It is clear that the successive Governments which J&K witnessed so far not only failed in ensuring strict compliance to the environmental laws but somewhere colluded with the people who had vested interests, who then ended up polluting the fragile ecosystems across Kashmir by resorting to constructions, causing undue human interference in the fragile areas. We have had several examples where there were clear violations by several people who had grabbed the Government land in places such as Gulmarg and Pahalgam. Only recently, during a drive to get back the grabbed state land, the authorities retrieved hundreds of kanals of land in Pahalgam and several other areas. These elements, whose activities are detrimental to the environment, had carried out the violations in fragile areas with the help of people close to successive Governments.
The State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) also cannot run away from its responsibility and needs to be held accountable for the violation it has committed. There have been several instances where the SPCB has issued No Objection Certificates (NOCs) to many setups that have been established in fragile areas. Even in the city, the SPCB has issued NOCs to the commercial units to be set up in residential areas. While it has all been murky concerning the protection as well as conservation of the environment in a place like Kashmir, the affairs still appear to be hunky-dory and demand immediate action and seriousness of the administration from preventing matters from going from bad to worse.
Interestingly, the matters are on the brink of getting worse and press for immediate attention by the present dispensation which is known for acting swiftly in such matters and employing key changes for the betterment of the issues, particularly the environment. The present set-up has been pressing and promoting start-up and culture of innovations, however, besides that, giving the issues about the environment their due importance is the need of the hour and no matter how efficient the system is, if it fails on the environment front and fails in delivery concerning the same, then there is a dire need for policy changes.