvage future. “God has bestowed upon us His blessings in the shape of beautiful valleys, transparent water bodies, murmuring springs, dancing brooks, enchanting and marvelous mountains with forest wealth and flora and fauna of vast varieties”, he said and emphasized on mass awareness about the importance of protection of these natural treasures. The Chief Minister who is also the Chairman of Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA) was chairing the 4th meeting of the PDA at Pahalgam. The Minister for Tourism, Mr. Nawang Rigzin Jora, Minister of State for Tourism, Mr. Nasir Aslam Wani, Commissioner Secretary Planning and Development, Mr. B. B. Vyas, Commissioner Secretary Finance, Mr. Sudhanshu Pandey, Secretary Tourism, Ms Tanveer Jahan, Deputy Commissioner, Anantnag and other members of PDA were present in the meeting. Mr. Omar said that the Tourism Department and other agencies linked with this field have a pivotal role to safeguard the beautiful tourist places and create infrastructure there in complete conformity with the requirements of ecology and environment. “The haphazard and unplanned development of tourist resorts not only unbalances the natural beauty but also adds to uncalled for pollution”, he said and asked the Development Authorities to be scientific and pragmatic in carrying forward the plans for tourist facilities. The Chief Minister said that Jammu and Kashmir has been the heaven on earth, many more years before Kerala was ‘God’s own country’ and our efforts should be to restore this unique and prime position of the State on international tourist map. “It has been felt since recently that tourists from east are showing more enthusiasm in visiting Kashmir”, he said and asked the Tourism Department to endeavour for strengthening this trend and encouraging more and more visitors from non-traditional areas while putting in place efforts to revive the tourist flow from the western countries. Underlining the importance of Pahalgam as a famous picnic spot for the national and international tourists of all categories, Mr. Omar said that this tourist resort requires focused attention for receiving large number of tourists and pilgrims every year. “While adequate and befitting facilities are to be created, the attention has to be concentrated on maintaining the clean and palatable environment”, he maintained. The meeting discussed various matters pertaining to the development of the areas and villages within the jurisdiction of PDA. Upgradation of water supply, electric and medical facility, improvement of Pahalgam-Aru road, beautification and landscaping, laying of parks, development of land near amusement park, strengthening and construction of sewerage network, development of golf course, development of Mandlana village as a tourist village, development of Betab Valley, Master Plan for Greater Pahalgam, development of roller skating and promotion of youth tourism also came up for discussion in the meeting. The CEO of PDA gave a resume of the activities and functioning of the Authority and explained the agenda items in detail.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

JK Govt determined to revive old tourist glory of State: Omar

*Eastern and Central Asian countries emerging as new tourist catchment areas for the state

*Role of lacks of people associated with tourism pivotal to rebuild the infrastructure

“Tourism is the back bone of the economy of the Jammu and Kashmir State and the glorious historical role of people of Kashmir to give new dimension to world tourism is hard reality and same cannot be erased by few adverse incidents which crippled this industry during last two decades”, said Chief Minister Mr. Omar Abdullah while interacting with representatives associated with tourism sector at an impressive function held at Grand Palace organized by Travel Agents Society of Kashmir.

Omar Abdullah agreed with the representative of tourist trade that rumours spread and exaggerated through international media regarding presence of Taliban in Kashmir has affected tourist arrivals to some extent but at the same time he complimented Tourism Minister Mr. Rigzin Jora for holding press conference recently at TRC and refuting these rumours vehemently. He said this press communication helped at National and International level to restore the confidence of the tourist destined to come to Kashmir valley.

On the occasion, Minister for Tourism Mr. Jora, Minister of State for Toruism, Mr. Nasir Aslam Wani, Political Advisor to Chief Minister Mr. Davinder Rana, Secretary Tourism Ms. Tanveer Jehan, Director Information Mr. Farooq Renzu, Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar Mr. Mehraj Kakroo, Director Tourism, Farooq Shah, President Travel Agents Society, Kashmir Mr. Abdul Khaliq Wangnoo, Mr. Mubin Sha, Mr. Nazir Bakshi and other distinguished personalities from tourism, Industries and Commerce and Media were present.

