Kashmir Rights Forum

Month: September 2022

Jammu and Kashmir is facing silent epidemic of drug abuse as it’s rising dramatically around the surroundings and no one seems to know how to stem the tide. Over from few years, the percentage of drug use has reached an all-time high. Substance abuse is rapidly assuming epidemic proportions in our society engulfing a significant population of our youth including the young females. Statistics regarding magnitude of the menace of substance abuse in our society emerging from various de-addiction centres of J&K are quite worrisome and alarming and therefore call for a systematic and scientific approach for countering.

Drugs are one of the major problems that the nation has been facing.The use of drugs from bedroom to classrooms has been increasing tremendously causing serious concerns into all parts of the society. Education provided in schools plays an instrumental role in educating children and teens about the problems of consuming drugs. Education on how to successfully deal with the youngsters who are mostly inclined to consume drugs, should be addressed in order to produce future potential young generations. Drug abuse in schools is strictly prohibited, but ironically most drug abuse starts from schools. One of the factors why that happen is that school teachers lack the knowledge to talk about it in their classroom and school environment.

“Teachers can play a significant role in curbing drug and substance abuse because they spend much of time with the students in schools. The teaching competency of teachers is needed in drug and substance abuse prevention. Some studies found that the school teachers still have lack of knowledge to talk about drug abuse in their classrooms and school environment. Teachers must have to step up from pedagogical conceptual knowledge and set up the experimental teaching practices and must have to show commitment to help, to avoid and control drug abuse and especially for young adult teacher’s are important role models and unfortunately if teachers are assuming that parents are only options for handling the drug abuse and the parents are not stepping up to the plate, then the kids are being left more at risk for substance abuse.”

Drug education is to be taken seriously and is a crucial factor in addressing deep seeded menace in our society and hence the teachers have a great role and responsibility to play in eradicating this social menace. Following are the ways teachers can do in eradicating drug and substance abuse.

1) Teachers should educate the youth by warning them that using drugs substance can be fatal to their lives.

2) Teachers should focus on imparting a proper moral education to students during the morning assembly.

3) Teachers must encourage the students to take part in different sport’s activities and can channelize their energy towards the constructive idea’s.

4) Teachers should assist the govt, police, Doctors, civil society, & NGO’s in the campaign against drug abuse & drug addiction and those addicted should not be isolated or discriminated.

They should be treated as patients and can give orientation on vocational, educational and personal adjustment so as to make them healthy and wealthy. The school authorities and parents should watch out for bad companies and symptoms of drug and substance abuse among the students and if found any, parents of such students should be counseled first and then the person who got indulged in this menace. The magnitude of the menace of substance abuse in our society is increasing dramatically and are quite worrisome and alarming and therefore call for a systematic and scientific approach for countering and can be handled though community based interventions, a multi dimensional approach and strategies needs to be devised and adopted to counter the menace. Moreover, Govt must introduce a comprehensive policy within the school curriculum that can provide a deep knowledge about the effects of drugs among the young generation.

The govt must emphasise that school institutions must be actively involved in drug prevention and the school administrative department can release a guidelines for teaching competencies of classroom teachers in certain subjects for curbing drug and substance abuse. The time has come that the education for drug abuse prevention should be seen to be included in school curriculum/syallabus and the formal start must be initiated at an earliest which will help in the creation of a safe and healthy school environment as well as involvement of the family and community in the planning and delivery of policies and programmes to stop this menace in the society. Schools are important places and can play a pivotal role in implementing different prevention programmes that seek to reduce and eliminate the risk of engagement of young generation in this deadly menace and their outcomes should be evaluated regularly to provide evidence of their worth and to improve the design of future programmes regarding this menace. In Conclusion, an effective partnership, coordination and collaboration between Govt, school authorities and other stake holders like Parents, Teachers, Doctor’s, &NGO’s, Different organisations need to be fostered and these exercises can plays an important role in shaping and keeping our young generation safe from this drug menace and other social evils.

The drug related activities are increasing day by day thereby giving serious challenges to each and every responsible citizen of our society and when everyone irrespective of sex or age takes it as a social not individual responsibility to fight drug abuse and correct its consequences, a healthy society can be developed and the lives of many who have fallen and may fall in the deadly grip of drugs can be saved.

