Pahalgam, Kashmir

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Bureaucracy: Pahalgam Development Authority

For effective management of the erstwhile Pahalgam Project Organization, Pahalgam constituted by the Govt. in the year 1978 vide SRO 415 dated July,1978 under Development Act,1970, the Government of Jammu and Kashmir vide its Cabinet decision No.15/2 dated 6.2.2003 issued under Government Order No.23-TSM of 2003 dated 21.02.2003 ordered that Pahalgam Development Authority shall be headed by a Chief Executive Officer who shall also function as Administrator/Chairman of local Town Area Committee/Notified Area Committee. This shall remain part of the Tourism Department.

Trade Union Centre organises May Day at Pahalgam

Srinagar, May 4, 2005: ( Jammu and Kashmir Trade Union Center (TUC) organised a function in connection with May Day on May 2, at Pahalgam in district Islamabad.

According to a spokesman of the TUC, hundreds of employees and workers attended the function. The function was organised by the TUC tehsil president Pahalgam Muhammad Ramzan Malik and chief patron Abdul Rashid Zaildar. The TUC spokesman B A Ganai, MEF president Ghulam Muhammad Dhobi, HEU president Muhammad Farooq Khan and other office-bearers, including B A Mir and Mushtaq Ahmad Chaloo also participated in the function.

Addressing the function, B A Ganai dilated on the importance of May Day and urged the employees and workers to strengthen the hands of sincere, honest, efficient and bold leadership. He urged the employees and workers to keep a vigilant eye on the elements who, according to him, were all set to divide them. He expressed satisfaction that the employees and workers had enough vision to differentiate between sincere and selfish elements. He alleged that these elements were acting upon the dictates of some agencies. He paid tributes to all the martyrs of May Day.

The MEF president G M Dhobi, while speaking on the occasion, highlighted the problems of employees and workers. The tehsil president M Ramzan Malik, chief patron A R Zaildar also spoke at the function and stressed for unity among all employees.

Power: Pahalgam 3MW goes live April 2005

Projects that would be commissioned in the month of April 2005, include Pahalgam 3MW, Haftal 1 MW, Igo Maccelang 3 MW and Bhaderwah II 1.15 MW and three more hydel projects would be completed during the current financial year these are Machil 0.35 MW, Sanjok 1.26 MW and Marpochoo 0.75 MW. 11 mini hydel projects have already been tendered they include Kohmil 3.75 MW, Hajipoa 9 MW, Athwatoo 7.50 MW. Ranmgalla Dunadi 7 MW, Tangmarg 6 MW, Bonigar 3 MW and Drung 2 MW. Work on six prestigious projects will be started this year. They include Sawalakote I and II 1200 MW, Baglihar-II 450 MW, Parnai 37.50 MW, New Ganderbal 9.3 MW, Kalthi 240 MW and Lowa Kalnai 50 MW. is in the process if obtaining this case study:
Planning and Construction of the Pahalgam Scheme
Brahme, M V; Dandekar, Y S
International Water Power and Dam Construction IWPCDM Vol. 40 , no. 8, pp. 24-26. Aug. 1988

The Kashmir valley, in the Indian Himalayas, has many potential sites for hydropower development because of its favorable topography. A small hydropower station, with a capacity of 4.5 MW, is under construction in the valley at Pahalgam. A case study is presented of the planning process for the scheme. Particular care has to be taken to minimize environmental impact , as the site is in a popular resort area. Aspects highlighted in the article include diversion weirs, the 1375 m-long power channel, the inverted siphon, the forebay, three penstocks and powerhouse, and project cost. (Author 's abstract)

Descriptors: Valleys; Capacity; Penstocks; Environmental impact; Topography; Siphons; Kashmir; Bypasses; Dam construction; Electric power generation; International waters

Schools: Pahalgam Kendriya Vidyalay (KV)

Pahalgam KV School is running from a panchayat building. It is being run by Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS). Another Army School could open at Pahalgam soon.
Other schools in the area: Sunrise Public School at Siligam, Aishmuqam; Al Sarwat Convent School, Aishmuqam; Army School, Khundrooh; Army School, Aishmuqam Mini buses are used for ferrying children to these schools from far flung areas.