Mr. Omar Abdullah said that he is himself daily monitoring the arrival position of the tourists and he has himself detected that now flow of tourists arriving from our own country, neighboring countries, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, other eastern countries and Central Asia, is increasing, While as, tourist arrival graph from west is simultaneously showing sharp decline. He said this is the time for tourism department to concentrate on this shift of tourist flow and play its role in attracting people from these countries by launching publicity campaign.

During the interaction, the Chief Minister said that livelihood of lakh of people is associated with this trade. He further stated that during last two decades this industry was worst hit as a result of which not only big houses associated with this trade but the tour operators, hotel owners, shikara and Houseboat owners, artisans associated with handicrafts, cottage industry received colossal economic setbacks. Therefore time has come to rebuilt our tourist infrastructure in such a manner so that besides having international compatibility this sector shall be able to regain all the losses which this industry has suffered during recent past.

Mr. Omar said that with more introduction of innovative winter tourism games in Gulmarg and exploring new destinations for the same, state government is poised to make the J&K State round the year tourist destination. He said that once tourist flow increases maximum number of flights can be attracted to operate between various destinations to the state which will help in boosting our economy. He said that he has found positive trends during current year as maximum investors are coming forward to enrich tourist infrastructure in the state so that we are able to provide accommodation to large chunk of people.

The Chief Minister also said that Tourism Development Authorities throughout the state are being augmented not only to develop their respective tourist areas but also attract tourists to these new destinations. He said that he has himself visited various newly created Tourist Destination Areas and shall be visiting other new tourist destinations so that they are developed on modern lines. He said that we have to acknowledge that God has made our state as the real heaven on earth and it is responsibility of all of us to preserve this piece of heaven in its originality and help all intending tourists to fully enjoy this God given treasure so that they return with good impression and spread the same like our own ambassadors of tourism.

The Chief Minister also said that our Golf Tourism has started attracting international golfers as our Royal Spring Golf Course is one of the best Golf courses in the world. The continuous golf tournaments which are being played in this course has helped us in projecting beauty of the state in a better manner. However, Tourism Department has to work further in their publicity campaign as other states do.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Custodian land worth 100 cr retrieved from encroachers

Minister for Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation Mr. Raman Bhalla accompanied by Custodian General Mr. Baseer Ahmad Khan and other functionaries of the Custodian department conducted an extensive tour of various areas in and around Srinagar to take stock of working of the Custodian department today.

During the course of visit, the Minister visited commercial as well as residential and shopping complexes, flats and marriage halls of the department at Hyderpora, Rawalpora, Sanat Nagar, Barzulla, Batmaloo, Kathidarwaza, Hazratbal, Nishat and Gupkar locations.

During the visit of shopping complex at Hyderpora, the Minister was informed that against the expenditure of Rs. 4.85 crore booked on the complex comprising on 70 shops and 40 halls, a revenue of Rs. 7 crore has so far been realized from the tenants.

The Minister visited Dr. Sir Mohammad Iqbal Convention Centre/Marriage Hall at Rawalpora constructed by the department at a cost of Rs. 3.83 crore and was told that the hall is more beneficial for the people who prefer to book the hall on their marriage ceremonies off and on.

Mr. Bhalla also visited flats at Rawalpora, Sanat Nagar and Baghti Barzulla where the department has constructed 24 flats each at a project cost of Rs. 1.92 crore, Rs. 1.70 crore and Rs. 1.60 crore respectively and the department is earning a lot from the tenants.

The Minister also visited Majid Bagh and inspected 33 flats of the department and was told that a good amount of revenue is being realized from the tenants and their rent rates are revised after every five years.

While inspecting Marriage Hall coming up at a project cost of Rs. 4.60 crore over an area of 11 kanals of land at Kathidarwaza, the Minister was informed that the work on the project has been started during January this year and is expected to be completed with modern facilities by the end of July 2010.

The Minister also visited the prime location at Nishat where the department has retrieved 21 kanals of land from an encroacher and asked the Custodian departmental officers for fencing, watch and ward and development of the place best for tourist hutments.

During the visit, the Custodian General informed the Minister that the department has retrieved 89 kanals of land costing more than Rs. 100 crore during its drive against encroachers. He was also informed that the department has so far generated income of Rs. 9 crore during the current year against last year’s income of Rs. 6 crore.

