Kashmir’s natural beauty under threat, stakeholders raise alarm   

By: Afaq Bhat

Srinagar: Environment being vandalized by some unscrupulous elements across Kashmir has evoked concern from all the sections of the society.

Recently, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries—an amalgam of business organizations—expressed concern over the world famous Dal Lake being turned into a floating garden. “The tourism industry has started to revive itself after the lockdowns, many nature lovers and stakeholders are worried about the lackadaisical attitude and inability of Lakes and Water Development Authorities (LAWDA) in deweeding the Dal Lake and continuous vandalism and littering of trekking areas by some uncivilized people.”

After the restrictions imposed in wake of COVID-19 in J&K have been eased the trekkers have started trekking in unprecedented numbers; however, most of the trekking companies and groups are allegedly plundering the nature in the forest and wildlife areas of Pahalgam, a famous tourist destination in south Kashmir.

An environmentalist while talking to Precious Kashmir said, “Dal Lake is the pride of Kashmir as people from across the world visit Srinagar to see this water body. In the past few years its area has reduced considerably. If we fail to preserve it, the lake may become history.”

He said that the government needs to take immediate steps to protect Dal Lake and other water bodies like Wular Lake.

On the other hand trekking companies too are involved in vandalizing the nature at Pahalgam in south Kashmir. After the reports about the environment being ruined surfaced Pahlagam Development Authority (PDA)   decided not to allow any trekking to mountains without proper permission.

“It has come to our notice that some trekking groups have caused damage to the natural landscape besides littering tracks. This has put the fragile ecosystem of the area in danger,” stated the order issued by Chief Executive Officer (CEO), PDA.

“Kashmir is famous for its natural beauty across the world and continuous assaults on the environment can turn the Valley into a barren land. If we don’t wake up and address the concerns we may end up losing everything we have. Everyone, including the officials, people and the companies that organize the trekking programmes are duty bound to safeguard the environment and the surroundings,” the environmentalist added.

He said, “The Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) needs to put its act together and ensure that Dal Lake remains safe. On the other hand Pahalgam Development Authority, Gulmarg Development  Authority, Sonamarg Development Authority and other bodies entrusted with the job to maintain famous health resorts in Kashmir need to remain vigilant to ensure that these spots remain safe.”

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