We know that the natural resources to sustain life are quite limited , if not absolutely scarce. There is, however, one exception that of the Sun whose energy we get in abundance but still are in the process of harnessing that in a major way.However, for economic development and even for ordinary living , we have to draw heavily on resources of the nature and in the process, the fragile environment , eco system and the nature’s own equilibrium get disturbed . We tend to increase agricultural production, expand and modernise industries , make more roads, dams, invade forest areas for human needs, go in for more urbanisation with lesser green cover, take measures for poverty alleviation and for other developmental activities which all result in limited natural resources having impact on the environment. There must , therefore, be a well planned and envisioned Environment Policy to be adopted and acted upon with regular monitoring. Jammu and Kashmir has two main industries forming the backbone of the economy – one is tourism and the other is agriculture and allied agricultural activities. On close scrutiny both are increasingly tending to disturb the eco system because of moulding both according to the growing demand and tastes with intent to enhance the turnover and generate economic activities. However, the equation between the human beings and the nature must be maintained or get slowly perished as the alternative. To address the emerging issues having direct bearing on environment and eco-system causing increased degradation of environment , Department of Ecology , Environment and Remote Sensing prepared nearly three years back a draft Environment Policy to suit the requirements of Jammu and Kashmir. Its fate till date is unknown whether the same has been put on hold to give it more of a comprehensive form or has out rightly been rejected. On the other hand , the initiative and the role expected to have been played by the Forest Department appears to be totally far from comprehension as it had to play a key role in arranging various departments with different levels of stakes connected to deliberate upon the important issues related to environmental concerns. Our societies and our economic system need not only necessary resources but the same at minimal amounts to sustain life and primary resources are thus heavily depended upon . Therefore, basic human activities responsible for environmental degradation though in disguised form, can be listed as many among which the most important ones are increasing human population , consumption pattern and tastes, flawed or overused land practices, obsolete technology , deforestation , poor water management and the like. There may be lack of coordination or understanding between different departments of the UT having respective stakes , may be having divergent views and procedures , different sector(al) policies clashing with one another but how to resolve the impasse especially when the Draft Policy has gone ahead having been put in public domain for suggestions /objections and amendments. If we put it bluntly, there is no policy as such presently with the UT Government of Jammu and Kashmir based on expert and professional premise to keep reversing the damage to the eco-system and thus to sustain it. We have right before us pollution of water, pollution of rivers, pollution of the air due to uncontrolled carbon emission from vehicles, no scientific ways of management and disposal of daily generated waste, felling of green young trees, water logging, loss of bio-diversity and other upheavals where besides nature, human contribution too is there. The Draft Environmental Policy was, therefore, envisaged to deal comprehensively with these issues. In the absence of adopting such a policy, how to address these issues has neither been a serious concern of the previous Governments nor of the present one. While that sounds strange, the question is how long can such issues be avoided and prolonged unless a heavy price was slowly paid therefor. Agreed, the delicacy of the matter is to be underlined in that while there can be no let-up in the developmental process being an unending activity to improve the quality of life , human behaviour and needs, there can be no compromise either with the sustaining of the natural resources too. Abalance has to be struck , the problem surely being challenging in relation to ever growing population and expansion of urban areas. In addition to that we have to run economy , a sustainable economy and that too for ever. The rates of resources use and the rates at which regenerated or recycled must be equal and any gap adverse to resources would cost heavily especially to the tourism industry of the UT. That calls for a serious thought and initiative to revisit the issue of so much of an importance and accept , adopt and approve for compliance the Draft Environment Policy. We have to lay importance on the sustainability which is definitely critically important in the long run both for our ecological system and for our growing or developing economy
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