Preserving water & water bosies
During his latest public interaction, ‘Awam Ki Awaz’, Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha urged the people of Jammu and Kashmir to dedicate themselves for restoration and revival of water bodies. He stressed that traditional ponds and water sources sustain life and civilisations and economies have prospered around water sources. He appreciated several Panchayats besides a large number of conscious citizens from all walks of life who have come forward and shown a strong resolve to restor and revive traditional water bodies. LG stressed the need to involve all the stakeholders in the process of restoring and reviving the traditional water bodies of the Union Territory. His assertions indicate that the government is serious in this regard and one hopes that the citizenry and the concerned administrations collaborate to do the needful.
Water is life and its shortage is undoubtedly going to impact every living being. Despite the fact, humans have been too greedy to respect their water resources. In Kashmir, whether it is Dal Lake, Wular, Anchar, Manasbal or other smaller lakes, the condition of these speak volumes about peoples’ insensitivity towards preservation of water bodies. Same is the story of smaller rivers spread all over and fresh water streams. In rural Kashmir, almost in every area there used to be fresh water streams. These streams have vanished and what remains there now are dirt, polythene, plastic filled drains. In Jammu and Kashmir, the governments, that be, and the people have miserably failed to preserve water bodies. Official insensitivity and peoples’ greed has played havoc with these water bodies. The official insensitivity could be gauged by few examples here. Bemina-Berthana area was flood basin and wetland and on this wetland the authorities have constructed offices of Srinagar Development Authority, Hajj House, SKIMS, Bemina, Police Public School and likewise several housing colonies too have completely destroyed this wetland area.
In this back drop, the present dispensation’s decision to work towards preservation of water bodies and harvesting of rain water is an important initiative and should be hailed by one and all. Rain water harvesting is not some sort of new concept. In Kashmir, the concept was introduced way back in 1960’s. Even today one can see huge water sheds and reservoirs in several Kupwara villages. The UT administration should pick up the threads from there and launch the initiative in other areas too. If the theme of Jal Shakti Campaign – ‘Catch the Rain – Where it Falls, When it Falls’ is to be made operational, construction of such reservoirs is to be started on war footing basis.
Here the administration needs to look into the World Bank funded Integrated Watershed Development Project (IWDP), that was launched in 90’s through the Forest Department. The administration needs to find out that how much funds were shown spent and how much work in this regard was done. It goes without saying that had the scheme been implemented properly, we would not have been discussing harvesting of rain water today.