Bandipora: The proposal of the Jammu and Kashmir government to hand over Tragbal meadow in Bandipora district to the Army for setting up an artillery firing range in lieu of the Tosa Maidan range has evoked outrage on the social media.
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are abuzz with angry reactions from users who opine that the proposal, if implemented, will play havoc with the fragile ecology of the area.
A Facebook page titled ‘Save Tragbal’ has been created to generate awareness and support against the setting up of the firing range in Tragbal meadows, known for its rich variety of flora and fauna.
Calling for support, a FB user Mudasir Nasrool wrote on his timeline: “…Save Tragbal from being chosen as a firing range…Raise your voice in support, the topography of the area is such that it will cause inconvenience to all of us.”
“Tragbal is at higher altitude & whole population lives down hill. If some bomb litter in surrounding village, V can imagine consequences (sic),” another post on the Save Tragbal Bandipora page reads.
The government is reportedly planning handing over Tragbal after it faced public criticism for allowing the army to set up an artillery firing range at Bajpathri in Budgam district or at Tulail in Bandipora district.
The army is in possession of over 200 hectares at Tragbal, which has attracted international tourists in the recent past. Small hutments and hotels have started coming up in and around Tragbal to cater to their needs.
Another status against the proposed move reads: “To stop government from making tourist spot #Tragbal a firing range, we will trend hashtag #SaveTragbal on Monday 8pm. Evbdy join tmrw.”
Mermerised by the view from Tragbal top, an 18th century poet Sheikh Ghulam Ali Bulbul penned down this couplet: Tragbal ki rifatoun sai dekhi jab Wulur jheel, Bandipore goya misir hai kinarai aab neil. The poet compared Bandipora with Egypt and Wular with Nile.
“Tourists and travelers from all over the world stop by Tragbal to have a view of Bandipora and see for themselves what the couplet means,” Mohammad Ehsan, a traveler and landscape photographer from Bandipora said.
Another Facebook user Mir Adnan wrote on his timeline: “It is high time to shrug off the tag of cowards for being callous towards social issues else at the behest of our dead consciousness we will never be able to get over our social, political, environmental and moral degradation. It is the duty of every Bandiporian to raise voice against it (sic).”
Many protesters say that a power plant being constructed by the “National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) in the area is “already enough of a nuisance” for Bandipora ecology.
NHPC’s Kishenganga power project will relocate about 300 families of Dard-Shina tribe in Gurez, which is a significant portion of their miniscule population. Local activists have termed the relocation of the people as a move to wipe out the tribe. Razdan top, Tragbal and surrounding areas are the most preferred grazing fields. The move has created fear psychosis among the shepherds who move to the area as summer sets in.