Before it’s too late

Is District Budgam heading towards an ecological disaster!

Now the current falling environmental status of Kashmir is known to almost everyone! We are losing precious forest and other soil covers because of greed and vandalization.

Until a few decades back, the valley of Kashmir was synonymous with untouched lofty mountain ranges, rolling meadows, virgin forest cover, crystal clear melodic streams, and a set of magnificently synchronized mesmeric seasons.  Now the current falling environmental status of Kashmir is known to almost everyone! We are losing precious forest and other soil covers because of greed and vandalization. Destabilizing and stripping of mountain ranges is going on unabated in the garb of development and connectivity. Water is getting polluted because of our greed and negligence. However even after huge intrusion and tampering with our ecosystem, if we wish we can stop short of eco-disaster and vigorously initiate restoring ecological normalcy to its virgin glory. Budgam is no different than other parts of Kashmir. It has suffered immensely on the environmental front. And this principle of salvation applies to district Budgam as well.

Budgam district was once the ecological bank of the valley with its beautiful and rich environmental features and resources. However, during last two decades, it became the obscenest hub of land mafia and exploiters. Over the period of time, the vast forest land in the whole district stands robed of its tall conifers and other precious flora inviting nature’s fury from time to time. Many parts of Budgam district with nature’s beautifully landscaped intermountain valley fills—the Karewas look unique in many ways. But presently these Karewas are the worst hit by the land-filling mafia and the brick kiln syndicate. No part of Budgam district has remained off the hands of these worst enemies of valley’s ecosystem. The flagrant misuse of land and violation of land-use laws and policies in Budgam has become a norm in the district and most of the regulating authorities and law enforcing departments have opted for conspicuous silence and self-imposed inertia for the reasons best known to them alone. Grapevine often makes rounds in the environs of Budgam that political patronage works as the catalyst for such slumber. To what extent this excuse holds good only God knows well!

Budgam the abode of Sheikh Noor ud din Wali – the great Kashmiri saint – would once grow aroma and taste from its pure and fertile land but now it is raising tall telecom towers and obnoxious brick kiln chimneys. This modern-day deceptive landmarks of so-called development have not only polluted the landscape and ecosystem of the Budgam but by emitting harmful gaseous and electronic waste are threatening the survival of mankind. Regrettably, land excavators and heavy load carriers are virtually trampling the whole of Budgam with impunity devouring its unique scenery of its precious soil cover and making way for impending huge onslaught of erosion by disturbing the whole soil setup. Over the period of time, a sizeable part of the top-soil in Budgam has either been removed by the land-filling mafia or has been washed away by the frequent erosion and sinking thus making the land barren and less productive.

Very often people in-charge of this land claim all is well and only the prying eyes find holes in the environmental serenity of the area. Everything looks hunky-dory to them as they most often have clandestine blinkers on them! However, even if a blind-folded layman is let loose on the bruised land of Budgam his simple observation will dismantle their tall claims. Just after 2014 heavy downpour and floods in the valley, the land sinking scare exposed the environmental peace in the area. The way Budgam area is robbed of its precious soil and earth and its natural contours and undulation tampered to the extent of mutilation it will soon lose the basic characteristics of its hydrological cycle and will further have adverse impact on its overall ecosystem thus creating a situation of disaster for the existing flora and fauna in the area. Little said on the land mafia is better! The fate of dying water basins of Budgam in the vicinity of Srinagar city, particularly the Rakh Narkara is a glaring example of complicity and highhandedness of land mafia. The water resources and bodies of Budgam that would once hugely contribute to valley’s water-bank (water table) are completely in disarray because of much-tampered catchment areas, manipulated watercourses and shallowing water bodies. Though not much has been lost yet and any better sense prevailing on both the common people and the authorities will restrict the further damages and help Budgam having its ecological glory back.