There is a possibility of setting up two boarding schools in the state, one at Pahalgam and other at Rajouri on the pattern of Doon School (A request for this from the CM is pending with the Chief of Army Staff General Vij). The project is going to cost close to 20 crores. The state government has granted land and so far (April 2005) 3 crores have been spent on the project. At the Pahalgam school, per claims, one hundred orphan children have been enrolled so far.

12/25/2005: In order to further upgrade the facilities available for education Army has initiated a project to open a public school at Pahalgam. Jammu and Kashmir government has provided 248 kanals of land at Lidru, six kms from Pahalgam.

A school comparable to the best public schools with a capacity to accommodate 300 students with residential facility will be fully functional by 2007.

Pony Owners Association, Pahalgam

The Pahalgam Pony Owners Association offers a variable discount on pony rides to some of the organized tours, if contacted in advance.

Insurance Scheme

2005: The department of labour has organised 4 camps in the Pahalgam area at Chandanwari, Sheshnag, Panjtarni and one base camp at Nunwan to provide group Insurance to help local people who are helping arganize the Amarnath Yatra. Some have also requested that the horses, which are used in the yatra, also be included under the insurance scheme.

Anantnag Ditrict

Pahalgam is one of the five tehsils in the Anantnag district

Topography: Anantnag is the southern most district of the Valley. It shares its border with district Pulwama in the west and from south to east it is attached to Rajouri, Udhumpur and Doda districts respectively. It borders Kargil in the north. The district is criss-crossed by a network of perennial rivers, streams and waterfalls. The geographical area of the district is 3,984 sq. km. with five tehsils namely, Pahalgam, Anantnag, Doru, Kulgam and Bijbehara. There are ten assembly constituencies in the district namely, Noorabad, Kulgam, Homeshalibug, Anantnag, Devsar, Doru, Kokemagh, Shangus, Bijbehara, Pahalgam. The literacy rate is 22.93 per cent - male 36.29 per cent and female 15.88 per cent.

Economy: Agriculture and livestock rearing are the main sources of livelihood. The district is also well-known for traditional handicraft like Gabbas and wooden craft. The district enriched with perennial streams with clean water has developed commercial fishing activities with a scattering of trout farms. Sericulture industry has earned a good name among all the small household industries in the district. To combat unemployment, 362 small scale units have been opened in the district under the self employment programme. An industrial complex for the manufacture of sports goods has also been constructed.

Important places:

1.Thermal Power Station at Pahalgam.

2.Shrine of Aishmuqam, Aishumuqam village.

3.Tomb of Baba Haider Reshi in Anantnag town.

4.Masjid Syed Sahib at the foot of Martand plateau.

5.Masjid Baba Dawood Kaki, Reshi Bazar, Anantnag town.

6.Amarath cave (46 Km. from the distt. Hq.)

7.Mattan temple at the edge of Mattan plateau.

8.Naghbal (Hindu religious centre).

9.Khir Bhawani Asthapan temple, Devibal.

10. Chappel of John Bishops Memorial Hospital, Anantnag.

11. Uma devi of Uma Nagri.

Political Scenario (1980-2000) : The NF(F), MUF and the Congress were the major political parties of the district. Haji Abdul Razak Mir (MUF) from Kulgam assembly constituency, Ghulam Nabi (MUF) from Homeshalibagh assembly constituency, Mohd. Sayeed Shah (MUF) from Anantnag assembly constituency, Rafi Mir N(F) from Pahalgam assembly constituency, Haji Abdul Ghani N(F) from Bijbehara assembly constituency, Abdul Rasheed Dar N(F) from Shangus assembly constituency and Peer Zada Mohd. Sayeed (Congress) from Kokemag assembly constituency won the seats in 1987, whereas Ghulam Ahmed Shah N(F) from Devsar assembly constituency and Akbar Gani N(F) from Doru assembly constituency won the seats in 1983 and 1987. Mst. Sakeena Akhtar, Gul Rafiqui, Mohd. Shafdar Baig, Pir Zada Gh. Ahmed Shah, Gh. Hasan Bani, Syed Abdul Rasheed, Advocate, Abdul Mazid Mir, Miss Mehbooba, Abdul Kabir Pathan (all NC/F) and Mohd. Yusuf Rather alias Tarigami, (CPIM), won the assembly elections in 1996 and Mohd. Maqbool Dar was elected to the Lok Sabha in that year. Mushtaq Ahmed Bukhari, Nishar Ahmed, Gh. Mohd. Jan (all NC/F) won the assembly elections in 1996.