Courtesy : Mohammad Eqbal

The separatist Hurriyat Conference is finished in J&K but attempts are being made to keep it alive from Pakistan, and the militancy in the region is on crutches.

Most of the madrassas (Islamic seminaries) are doing a good job but a tight vigil is being maintained on such institutions whose students have become militants in the past.

Hurriyat (Conference) is finished in Jammu and Kashmir. To keep it alive, its chapter was opened in Pakistan and they are giving bandh’ calls from there.

“People gave a tight slap on their face by rejecting their bandh calls, which was evident from the fact that there was no strike on August 5 (the third anniversary of revocation of Article 370 and bifurcation of J&K into two Union Territories) and August 15.”

August 15 was celebrated in a befitting manner all across the J&K, from Kishtwar to Kathua and in the Kashmir valley with people hoisting the national flag on their homes.

“The remote Karnah and Keran along the Line of Control (in north Kashmir’s Kupwara) where the tricolour is still seen fluttering from top of every house,”.

The people of J&K want peace and they have understood the criminal folly of Pakistan which is trying to instigate the youths against their own country.

Pakistan is misusing social media.”

Recent arrest of a madrassa teacher in Kishtwar, most part madrassas are doing a good job.

“Some people from madrassas joined militancy in the past and so it is imperative to have a close watch on them, and change their mind set.”

Youngsters with positive thinking are always welcomed.

On September 3, a 25-year-old madrassa teacher was arrested under Enemy Agents Ordinance Act’ for allegedly passing on information related to security installations to Pakistani intelligence agencies and terrorists.

“About the terrorists active in Kishtwar, the guardians of peace’ are more active than militants who are almost wiped out from the region.”

The militancy is on crutches with one or two active members, and they too will be neutralized’.

The Self Help Groups (SHGs) are scripting a new chapter in ‘Naya Jammu and Kashmir’. The government has provided wings to the aspirations of rural women in the Himalayan region by introducing various schemes under the SHGs. The J&K administration has embarked on a mission to form 11,000 new self help groups in the Union Territory by the end of this year. At present, there are more than 56,000 SHGs in J&K and as many as 5 lakh women are associated with these groups. Last year, J&K Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha had stated that under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home & Cooperation Minister Amit Shah, the country is witnessing renaissance in Cooperative movement to address the developmental needs of underprivileged sections of the society. He had asserted that the J&K Government won’t leave any stone unturned to carry forward the mission of PM Modi and Amit Shah. “The new self help groups will be formed to give new impetus to entrepreneurial women organisations,” LG Sinha had said.

After August 5, 2019, when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate J&K’s special status and bifurcated it into two union territories-the helmsmen in the Himalayan region have been working hard to truly realize the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Sahkar se Samriddhi’. They are focusing on agri-marketing, food processing, branding, supply of seeds and other innovative activities in dairy & handicrafts and the women have become an integral part of the mission. According to the official figures, about 55 per cent gram panchayats have been covered under women SHGs in J&K and the efforts are on to expedite the initiative to make women financially independent. The formation of SHGs has helped in bringing transparency in selection of beneficiaries of government schemes. In order to popularize the SHG concept in J&K, the government has involved women from SHGs of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Bihar as resource persons. They are reaching out to women in the rural areas and explaining to them the benefits of joining the SHGs. The target is to cover the remaining 45 per cent gram panchayats by the end of this year.

In January this year, the Institute of Rural Management undertook a study for the rural development ministry to assess financial progress, quality and sustainability of institutions built and financial services provided to women SHGs. The impact of the initiative, under the DeenDayalAnyodaya Yojana National Rural Livelihoods Mission, was found positive. The reforms introduced by the government after abrogation of Article 370, a temporary provision in the constitution of India, to identify women’s potential in the leadership role and providing them opportunity to scale up their businesses have changed the lives of the fairer sex in J&K. The initiatives like Saath, Hausla, Umeed, Tejaswini have laid a strong foundation for financial independence of rural women.