While giving other details of the property of the department, the Minister was informed that besides 58,428 kanals of land with the department, there are 154 old houses, 90 sets, 274 shops, 73 hutments, 53 halls, 90 flats and 26 orchards with the department.

The Minister asked the officers of the Custodian department to complete such income generating projects which have the potential to create avenues for the department which is being run without budgetary support. There has to emphasize a lot on income generating assets.

The Minister also asked the department to exercise strict vigil on the custodian land in order to obviate any scope for encroachers to occupy land un-authorizedly. He directed to initiate action under EP Act for early ejection and retrieve the encroached land of the department.

The Minister appreciated the working of the department and directed them to continue the drive against encroachers and have the remaining encroached land retrieved back on war footing basis.

He stressed upon the officers of the department to take all measures for computerizing the records and inventorization of assets of the department so that the same is put on website for the general information of the public and to ensure accountability and transparency in the department.

The Minister directed the officers to prepare more projects which are income generating keeping also in view their feasibility.

The Minister directed the Custodian Department to initiate similar exercise for coming projects on the same pattern in Jammu division also on the land which has been retrieved by the department.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Charisma & splendor surround festival of lights in Jammu

Many Deepavali festivals have come and gone. Yet the hearts of the vast majority are as dark as the night of the new moon. The house is lit with lamps, but the heart is full of the darkness of ignorance. O man! Wake-up from the slumber of ignorance. Realize the constant and eternal light of the soul which neither rises nor sets, through meditation and deep enquiry.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

JK Government mulling ropeway system to connect hilly areas

160 culverts, 4 bridges on Mughal road to be completed December end

As many as 160 culverts, presently under execution, out of total 450 and 4 minor bridges out of 21 coming up on prestigious Mughal road would be completed within next three months., besides applying South African Easy Blasting and Defusing Technology. This was disclosed by the Minister for R&B G.M Saroori while briefing to media persons here today. He said the work has been accelerated on the project from both the sides to ensure its completion by March 2011, adding that WBM has been completed on 25 kms from Shopian side while the same from Buffliaz side has been completed for 15 Kms. The Minister said Government is contemplating to introduce a Ropeway system to connect hilly areas, having less possibilities of road connectivity, which not only save forest degradation but would also be economical besides reducing the travel distance. The Project will help in beautifying the hilly areas besides attracting the local and domestic tourists. The Minister said that 22 excavators have been put into service from Shopian and 26 from Buffliaz side to speed up the work on the project. He said some more machines are being pressed into service besides augmenting of labour force, he added. He said Rs. 270 crore have been incurred so far out of total estimated and approved cost of Rs. 639 crore funded by the Centre Government. Regarding introduction of South African Easy Blasting and Defusing Technology, Saroori said this technology is economical, easy to use and can break hardest and biggest rock of any size. The Minister said that a modern technology will soon be applied on the roads in the State, which will reduce the cost of the work besides saving the time as one kilometer road can be prepared for premixing within one day. Under this process, RBI-81 Powder is directly treated with the soil to make the road fully prepared for traffic, Mr. Saroori added.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Need a Master Plan for environment protection: Governor

Workshop on climate changes

‘Time to reverse damage done to the environment’

In a bid to preserve its fragile ecosystem, the Jammu and Kashmir Governor, NN Vohra, on Wednesday asserted that the state needed a Master Plan to address the issue.

“Time has come to protect the environment by way of having a full-fledged Master Plan in hand for the whole state from Ladakh downwards. The Master Plan should address the issue of environment protection by suggesting where to go for development and constructions keeping in view the fragile ecology of J&K,” he said while addressing delegates and officials at the valedictory function of the 3-day International Workshop on Climate Change at the University of Kashmir.

He said the Master Plan should be statutory in nature and the one whose provisions won’t be violated. “In J&K we have a very fragile ecosystem. We need to preserve its environment,” Vohra said, adding that “We are not only close to the problem of climate change but in the midst of it.”

The 3-day Workshop titled “Climate Change, Glacial Retreat and Livelihoods” was organised jointly by the University of Kashmir, State Forest Research Institute (SFRI) and The Energy Research Institute (TERI).

The Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, said there was need to sensitize the civil society about the consequences of climate change. “The issue of climate change is no longer theoretical as was perceived some years back. It is something that is visible to us. If we wake up to the issue today, we may be able to salvage something for posterity,” he said, adding, “There was definite and visible retreat of our glaciers, not in centimeters but meters.”

Omar, who is also the university pro-chancellor, said that the challenge before the government was to reverse the damage caused to the environment over the years. “People are to be made aware about the environment, climate change and glacial retreat as all this concerns them directly. We are seeing visible change in climate in Kashmir where summers are getting warmers and cropping patterns are changing,” he said, adding that the Workshops like these lend practical dimension to the problems like Climate Change.

In his welcome address, the KU Registrar, Prof S Fayyaz Ahmad, underlined the initiatives taken by the varsity to address the issue of Climate Change. “On the instructions of vice-chancellor, we have formed a Working Group on Climate Change which has been hailed at the national and international level,” he said, adding that the subject was a thrust area of research at Kashmir University.

He called for establishment of an Integrated Research Centre to address the issues of climate change, environment and energy. “That is vital for the socio-economic development of the state,” Prof Fayyaz, who represented the varsity, said.

The Commissioner/Secretary (Forests), Shantamanu, presented brief summary of the technical sessions of the Workshop.

The minister for Forests, Mian Altaf Ahmad, said his Ministry was alive to the challenges it faced vis-à-vis environment. “Whatever recommendations will be presented to us, we will ensure that they are implemented,” he said, while calling for empowerment of the Ecology and Environment Department.

The Senior Fellow at TERI, Prof SI Hasnain, talked about the overall discussions that took place during the three days of the Workshop.

On the occasion the organizers presented a set of recommendations regarding the climate change to the Govt of J&K. These include educated people about the climate change, adopting appropriate energy technologies in the region and performing a comprehensive assessment of the likely impact of climate change on the hydropower sector in J&K.

The conference felt that the dedicated institution in the state be mandated to coordinate actions of all the organizations to address adaptation to mitigate of climate change

Among others present on the occasion included senior KU academics and officials besides senior officers of the state government. The advisors to Chief Minister, Davinder Rana and Mubarak Gul, also chaired the dais.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Escalating air, noise pollution causing environmental degradation in J&K

*2 years gone; no Air Quality Monitoring in ‘gray areas’

*Despite warnings music systems reinstalled by operators

*Survival of habitations in low lying areas threatened

*Comprehensive City Transport Plan for Srinagar, Jammu on anvil

The pollution in varied forms has been causing environmental degradation in Jammu and Kashmir state and consequently glaciers in the state are now melting at a faster pace, threatening the survival of habitations in low lying areas.

Environmental degradation in different forms of air, water, and noise pollution goes on unchecked in the state Jammu and Kashmir with concerned authorities including State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) and other agencies sleeping over what environmentalists say ‘a ticking time bomb’.

The problem can be attributed to rapid deforestation and rampant use of fossil fuels. The number of green trees has come under the axe for widening the Jammu-Pathankote bypass road and countless trees were also felled under four-lane project of NHAI right from Pull Doda to Bhaderwah.

The green patches around winter capital, called lungs of the city, have been shrinking at a faster pace while air-pollution including green house gases has been increasing day by day.
Haphazard industrialization in the state in the backdrop of faulty checks and constantly increasing number of automobiles has been adding to emission of greenhouse gases.

Automobiles continue to spew carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and lead, not only polluting the air but also disturbing the heat and radiation balance of earth's atmosphere.

Per capita number of vehicles have increased manifold in Jammu in particular and the whole state in general as compared to population density and these vehicles have been adding to air pollution without any serious exercise by the government to check emissions of greenhouse gases.

The air pollution graph that is on continuous rise in the city of temples is getting no attention from the monitoring agencies considering the fact that even after lapse of two years State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) has failed to install ‘Continuous Air Quality Monitoring Systems’ proposed two years back for areas prone to air pollution.

The project was sanctioned by Central Pollution Control Board after the state board moved a proposal for the same in the year 2007.

Sources in the Pollution Control Board said that the installation of Envirotech Instruments in the interior parts forms the part of traffic regulation in the city, particularly measures for putting control on the traffic pollution.

