Exploitation of natural resources resulted into ecological degradation in Chenab valley: Mufti

Exploitation of natural resources resulted into ecological degradation in Chenab valley: Mufti

5 September 2012
The Daily Excelsior


Doda: People’s Democratic Party (PDP) today assured to formulate a comprehensive action plan for the socio-economic growth of the people of Chenab Valley. The party further assured that backwardness and underdevelopment of this region would be removed by implementing this comprehensive action plan. Addressing an impressive public meeting, which was organized in connection with the foundation day function of the party, patron of PDP Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today said that Chenab Valley area was economically as well as strategically important region in the whole sub-continent due to availability of huge natural resources in the form of water and forest in this belt. He, however, regretted that instead of improving socio-economic conditions of the local people of Chenab Valley, the exploitation of water and forest resources has resulted into ecological degradation and destabilization of geological features and a disruption in peaceful lives of common citizens. He strongly demanded that services of international experts should be utilized to maintain ecological balance in this belt. 'Instead of giving benefits to the available resources to the residents of Chenab Valley, the rulers only bartered away the forest and water resources for their personal power', Sayeed said, while pointing towards grossly discriminatory agreements singed by the successive National Conference regimes. Exhorting party workers to agitate for their genuine demands, PDP patron demanded that locals should be given priority in the new hydro-electric projects and other developmental activities going on in this belt. 'Instead of appointing locals on small petty jobs, the agencies engaged in executing the hydro-electric projects must open training centres here to train the local unemployed youth so as to engage them on technical and skilled jobs', he demanded, adding, 'employment opportunities for locals must be created while constructing hydro-electric projects in this belt. While demanding free electricity for the people of erstwhile Doda district, he said that residents of Chenab Valley have first right on the water flowing from their area. 'It is ironical that other parts of the country are benefited from the electricity generated from this region but inhabitants of this belt were neither getting power nor other basic amenities', he observed. Demanding proper rehabilitation of the people whose land has been acquired for developmental activities, he said that residents of this belt have been facing displacement as well as ecological disaster due to construction of mega hydo-electric projects and other developmental activities in their areas. He said that besides giving adequate compensation, the affected people must be properly rehabilitated. Speaking on the occasion, former Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Beigh blamed successive National Conference regimes for the backwardness of Chenab Valley region. Expressing his deep concern over non availability of basic amenities in this belt, former Deputy Chief Minister regretted that various Central sponsored poverty alleviation schemes were not reaching this belt due to prevailing mess in the State. Senior PDP leader and MLC Sayeed Asgar Ali moved a resolution in the meeting which was passed with one voice.