Technology, market dynamics and financial inclusion are providing an opportunity to transform the women Self Help Groups. These groups are creating a niche for their products in a fiercely competitive global market and are proving to be an inspiration for the other women. The women SHGs in the far-flung rural areas are keeping the wheels of socio-economic progress moving. This has helped the government to reduce disparities, inequalities in the society and create employment. On the occasion of Independence Day (August 15), the government is all set to honour 75 progressive women entrepreneurs from Rural Livelihood Mission Self Help Groups as an acknowledgment for their contribution towards women empowerment. The SHGs are organising workshops for women in different areas to boost their confidence. The success stories of women are being shared to make the fairer sex in the rural areas believe that they have the potential to become like their counterparts. Many women during the past two years have turned from job seekers to job providers. The SHGs have connected thousands of females and have provided them with an opportunity to interact with other women, to know their thoughts, livelihoods as well as about several government schemes. The SHGs are working hard to inculcate the habit of saving and banking among the rural women, to develop a relationship of trust between the rural women and the bankers, and to develop group activity so that women can become successful entrepreneurs. Women like Kaushaliya Devi of village Bali, Chenaniin district Udhampur have become role models. Her story from rags to riches is just one of the examples about how SHGs have changed the lives of women.

While sharing her experience, Kaushaliya Devi while talking to a local newspaper revealed how difficult her life was. “I was a housewife and my husband was unemployed which made our lives very difficult. In 2013, I came to know about the UMEED scheme and joined SHG group Shri Mandir under the aegis of this scheme.” She stated that her life changed after the government started to infuse funds into SHGs. The members started to utilize the funds to start their own small businesses. She started a small business of dairy farming and after taking help of government funds, small loan through bank linkage she started earning around Rs 8,000 per month. Getting inspired by the success of dairy farming, Kaushailya also started to look for alternate business to earn more money. After that, she started the business of tailoring and bag making which turned her into a successful member of the group. With the assistance under the UMEED scheme she bought a dumper after the government provided Rs 10 lakh loan to their group. Currently, Kaushailya is handsomely earning more than Rs 50,000 per month making her life and that of her family very happy. Her children are studying in a good school and she is living happily with her family. “Earlier people in my village used to tell women can’t do anything but after my success, the same people are giving my examples,” she said. Atiqa Wani, of Ramhal, area of Kupwara district in North Kashmir after completing her post-graduation thought to stand on her own and decided to start an educational institute. With the desire to do something big in life, she got associated with the SHG eco-system to augment her otherwise limited financial resources. She received a “Revolving Fund” of Rs 10,000 initially and later on a Community Investment Fund of Rs 20,000 and then three times a total loan of Rs 1.40 lakh. Seeing her performance of repayments etc. and her commitment towards her mission, she was recommended for bank linkage which helped her in running the affairs of the institute successfully. She started the institute with only five students in 2019. As on date, hundreds of students are enrolled in her institute as the financial support from the UMEED scheme has helped her to reach the top. “We are not only earning a decent living but we are proud to become job-givers rather than job-seekers and are able to provide gainful employment to fifteen persons in our institution so far,”Russia@3833 [Atiqa told a Srinagar-based daily. Janna Begum, a SHG member, hailing from Singhporain North Kashmir’s Baramulla district, established various livelihoods for herself and also engaged her entire family in it. “UMEED provided me with a platform to overcome my financial difficulty. I started cosmetics and a fodder shop and both the units were a good success. I now earn more than Rs. 25,000 profit a month,” she said. NaseemaBano of Newa area in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district wanted to extend a helping hand to her husband but every time lack of financial resources would stop her “I not only now created a livelihood opportunity for myself but engaged my entire family with it. UMEED provided us with an appropriate platform for overcoming our financial difficulties we were facing for quite a long time,” she asserted. With the financial help and bank linkage, she was able to establish a full-fledged workshop and a retail copper shop in her vicinity. The shop is a successful venture and she is earning more than Rs 30, 000 profits a month. Sheetal Kumari, hailing from village Sultanpur of Bishnah block was struggling on a daily basis for her livelihood. “It was very hard for us to make both ends meet. I used to make paper bags all night and sell them to the nearby vendor. I joined the UMEED programmeand did my best to revive our economic condition,” she said. Kumari in a short span of her association with UMEED has generated quite a few assets for her family. She is a role model for the women in her village as well in her own community. She has at present a Kiryana shop, a load carrier, 2 to 3 cows and works as an AMC operator in her village. Anju Bala of Mathwar, Bhalwal area of Jammu region was imparted a number of trainings by the sakhiswhich opened her horizon. Currently, Anju is running a general store successfully and earning substantial income for her family.

