Use Equine Diapers
Don’t rob Gulmarg’s ponywaals off their livelihood
DR. MUJEEB FAZILI
This refers to the news story up entitled ‘Ponywallas spoiling tourism industry of Kashmir’ that appeared in Greater Kashmir on May, 27, 2012 wherein several agencies related directly to the tourism sector like Travel Agents Association of Kashmir, The J&K Tourism Alliance and Travel Agents Society of Kashmir have strongly appealed the government to ‘rein in’ the Gulmarg horse pullers. Definitely the blockade of the road must have created several problems for the tourists, hoteliers and the travel agents. But there is need to urgently address the genuine issues of the population earning their living mainly from the ponies. The importance of ponies as environment friendly mode of recreation and transport, particularly in places with heavy tourist rush, has also to be recognized.
Most of the families living in the vicinity of this tourist destination have been fully dependent on their ponies generation after generation. Depriving these ponywallas of their livelihood without providing viable alternatives would not be less than a calamity for them. Unfortunately the pony owners are illiterate people and do not have a registered association, alliance or society. Consequently they can neither approach the authorities with ease nor use media to highlight their issues.
Anybody visiting Gulmarg the second time with a gap of a few years, can easily appreciate the rapid degradation of the local flora. The precious wild animals that were easily noticed in these areas few decades ago cannot be traced now. Thousands of vehicles plying freely into this small bowl of beauty are emitting huge volumes of toxic pollutants. At many occasions during the day time, it is very difficult even to walk on its roads due to the apprehension of getting hit by high speed motor vehicles.
Among the domestic animals, the equine species has been completely ignored by the government agencies. Several easily noticeable problems associated with these dumb creatures have crept up. The physical condition of most of the ponies seen nowadays in Gulmarg is very poor. They possess all possible conformational defects. Several of them are made to carry loads while limping. Seeing the poor condition of these helpless animals, only few visitors wish to enjoy their ride. It is therefore imperative to design and strictly implement an equine breeding policy along with up gradation of species specific health care system. Well built and well maintained animals will have better work efficiency. In turn augmented daily returns and longer working years would boost the economy of the down trodden owners.
Horse poop on the roads and tracks is creating a nuisance in this public place. The problem can be addressed by adopting “equine diapers” or horse manure catchers as is in vogue in several cities of the developed world. This would help in keeping the roads and paths clean and the sale of the collected excreta could fetch additional income for the poor owners.
On this world environment day (05-06-2012), authorities and the people directly related to the tourism industry should decide whether to continue with the extensive use of petrol and diesel vehicles with disastrous consequences or improve the traditional environment friendly means of transport that could not only alleviate poverty of the local population but also save world famous tourist spots for our future generations.
Dr. Mujeeb Fazil is Associate Professor, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, SKUAST-K, Shuhama, Srinagar. Reach him at email@example.com
Lastupdate on : Mon, 4 Jun 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 4 Jun 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 5 Jun 2012 00:00:00 IST
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