Uttarakhand disaster brings Amarnath Yatra in focus

Mufti Sounds Alert On ‘Environmentally-Sensitive’ JK


Rajouri, June 21: Expressing deep grief at the heavy loss of life and property in Uttarakhand, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed has said the disaster should serve as wake up call for all environmentally-sensitive states like Jammu and Kashmir to avert such tragedies.
Addressing party workers’ convention in Shahdra Sharief on Friday, he said the apprehensions about the safety of upcoming Amarnath Yatra are misplaced and could damage the image of the state at a time when “we need to work wholeheartedly for removal of trust deficit between J&K and rest of the country.”
Mufti said the people of the state are deeply sad at the widespread destruction caused in Uttarakhand which has resulted in collapse of infrastructure apart from huge loss of life that included many pilgrims to holy sites located in the Himalayas. He said, “We share the grief of the state and all those who lost their loved ones in terrible circumstances. However we will have to work hard to avert the tragedy that struck Uttarakhand in other areas.”
Mufti said the people of the state and the state and central governments have to rise up to this challenge as Jammu and Kashmir has a more fragile ecosystem than even states like Uttarakhand. He said Kashmir Himalayas are the lifeline for a substantial part of South Asia including northern states of “our own country and the wake-up call sounded in Uttarakhand will have to be taken seriously for introspection and focused corrective measures.”
“It is not just the environment and ecology of J&K that is linked to the health of our mountain system but huge stakes lay even beyond our state and we will need help from environmentalists and experts from all over the country to devise a roadmap for avoiding pitfalls in our development, pilgrimage and tourism strategies that could cause large scale devastation,” he added.
Expressing dismay at the alarm raised over the security of upcoming Amarnath Yatra, Mufti said the pilgrimage has “historically been a part of our culture and it is not just its security but the entire hospitality effort that comes from the Kashmir society.”
He said security bandobast is part of governance but it is the Kashmir society that has sustained and promoted the yatra for decades.
Mufti said the “help rendered by the locals to the yatris in times of natural calamities is part of our heritage and we are genuinely proud of that.”
“Such voluntary help at the risk of one’s life emanates from the basic goodness of a society and it is that sentiment which is the guarantee for the security of Yatris,” he added.
The alarm on security concerns undermines this great tradition and could strengthen the stereotype image some hawkish elements try to create about the residents of the State, he said.
Urging the party cadres to strengthen their contact with the people, Mufti said the PDP does not have to prove its ability to govern with distinction as its brief stint in government has “become a positive reference point in the political discourse of the state.”
He said “if the present government had been able only to carry forward our programs the state would have progressed beyond recognition.”
“However the next elections would provide an opportunity to the people to make a difference between good and bad governance and a correct decision by them could lay the foundations for a long term change in the system and through that in the destiny of the state,” said Mufti.
Referring to the ‘dismal’ performance of coalition government, Mufti said corruption has become the “symbol of its ministers and top leaders.” This government, he said, has dismantled all institutions of vigilance and only promoted favourites for partisan purposes.
He said hundreds of retired bureaucrats have been re-employed while the number of unemployed youth was increasing.
“The delay in making appointments to vacant posts in the government is deliberate to fill them when elections are approaching as the NC has always considered government jobs as a commodity to be sold for money or political favour,” he said. MLA Choudhry Zulfkar, National Spokesman Dr Sameer Koul, state secretaries Bharat Bushan Gupta and Zaffar Manhas, district president Abdul Qayoom Dar, Surinder Choudhry, Ch Qamerdin, Shahzad Khan, Imtiyaz Shan Gool, Adv Ahsan Mirza, Anjum Mirza, Assad Bari Shah, Manzoor Shah, Ashok Sharma, Iqbal Shah, Master Prem, Munshi Alam Din, Ch Salamdin and others were also present on the occasion.

Lastupdate on : Fri, 21 Jun 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 21 Jun 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 22 Jun 2013 00:00:00 IST

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