After August 5, 2019, lives of women in J&K have changed. During COVID-19 pandemic, fairer sex played a lead role in sustaining the economy of J&K. Women made lakhs of masks and contributed immensely in the fight against the pandemic. The support offered by the government turned the women into key agents for the development of the society. Self-Help Groups especially for women helped them to start entrepreneurial activities which led to eradication of poverty. These groups have proven to be effective tools for women empowerment in J&K. The women members of the SHGs in J&K have set an example in repayment of loans with less than one per cent NPA. Union Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had stated that women self-help groups in rural areas had set an example for the country in repaying loans. J&K women are on a way to change their destinies through the Self Help Groups and they have proven their mettle through the dint of their hard work, sincerity, dedication and honesty. They are contributing immensely towards building ‘Naya J&K’ and the government is providing them with all possible support.

According to the recent data released by Atlas of sustainable development goals (2017) that states, the world’s population is young: 42% people are under age of 25. If we talk of India, India is considered to be the youngest country in terms of its number of youths; therefore, India has a massive, huge and surplus opportunity to harness the potential of this multitude of youth that will in turn prove beneficial for India’s social, political, economic and cultural development.

The youth is in fact an asset that if invested properly can bring a massive change in almost all fields of life and will further push the societies as well as the country they belong to, to the higher standards. In fact, in contemporary times, the young generations have got such a great importance, that the future and the destiny of nation is now entirely dependent on the skills and the strength of youths. In almost all the Countries of the world from time to time, Young generation has been playing an important role in defining the destiny and the fate of nation they belong to.

It is said that if any country or nation wants to develop, then it is essential for young people to have positive thinking. Although a young man is said to be the architect of the nation, he has certain responsibilities as well, he can’t be called an architect of a nation unless he has put his position into practice.

The need of the hour is to make the best out of the potential and strength they have got. Science has made a great progress in the last few decades and has an important role to play when it comes to the skill development among young generations.

At the same time social enthusiasm among the youth has decreased particularly with the arrival of digital devices that have completely restricted and manipulated their use of mind, which is unfortunate. Today’s youth are leaving their responsibilities behind, and is absorbed in his private life. Today the younger generation is going to fall, which is tragic. In today’s generation, the moral decline is at its peak. Education is becoming more and more common, but moral declines are taking its toll. Knowledge however plays a vital role in shaping humanity and moral character.

That’s where the negative effects of the body are coming from. Although knowledge works as light, it is getting darker day by day .Parents who are an important asset and it is our duty to serve them on humanitarian and moral basis, but in modern times, their rights are also being discriminated ,even less attention is paid to them. In fact, today’s generation lacks the light of morality and character. Only when a person has moral character, he can know his lord and his parents. It is only then he could develop a positive mindset. When a person has a moral decline, he is definitely going to start thinking negatively which is a disastrous indication.

The character and character of humanity are manifest in the Holy Quran, but today’s young generation has also left the Holy Quran behind. On the contrary they have wasted their precious time on useless things and useless Jobs. So it is said that Holy Quran is alchemy and so life is the only version of our guidance, but unfortunately, the Muslim nation especially the young generation have abandoned the commandments of Allah . On the contrary, non-Muslims are benefiting from this prescription. Non-Muslims are practicing this in their lives. Today is the time to wake up, today is the time to test yourself, today is the time to rectify yourself, today is the time to reform yourself. Because even today, our young generation is unable to improve, then God forbid, we will have a lot of trouble in future and disastrous consequences ahead.

