The Himalayan Welfare Organization, Pahalgam organized a One day National Seminar at Hillway Public School, Aishmuqam today as a precursor to the World Environment day celebrations held on the 5th of June each year, on the theme ‘Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Development’. Speakers and distinguished Guests present at the event included Hon’ble MLA, Pahalgam, Altaf Ahmad Wani, Hon’ble MLA, Shangus, Gulzar Ahmad Wani, Hon’ble MLC Syed Bashir Ahmad Veeri, Dr Nyla Ali Khan, University of Oklahoma, Dr Shirin Akhter, Zakir Husain Delhi College, University of Delhi, Dr Richa Chintan, Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability, Ms. Simin Akhter Naqvi, Zakir Husain Delhi College, University of Delhi, Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat, Convener J&K RTI Movement,Mr Shikh Fayaz JNU Student,Dr Zamir Ahmad,Dr Tariq Ahmad, followed by address and presentations by Special Host of the event, Mushtaq Ahmad Pahalgami President Himalayan Welfare Organization and Abdul Rahman Wani, Chairman, Hillway Public School and a dedicated team of staff and students of the school.
The Theme for the world environment day global celebrations this year is Wildlife preservation. The discussions in the seminar however spanned many more issues and identified the importance of looking at the problem in totality and in relation to various pressing local concerns like illegal land grab, deforestation, pollution of local water bodies, dumping of garbage and untreated waste in inappropriate land-fills, increasing pressure on natural resources and climate change all of which culminate in shrinking of the living spaces of wildlife, and rising rates of extinction of local species both flora and fauna. A strong need was also felt for developing strategies for low impact tourism and environmentally sustainable green development policies for the region which boost both incomes and employment of local youth without causing unnecessary stress on the environment. Synthesizing and inferring in totality from the insights shared by various speakers it was felt that there’s a strong need to incorporate a nuanced understanding of the underlying political-economy underpinnings of the question, to bring members of the academic community, the media, civil society and politicians and policy-makers on board for more productive discussions on the matter, to ensure that conservation and preservation policies are duly implemented by all levels of governance and to make young citizens including school children a part of the campaign to save and preserve local ecosystems.
The ‘Save Shahkul Canal Campaign’ was also launched in the seminar with the intention to prevent and revert contamination and shrinking of the Shahkul canal with the help of local residents and school children. The organization’s ongoing efforts at preserving river Lidder were shared with the audience and it the intention to eventually begin a similar campaign to save lidder was also expressed. The seminar was in continuation of ongoing efforts by Himalayan Welfare Organization at promoting awareness and consciousness of environmental issues and of the question of sustainability.Other local stake holders present in the seminar included SHO Aishmuqam, President Hotel Association Pahalgam Abdul Rahman Ganai,President Photographers Association Pahalgam Mohd Iqbal Bhat,President Taxi Union Pahalgam Gulzar Ahmad Wani,President Tent Association Fayaz Ahmad Bhat,Mohd Shafi Darpan,Arif Khanday,Irshad Majid ,Muzaffar Bhat,Bilal Ahmad Shikh,Tasleem Arif Shikh and hundreds of students of the school and a number of members civil society.