The locations identified for installing ‘‘Continuous Air Quality Monitoring Systems’ Raghunath Bazar, Kachi Chawani, Janipura and Vikram Chowk, the areas which have maximum traffic pressure.

The major source of air pollution in Jammu city is emissions from traffic, for it is only second after Tokyo in the list of cities having maximum number of automobile traffic across the world

Presently there are only three such installations across Jammu City, one at Mulana Azad Stadium other at PCB complex at Narwal and third at Industrial area Baribrahmna.

However, there are no such installations in Mishriwala, Muthi and other areas which have maximum numbers of Brick Kilns considered as one of the main source of air pollution.

Meanwhile, the noise pollution is another matter of concern for the people in city of temples. Within few days after the traffic cops had launched an over ambitious drive to rid the pubic transport vehicles of their music systems majority of matadors plying on different routes across the city have reinstalled or bought new music systems to entertain their passengers.

Few days ago the traffic cops along with senior district police officers have carried out a special drive of deinstalling music systems from the public transport buses. Ironically, paying little or no attention to the directives and strict warning issued by the traffic cops to drivers and conductors majority of them are running music system much to the chagrin of commuters.

The traffic cops had carried out the exercise after large number of commuters has complained to the senior cops through writing complaints to rid the public transport system of this menace.

For few days the transporters and owners of these matadors’ exercised self control but majority of them surrendered before the wishes of their operators who were pushing hard to install.

The argument given by these operators to their promoters was very straight. Music is the only source of entertainment for us we bear unbearable heat for long hours.

After listening to their arguments the owners of these matadors allowed their drives to install music systems but added a single liner rider not to play vulgar songs at high volume and listen to the suggestions of commuters in this regard. When contacted senior traffic cops on duty across Jammu admitted that we cannot stop every matador owner from installing music systems.

The traffic police officer said our job is to restrict use of music systems which largely creates noise pollution and from time to time we carry out regular checks and challan matador operators for violating norms of motor vehicles department.

Meanwhile, a comprehensive city transport plan for the twin capitals of Jammu and Srinagar was discussed at a high level meeting chaired by Minister for Transport, Qamar Ali Akhoon today. Besides the Minister of State for Transport, CAPD, Shabir Ahmad Khan, the meeting was attended by Secretary Transport, Secretary, Urban Development, Vice Chairman, Jammu Development Authority, Vice Chairman Srinagar Development Authority, Transport Commissioner and other concerned officers.

The meeting was informed that within two months, Jammu Development Authority and Srinagar Development Authority will come up with a proposal with preparation of documents and evaluation. The meeting decided to set up the multi disciplinary committees for Jammu and Srinagar cities headed by respective Vice Chairman of two Development Authorities with Chief Architect of two concerned authorities as the Member Secretaries and Chief Town Planner, Chief Architect, SSP Traffic, SE, R&B and RTO concerned as the members.

The meeting was told that the Transport department will initiate the steps for setting up of the Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority. The meeting was told that for better traffic management latest technology will be put to use with most rapid transit system put in place wherein less vehicles will be used for larger transportation of people. After the necessary ground work is completed the Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority will be established for regulating the public transport.

The meeting also discussed the identification of land for establishment of legal metrology offices both in JammuSrinagar besides the land for establishment of CAPD office at Jammu with the JDA and SDA. and

The up keep and maintenance of CAPD godowns at Ware-House, Jammu was also discussed and the JDA was directed by the Minister to ensure proper up keep and sanitation at the spot.

Monday, October 12, 2009

JK's main glacier 'Kolahoi glacier' melting at alarming pace'

Jammu & Kashmir's biggest glacier, which feeds the region's main river, is melting faster than other Himalayas glaciers, threatening the water supply of tens of thousands of people, a new report warned on Monday.

Experts say rising temperatures are rapidly shrinking Himalayan glaciers, underscoring the effects of climate change that has caused temperatures in the mountainous region to rise by about 1.1 degrees Celsius in the past 100 years.

The biggest glacier in Indian Kashmir, the Kolahoi glacier spread over just a little above 11 sq km (4.25 sq mile), has shrunk 2.63 sq km in the past three decades, a new study said.