Today is the time to awake your conscience, today is the time to change your thinking that has deteriorated considerably, especially the thinking of the young generation. The younger generation can revolutionize society, if they want to as there are bundles of examples where youths have contributed for the betterment of nations and societies.

The younger generation can take society to new heights if they want to. Only young generation work in nation as light, if they know their responsibilities. In the end, this is the prayer to Almighty to show our young generation the straight path. May Allah help our young generation to reform, so that our nation can progress and prosper day by day, Ameen.

Courtesy : Nasir Ahmad Shah

E-rickshaws were introduced for the first time in Kashmir Valley. The chargeable battery-driven auto-rickshaws ply from Gawkadal to Bohri Kadal area of Downtown Srinagar. Ease of commute has been the overstated benefit of these newbies on roads. Popular opinions say, the more the merrier, given that such public transport can reduce traffic jams, help decongest public transport and make navigating in peak hours very easy. However, the most important element of its introduction in the valley has to be its potential to mitigate air pollution. In the face of an impending global climate crisis, e-rickshaws in the valley need to be seen as more than just another vehicle on the streets.

Understanding the science behind it is going to facilitate our appreciation of it as :

When carbon-based fuels are burned, incomplete combustion causes the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other pollutants, including particulate matter (PM) (aerosols), which include particles that can cool or heat the Earth’s climate by reflecting or absorbing the radiation of the sun. A particular type of PM, black carbon (BC), survives relatively for a short period (one week) in the atmosphere but absorbs vast amounts of solar radiation. Solid fuel burning, especially indoors, and high-emitting diesel engines, emit high levels of BC which contributes to climate warming.

The high levels of BC pollution in urban air in developing countries are also attributed to polluting industries and the operation of older vehicles. Global temperatures are estimated to have been excessively warmed by more than 15% due to it. Evidence from modelling studies suggests that climate change is likely to increase ozone concentrations, a major cause of respiratory illnesses in urban areas. To protect current and future generations from the health effects of fossil fuel burning, it is essential to reduce emissions as quickly as possible.

Researchers say combining policies that address local air pollution and global climate change will provide enhanced climate change mitigation benefits. Medium-term efforts to control air pollution will provide additional benefits to long-term strategies that aim to curb climate change. Short-term reductions in BC can potentially delay the impact of global warming by approximately 10 years, allowing researchers and policymakers to do more research and step up their efforts. As far as vehicle interventions go, reducing emissions from super-emitting diesel trucks and buses is the most attractive option.

Health Impacts
Poor air quality is causing people to become ill and die prematurely, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Air pollution is linked to an estimated 4.2 million premature deaths a year, according to the World Health Organization. When indoor air quality is considered, that number rises by an estimated 2.9 to 4.3 million deaths a year, according to The Lancet Commission.

High PM2.5 concentrations, particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns, are a significant health risk in densely populated urban areas in most low- and middle-income countries. It has been linked to both acute and short-term illnesses, and increased rates of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, asthma, pneumonia, and other health problems over time. PM2.5, which is largely caused by carbon burning and exudes from power plant smokestacks, vehicle exhaust systems, and open fires, was identified as the sixth highest risk factor for death worldwide in a 2018 report by the Health Effects Institute (HEI) and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

In addition, as a growing body of evidence indicates, COVID-19 patients may experience worse outcomes from long-term exposure to air pollution. During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Public Health Alliance reported that cities with higher levels of air pollution also had higher mortality rates with more severe symptoms among COVID-19 patients.

Air pollution linked with cognitive decline and dementia

As per the opinion (a 25 July 2022 report) from the authoritative Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP), science advisers to the UK government, have said for the first time that dementia and a declining mental ability in older people around the world may be caused by air pollution.

As a result of reviewing nearly 70 studies, the group concluded there was an association between exposure to air pollutants and “an acceleration of the decline in cognitive function often associated with ageing, and with the risk of developing dementia.”

Due to a scarcity of investigative studies, the committee wasn’t able to estimate how many older people had proven to have mental decline following exposure to air pollution. However, according to a 2018 study of Londoners, air pollution may be responsible for roughly 60,000 of the 209,600 new cases of dementia in the UK every year.

