Land misuse

Published at July 12, 2018 02:22 AM 0Comment(s)2259views

Land misuse

One of the factors that invite natural disasters like floods, landslides and famines is the inexpedient usage of the land in a region. The state of J&K so far as misuse of the land is considered has been suffering on two fronts – a lower than recommended forest cover and the rampant conversion of the agriculture land. The recommended forest cover for hilly states is 66 percent or two-thirds of the total territorial area. The recorded forest area in Kashmir, a figure as per official records to be near 20,000 sq km, covers only one-third of the total geographic area of Kashmir. What is worst is that the diminishing of the forest land due to a number of usurping bids made in recent past has escalated the threat of natural disasters in the entire region. Forest authorities have not been able to prevent the land grabbing as some high profile political personalities figured in the list of encroachers and grabbers. The actual forest cover may be lower than the official figure as the mapping and calculations have not been updated amidst the allegations of forest land being grabbed by politicians in the state. Equally disturbing trend in the state or an open invitation to food crises is the conversion of crop lands and orchards into residential and commercial areas. An example of the same is the reduced green belts in and around Srinagar district. People in the city are becoming more dependent for food articles like vegetables and dairy products on cultivators of other districts. It has also escalated the threat to wetlands indirectly. Since the cultivation land in the city has decreased, large quantities of vegetables come from the floating gardens that are in wetlands and lakes. Increased demand would therefore lead to more encroachments in wetlands and areas of lakes in and around the city. To avert the crises and disasters the land usage pattern has to be changed in conformity with ecological guidelines and policies. Forest land grabbing cases need to be expedited and dealt with sternly. At the same time the government must stop the conversion of agriculture lands immediately and ban the constructions that have not been approved. Permissions also need to be reserved to halt the conversions. Land usage in the state needs a fresh approach, one that takes into account the possible natural disasters.       


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