"Kolahoi glacier is shrinking 0.08 square kilometres a year, which is an alarming speed," said the study, presented at a workshop on "Climate Change, Glacial Retreat and Livelihoods," in Srinagar, Indian Kashmir's summer capital.

The three year-long study was led by glaciologist Shakil Ramsoo, assistant professor in the department of geology at the University of Kashmir.

The Kolahoi glacier is the main source of water for Kashmir's biggest river, the Jhelum, and its many streams and lakes.

According to a United Nations Environment Programme and World Glacier Monitoring Service study, the average melting rate of mountain glaciers has doubled since the turn of the millennium, with record losses seen in 2006 at several sites.

But India's Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said in August there was a need for more scientific studies to conclusively establish the link between climate change and shrinking glaciers.

He said while "a couple of" Himalayan glaciers were receding, some others such as the Siachen glacier were advancing, while others like the Gangotri glacier were receding at a decreasing rate compared with the last two decades.

But Ramsoo said: "Other small Kashmir glaciers are also shrinking and the main reason is that the winter temperature in Kashmir is rising."

Experts say the melting of Kashmir glaciers could have serious fallout as most Kashmiris rely on glaciers for water.

A call for coordinated effort to address Climate Change

Contact:- 919906103001

Forest Minister inaugurates International Workshop on Glacial Retreat

The Kashmir University vice-chancellor, Prof Riyaz Punjabi on Monday called for a coordinated effort between different governmental and non-governmental agencies to address the issue of climate change in Jammu and Kashmir.

Addressing delegates at the inaugural function of the 3-day International Workshop on Climate Change, he said, “The need of the hour is to have a coordinated effort to address the issue of climate change at the regional and local levels in Jammu and Kashmir.”

The Workshop titled “Climate Change, Glacial Retreat and Livelihoods” is organised jointly by the University of Kashmir, Government of J&K, and The Energy And Resources Institute (TERI).

“It would be a big contribution if the different agencies like KU, TERI and State Forest Research Institute, Government of J&K are able to pool up the data regarding the status of climate change in the state. There is need to identify factors and remedies for the issues that we confront vis-à-vis climate change and glacial retreat,” Prof Punjabi said, adding that both people and policy makers have to be alive and sensitive to the issue of Climate Change.

Prof Punjabi asserted that there were indicators suggesting climate change in J&K. “For example, we have a lost a season called Sont Kaal (small season before spring). Today youth in the age group of 15 to 25 can’t identify with this season. Besides the change in temperate, variety of vegetables in Kashmir is an indicator of the climate change. Therefore the issue assumes great significance for us,” he said, adding that there was need to address the issue of glacial retreat at the same time as glaciers were a source of water for the water bodies in J&K.

He said it was high time to pay attention to some critical environmental issues like ozone depletion, deforestation, vegetation, cement manufacturing and human influence on environment. “As of now we don’t have much scientific data available on the status of climate change in J&K, but we need to pool this data in a coordinated manner and chart out a future course of action,” Prof Punjabi said while urging the government to pay more attention to the issue.

Prof Punjabi called for a massive sensitization programme about the consequences of climate change. “At any cost, we have to aware our society and policy makers about the consequences of climate change so that they take appropriate steps to arrest it,” he said.

The function was inaugurated by the Minister for Forests, Mian Altaf Ahmad. “We are shortly going for a declaration on the climate change. However we have to monitor this declaration and follow it up. At the governmental level, whatever needs be done will be done,” he said while calling for empowering the Department of Environment.

The Minister of State for Forests, Shabir Ahmad Khan, said the climate change can be mitigated.

A Senior Fellow at TERI, Prof S I Hasnain said the issue of climate change needs be assessed regionally and addressed locally. “Scientists and experts must develop a regional approach to the issues concerning climate change and tackle them accordingly,” he said.

The Principal Conservator of Forests, Jagdish Kiswan, said the receding glaciers were a matter of concern as most of the water sources emanate from glaciers.

The Commissioner/Secretary (Forests), Shantamannu, presented the welcome address while R D Tiwari, Director, State Forest Research Institute, J&K, presented the vote of thanks. Others who shared the dais included Chief Secretary SS Kapoor; Mr Angurana, Principal/secretary, PHE .