Acid Rain

The formation of acid rain is caused by elevated levels of sulphur and nitric acids in the atmosphere due to emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxides (SO2). Water molecules in the atmosphere combine with Sulphur dioxide and Nitrogen oxides, emitted from industries and vehicles, leading to the formation of mild sulfuric and nitric acids which fall back on land as acid rain.

In highly industrialized areas and urban areas with high car traffic, factories and automobiles emit high levels of gaseous emissions every day. As a result, these areas experience exceedingly high amounts of acid rain.

Acid rain is very harmful to agriculture, plants, and animals. It washes away all nutrients which are required for the growth and survival of plants. It causes respiratory issues in animals and humans. Aquatic ecosystems are adversely affected by acid rain that falls into rivers and ponds. It damages the buildings and monuments made up of stones and metals.

Situation in Jammu and Kashmir

Despite Srinagar’s reputation for pristine environments, scientists from the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and the University of Kashmir found that air quality declines drastically during the winter in Srinagar.

As per Times of India, Shakil Ahmad Romshoo, Former Head of the Department of Earth Sciences at Kashmir University, now Vice-Chancellor at IUST Awantipora, and one of the authors of the study said, “The number of cars on the roads needs to be decreased to check the emission of fossil fuels. Every year, Jammu Kashmir adds up to 1.5 lakh vehicles. We are forced to use our own vehicles because of the lack of a very efficient transport system.”

In 2018, according to the figures for 2016, Srinagar’s air was declared the 10th most polluted in the world by the World Health Organization.

“From November onwards, we tend to have air quality issues. Air quality remains largely within permissible limits during summer and spring, but during autumn and winter, it’s very polluted. During the cold months, our air is only clean when we have precipitation episodes (rain or snow). At this time, breathing Srinagar’s air is equal to smoking 40 cigarettes a day,” Mudasir Ahmad Bhat, an environmental scientist, and researcher based at the University of Kashmir said in a conversation with Rising Kashmir.

As per ‘Preliminary Study on Air Quality of Srinagar, (Jammu Kashmir), India’ by Mehvish Sheikh & Ishtiyaq Ahmed Naja, published in June 2018, there is a higher concentration of NO2 at Lal chowk which is a commercial area and vehicular emission could be one of the reasons for a higher value of NO2.

The concentration of NO2 varied from 17.97µg/m3 during November to a maximum of 19.01µg/m3 during January, which is clearly higher than the permissible limit of 10 µg/m3.

The current WHO guideline value of 10 µg/m3 (annual mean) was set to protect the public from the health effects of gaseous nitrogen dioxide.

As per another study ‘Winter Burst of Pristine Kashmir Valley Air’ by Zainab Q. Hakim, Gufran Beig, Srinivas Reka, Shakil A. Romshoo & Irfan Rashid, published in February 2018, indicates that the air quality of Srinagar deteriorates significantly, particularly during winter, where the level of PM2.5 touches a peak value of 348 μg/m³ against the Indian permissible limit of 60 μg/m³.

It revealed that the annual PM2.5 emissions are highest from coal burning which is around 1246.5 tons/year followed by the emissions from vehicular combustion which is 220.5 tons/year, and the least are the emissions from fuel wood burning which is around 8.06 tons/year.

A recent study on the effect of vehicular pollution on the ambient concentrations of particulate matter and carbon dioxide in Srinagar City, by Nikhil Savio, Farooq Ahmad Lone, Javeed Iqbal Ahmad Bhat, Nayar Afaq Kirmani and Nageena Nazir, published in April 2022, revealed that throughout the year from June 2019 to May 2020, CO2 concentration was seen to be increasing in Srinagar city.

On a monthly basis, the maximum average concentration of CO2 was found during December and Shalimar recorded the highest carbon dioxide value of 637.57 ppm.

The recorded maximum average values at other locations were 622.33 ppm, 614.40 ppm, 592.23 ppm and 579.33 ppm at Jehangir Chowk, Dalgate, Parimpora and Pantha Chowk, respectively.

On the other hand, the maximum average concentration in spring reached 626.86 ppm in Jehangir Chowk and the minimum average for the same season was recorded in Shalimar (592.06 ppm). The average value of all the sites during the spring season was 609.29 ppm.

