The draft environmental policy prepared 3 years ago still requires government approval – Kashmir Reader


SRINAGAR: From time to time the government, through its public information service, disseminates information about its seriousness in preserving the environment. More than a dozen departments are at work for this purpose, implementing dozens of laws intended to preserve the environment. But the government has yet to approve the environmental policy, the record of which has been circulating for many years to gain the necessary approval.

And this despite the fact that environmental degradation is everywhere on a large scale. The draft environmental policy which was prepared by the Department of Ecology, Environment and Remote Sensing more than three years ago, remains suspended, moving from one department to another.

The policy was written to orient efforts towards environmental issues and four weeks were given to gather comments and suggestions from stakeholders, non-governmental organizations, civil society groups and government departments.

“The whole process has taken place, but approval is still pending,” officials familiar with the state of the policy said. “The lack of policy means the government has no action plan to tackle the causes of degradation.

This approach is the same as that of the previous political government to the issue.

Sources said: “Enough to talk about previous governments when even the current administration pays no attention to the need for an environmental policy.”

From the media blitzkrieg of the government’s actions to conserve water bodies, forests and mountains, one can guess just how much the government wants to publicize its concern for the environment. But even a single environmental report prepared by a leading research organization suggests no improvement in the health of the environment in Jammu and Kashmir. According to the famous Delhi-based Center for Science and Environment (CSW), the 10 glaciers in Jammu and Kashmir are among 39 Indian glaciers that have been found to be at high risk. These glaciers are melting rapidly, according to the report, with a 40 percent increase in their water levels recorded over the past decade.

What can this change in glacier conditions do to life on earth? Researchers have found that it can first fill glacial lakes with earth, which can cause flooding beyond the control of existing infrastructure.

“Glaciers must be closely monitored to avoid any disaster,” the report warns.

In this case, a clear environmental policy could have accelerated the works to protect the glaciers.

Officials said the forestry department’s non-serious approach is the main obstacle to approving the policy.


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