Influence of militancy : Militancy has affected this district severely. The district has been at the forefront of militancy since its beginnings in 1988-89. The district has witnessed high levels of violence.

Politics behind movement of Bakerwals into forest zones of south Kashmir

Pahalgam, June 12, 2005 (Arshad Hamid, Greater Kashmir): Pahalgam, June 12: Bakerwals are threatening to launch agitation if they aren’t allowed to graze their cattle in some forest zones of Islamabad district. Last year when their votes were needed, the People’s Democratic Party recommended wildlife authorities not to restrict their movement into the forest zones where officials cite concern for wildlife as the reason for restriction. This year, when no elections are in sight, the authorities haven’t allowed them to venture into the forests.

Hundreds of Gujjar Bakerwal families who migrate to the Valley in summers to graze cattle in the upper reaches of some areas have threatened agitation if they are denied the permission.

Although the Wildlife Department restricted their movement in 2002 when certain compartments in the entire forest area of Islamabad were handed over to the department for development of a wildlife sanctuary, the nomadic cattle herders have been evading these restrictions on political recommendations.

Sources within the wildlife department disclosed that for the last two years the department failed to check the incursions into the forestland demarcated for sanctuary owing to the elections, in which Mehbooba Mufti and her father and Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed were declared winners.

Sources said the recommendations from the ruling party were “the major hindrance to effect the ban on their entry.”

“Last time the Bakerwals had hung photocopies of the letters issued by Mehbooba Mufti in the necks of their cattle and proceeded into the restricted zones,” said an employee pleading anonymity.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, the Gujjar and Bakerwals, who claim to have been living in these areas since generations during summers accuse wildlife department of intensifying restrictions only this year besides carrying demarcations and plantations in the open patches inside the forest.

“Our Khotas (mud huts) are intact there and how can we leave them. Moreover tell us where shall we go with our livestock, if not given permission inside the jungles. They are planting trees and fencing the area,” says Muhammad Yusuf Poswal of Dohwat, who has halted his herd of buffaloes for the past three days on the banks of Lidder River. “See my cattle are dying here. Tell them to throw my family along with this stock in Lidder,” he said.

The Gujjar and Bakerwals said last year they were freely allowed on the recommendation of the PDP President Mehbooba Mufti. “Veeri Sahib (Minister of State for Home) accompanied us to the forests last year. Why they kept mum when we showed them letters of Mehooba Ji last time. We have voted to the Muftis only for this thing otherwise tell us shall we vote like others for government jobs?,” said Jumma Poswal, showing couple of recommendations by Mehbooba and Forest Minister G.M.Sofi to Deputy Forest Officer, Wildlife Bijbehara and Chief Wildlife Warden. The recommendations directed the officers not to restrict them.

One such letter issued by Mehbooba on the PDP letterhead, duly signed and stamped, when she was MLA of Pahalgam and Vice President of PDP, reads as: “DFO Sahib, Wildlife Bijbehara. I have taken up the matter with your higher ups. Please do not harass them till further orders. I would be obliged.”

The halting of the Gujjar and Bakerwals on the banks of roaring river Lidder is causing inconvenience to the tourists visiting the place as the refuse of the buffaloes, sheep and goats is littered every where.

“Government should do alternate arrangement to them as their presence here causes inconvenience to the people,” suggested Asifa, a University student, who had come on an excursion to the place along with his friends.

The officials of the Wildlife Department manning the area talking to Greater Kashmir expressly rejected their movement in the Aru Aadoo Wildlife Range.

“We cannot allow them in our areas as they with their herds of livestock create havoc in the area, which is not allowed in the sanctuary. Moreover they destroy the fruit bearing plantations, that department planted for the wild animals in the open patches in the forest,” said Manzoor Ahmad Wani, Range Officer, Wildlife Range, Lidder Valley.

Wildlife Warden South, Abdul Rouf Zargar said, “there are some zones where they can move freely. We can allow them only in buffer zones but not in the core zones. After entering the core zones, they disturb the wildlife there and even resort to the killing wild animals.”

Asked why the department bowed before political recommendations and allowed the Gujjar and Bakerwals in the past, he said: “They might have entered from somewhere. The department is lacking adequate facilities and staff to check their movement completely.”

As per the Wildlife Protection Act 1978 of the J&K State, the movement in the sanctuary area is restricted and any sort of external interference damaging the sanctuary is strictly prohibited.

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