This is clearly higher than the global average atmospheric carbon dioxide, 414.72 ppm recorded in 2021 based on analysis from NOAA’s Global Monitoring Lab.

In the face of climate change and air pollution, e-transport is a promising answer

The experts suggest various solutions that can help reduce the concentration of particulate matter (pollutants) in the air, including proper road macadamization, dumping of agricultural waste, and using clean energy sources instead of coal and wood. Additionally, scientists recommend regulating fuel adulteration by petrol pump owners and introducing cleaner alternatives like CNG and battery-powered vehicles.

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) released a paper in April 2018 on the pollution caused by autos. According to it, approximately 1200 tonnes of carbon dioxide, 4 tonnes of NOx and 0.5 tonnes of PM10 are emitted from the total fleet of auto rickshaws plying in the city of Bengaluru per day, and auto rickshaws contribute to 0.44 million tonnes of carbon emissions per year. Switching to electric autos could result in a reduction of carbon emissions by 0.11 million tonnes per year, PM10 emissions by 114.5 million tonnes per year, and NOx emissions by 37.6 million tonnes per year.

A rickshaw powered by electricity requires little maintenance and is cheaper to operate than one powered by petrol or compressed natural gas. In North India, where deteriorating air quality levels have rendered urban areas uninhabitable, the emission-free e-rickshaw is being hailed as the humble agent of change for a cleaner, less fossil fuel-dependent future.

While e-rickshaws are behind the auto-rickshaws from a technological standpoint, they are more energy-efficient and less polluting. The use of e-rickshaws could reduce the consumption of fuel oil for passenger transportation, which is both economically and environmentally beneficial.

People in Kashmir have suffered various times when there has been a shortage of petrol and diesel in the Valley. Had there been e-rickshaws, people would have been less dependent on fossil fuels.

Electric buses eliminate both CO2 and black carbon emissions, so switching from local buses to soot-free vehicles can be an effective carbon reduction strategy. As per a Forbes report, Shenzhen, China, has switched to an electric bus fleet and now has over 16,000 electric buses and 22,000 Electric Taxis, reducing not only pollution but also noise. The other report suggests the switch from diesel buses to electric is expected to achieve an estimated reduction in CO2 emissions of 48% and reductions in pollutants, including particulate matter.

The Top Five most effective interventions that improve both health, by reducing PM2.5, and climate, by reducing carbon dioxide emissions, according to the report, Air Pollution Interventions: Seeking the Intersection Between Climate and Health, are:

1) Replacing coal with renewable sources of energy for total power production;

2) Replacing diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles with electric vehicles in both the public and private sector;

3) Eliminating uncontrolled diesel emissions;

4) Preventing crop burning; and

5) Preventing forest fires.

I recently talked to an e-rickshaw owner in Lucknow who claimed the cost of the vehicle to be around 1.5 lakh, which on a single full charge of 7-8 hrs, covered a distance of 80 – 100kms. His monthly earnings were about 10 thousand. The vehicle had a maximum speed of 30kms per hour.

There is a need to increase the number of e-rickshaws already introduced in J&K earlier this year across Jammu and Kashmir. However, E-rickshaws’ low speed can add to traffic jams in the already congested cities of Jammu and Srinagar. So, proper planning is required to ensure hassle-free movement of vehicles and at the same time shift to these eco-friendly vehicles.

The bottom line remains that electric cars, trains, buses, and rickshaws are essential for achieving cleaner air in urban centres and can contribute to the mitigation of climate change as well. They’re ultra-efficient and emit no exhaust. Also, It will require clean electricity to power them.

Courtesy : Faizan Arif

On Sep 02, in an act of violence, a non-local labourer was shot and injured in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district. The victim Muneeb-ur-Rehman is a resident of West Bengal. The incident was carried out in Ugergund village of Pulwama. Terrorists indiscriminately fired upon the innocent labourer, resulting in his injuries, after which he was shifted to district hospital Pulwama where his condition is stated to be stable. KRF highly condemns the attack of terror on naive labourer, who toil hard to earn their livelihood far apart from their home.