Srinagar,Mar 27: Peoples’ Environmental Council Srinagar has sought reconsideration of government’s proposal of setting up a Zoo at Pahalgam citing the environmental concerns. It has also stressed upon the implementation of ban on polythene as it is increasingly becoming hazardous.
This was discussed in a meeting with Minister for Tourism Tassaduq Hussain Mufti by a delegation of Council headed by its Chairman G H Kangoo. The delegation members discussed in detail how the proposed Zoo would be detrimental to the already fragile ecology of area that has been facing the brunt of three-month long Amarnath yatra. “Pahalgam is a premier place from Tourism point of view and the most preferred Tourist destination of Kashmir and is already overburdened under immense anthropogenic pressure in addition to impact of Yatra during the season. The proposed Zoo would put additional pressure on its limited space, resources and facilities” reads a memorandum given to the Minister.
At a technical level, the delegation members said that the selection of location is flawed as Pahalgam is located in close proximity of Owera-Aru-Wildlfe Sanctuary and as per the provisions of Wildlife Protection Act no development is to be carried out in the eco-sensitive zone around protected areas. “To impose ex-situ development (zoo) with in-situ wildlife conservation is technically not a sound proposition. Besides, in their future development program of Greater Dachigam, the State Wildlife Department proposes to join /link Dachigam National Park with Overa-Aru Wildlife Sanctuary to create a contiguous physiographic entity for our state animal Hangul to flourish. The establishment of Zoo at Pahalgam would therefore be an environmental disaster for the whole Lidder valley and flora fauna of Overa-Aru Wildlife Sanctuary in particular” they added. The zoo should be preferably located in some central place and not on the edge.
The Minister gave a patient hearing and agreed with the delegation that the subject needed to be discussed threadbare before taking a final call. He assured the delegation that the matter would be looked into in view of the concern expressed by them.
The members also urged the Minister to ensure that ban on polythene is implemented. “It has become hazardous for our lives” they said adding that a law is already in force but not implemented. The Minister sought people’s cooperation in making Kashmir polythene free. “It is people’s duty to see that what is good for the society. We as government will do everything possible but people’s cooperation is must” he said.
Prof Nusrat Andrabi, Latief Alamgir, Sameer Ahsan and Manzoor Ahmed Tarray accompanied Mr Kangoo.(CNS)