FRAGRANCE OF IDEAS
Last week, the government of the UT of J&K announced two unprecedented public welfare decisions. The announcement regarding the one came to the fore at Srinagar and the other at Jammu. One pertained to the service extension of the terminated National Health Mission nurses by three months and the second pertained to the fifteen days cleanliness drive in the famous Dal Lake. Coincidentally, the Lt. Governor of the UT, Manoj Sinha was observed intimately connected with both these wonderful decisions.
The significant development about extension of services of NHM nurses by three months was announced by the Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha on the last Sunday. The LG met the terminated health workers at Jammu and announced the extension of service of NHM nurses, who were on protest, by three months. Later addressing media, LG also said that the Centre has decided to extend the services of the terminated health workers of J&K for three months and in coming days, employment opportunities for health workers of UT will also be advertised.
He also appreciated the health workers and recognised the fact that during COVID-19 pandemic, these health workers had been working tirelessly and had also helped administration to tackle the pandemic. He assured that the Centre would give weightage to the efforts of Corona warriors so that in future also they would work for the welfare of the people.
It is a known fact that the health workers have been working 24 hours during the difficult pandemic period. This author has been a close witness to their dedicated work and commitment particularly during the last one year's time and specifically during the 2nd wave of the Covid19 this year. The decision to give them permanent employment based on merit and services will prove beneficial for the future of health workers and paramedical students as well.
Notably, the NHM nurses and workers have been protesting for the past many days, seeking continuation of their services. The UT administration and the health department had been banking upon these health workers and nurses overwhelmingly and the results are quite satisfactory keeping in view the national standards in this context. This dedicated work force took great risk and interacted with the Covid19 patients in the most horrible situation.
The society, administration and the government need to be sympathetic to their cause. In fact, we, as a society stand indebted to the fraternity of doctors, corona warriors, health workers and municipal employees for their services during the period of grave medical emergency. It is morally selfish to turn a deaf ear to their woes. Therefore, the announcement made by the government in regard to the continuation of their services is very well thought and surely welcome.
The declaration of the Lt Governor that the vacancies for the paramedical staff would be identified is a very pragmatic assurance. Hopefully, the Corona Warriors would be given weightage in the recruitment process as well. It is noteworthy that the LG expressed his intent in this connection in clear words, “we are indebted to health workers who have been on the forefront in the fight against Covid pandemic. They always go much beyond their call of duty to save precious human lives. I salute their courage and selfless service. Our health workers worked tirelessly and they deserve high praise". This is very heartening indeed.
Likewise, the government declared that a cleanliness drive for a fortnight would be organised to cleanse the Dal Lake. In follow up to the Swachhta Pakhwada programme, which was inaugurated on October 02, 2021 by the Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha from SKICC and which will continue for fifteen-days, the official machinery participated in the de-weeding drive in Dal Lake. As per a government decision, 2000 persons would be engaged to clean Dal in 15 days mega cleanliness drive, which would be positively encouraging. As a part of an effort to clean Dal Lake, Kashmir House Boat Owners Association (KHBOA) has also decided to participate in this 15 days mega cleanliness and de-weeding drive of Dal Lake.
In fact, the cleanliness drive started on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti and was inaugurated by the Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha himself. It is a wonderful development that the Dal dwellers have also participated in the drive. Additionally, about 1,000 boats and 2,000 individuals are employed in mega cleanliness and de-weeding which is by any stardards a huge public service in the fields of environment and ecology.
The cleanliness of Dal Lake should have been carried out routinely as it is the collective responsibility of people and government to conserve it as a part of heritage and environment. However, the drive this time will also help instil sense of responsibility in the locals to keep their environment clean. The interiors of the Dal Lake also need to be clean and this drive will help in that as well.
The whole valley of Kashmir is home to a number of water bodies including lakes, rivers, springs, ponds and streams. It is only some fifty years back, that the people of a number of villages would use the water of rivers for drinking purposes. There was no environmental issue with these water bodies only six decades ago. Fake development, selfish attitude, government apathy and social carelessness led these beautiful natural resources to a decaying situation.
The modern generation needs to know that the whole city of Srinagar had live water bodies in whole of the Downtown up to 1980. These water channels were called "Nallah-Maer". Then there were a number of vibrant canals like, Keate-Kol, Doodh-Ganga, Flood channel and the like in the city. The great thing about all these channels was that these were interconnected with each other. People from Chattabal, Srinagar could easily go to a place like Rainawari suburban area in a boat through these rivers and channels. Nallah-Maer was a greatly expanded water body connected with almost fifty percent of the then residential colonies in Srinagar city.
Bad town planning of 1970s and 1980s led the administration to fill up the Nallah-Maer (instead of cleansing it) and several interconnected channels with all kinds of muck in order to build roads and encroach upon the lands thereupon. What the governments did officially was followed up by the land grabbers and other encroachers in private and they started filling up a number of water bodies throughout the Kashmir valley. Famous lakes like Wular, Manasbal, Dal, Nigeen and even the banks of big and small rivers and streams were not left alone and they became the victims of bad planning, human greed and selfish motivations. But nature has its own cycle, it gives back, what is given to it by the human race, at an appropriate time of its own choosing.
The civilizational flow of Kashmir recognised the role of nature and that is why the people of Kashmir had great reverence for these natural resources for the last thousands of years. It is reflected in history, tradition, usages, literature, art, architecture and customs of Kashmir. In between came a period of all-round mayhem that took away the sixth sense for a period of time. There is a need to go back to the basics and do everything possible to save, protect, conserve and preserve nature in its original form in the beautiful valley that people used to call the Switzerland of Asia.
The initiative taken in this regard by the government is worth a praise. It is now for the society at large to continue the good work and think in terms of a vibrant scenario of ecology and environment for the coming generations. What has been started in regard to the cleanliness of the Dal Lake, a few days ago, things similar need to be followed up in the entire J&K in the near future with a view to give a new life to our surroundings for all times to come.
(The author is a senior BJP & KP leader, Incharge: Deptt of political feedback, BJP-J&K. Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org)