Make Srinagar Green Again

Make Srinagar Green Again
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A compendium of factors and issues has led to the dissipation of green cover in Srinagar city. It is reported that cities like Delhi and Chandigarh have more and a better spread of green cover than Srinagar. This is as alarming as can be for multiple reasons. The green cover for and of a city is good for intrinsic reasons; it means and implies, among other things that a given city is well taken care of and that no broader environmental and ecological degradation has taken place. But, if we are to go by the dwindling and fast dissipating green cover of Srinagar city, it suggests and is reflective of the wider human degradation that has been caused to our ecology and environment. While the reasons for this cannot be isolated to one or two factors, the major “culprit” that can be identified is urban stress. This, in turn, accrues from intense demographic pressures which creates strains on the extant infrastructure. This pressure is then borne by available spaces which either become redundant or prone to misuse or even abuse. In itself, urbanization gyrates to its own pulls and pressures and, in some senses, is unstoppable. But, this does not and should not mean that the phenomenon is allowed to run amok and thereby ruin our ecology, environment and spaces thereof. The remedy to demographically induced urbanization lies in prudent, far sighted and deft public policy, shorn of the temptations of patronage and other forms of policy distortions. People can neither be prevented from dying nor from being born. But, policy redesign and rejigg can prevent the green spaces of Kashmir from further depletion. The kind of policy that speaks to the problem of urbanization run amok is economic growth and development of a nature that is sustainable with due and urgent consideration shown to the environment. Sustainable economic growth will also reduce and ameliorate rural to urban migration. The complement to this can be revamping and building infrastructure in rural areas. These policy prescriptions fall in the domain of the macro. At the micro level, municipal zoning laws and strict adherence to these can be a useful and important concomitant. These policy suggestions are not exhaustive. There’s obviously more that can be added this list. All these are measures in which the administration’s prudent and active role becomes exigent. But, without the active participation of the actual and real stakeholders, the people of Kashmir, who are the ones who bear the actual brunt and show future is at stake, the problem identified here cannot be resolved. The public domains and spaces of Kashmir are for and of the people. Let a resolve me made to save and develop our green spaces and make Srinagar city verdant again.

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