‘Serious, Shocking’: ‘Kashmir-less’ PCC Creates Concerns in Valley

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Apart from shocking reactions, the missing Kashmiri representation in Pollution Control Committee is now creating a judicial campaign in the valley.

By Umer Ahmad

DAYS after Delhi downgraded Jammu and Kashmir Pollution Control Board (JKPCB) to Pollution Control Committee (JKPCC) without Kashmir representation, environmental lawyer Nadeem Qadri and his battery of activists is mulling to take a judicial route to counter the move.

“It’s a very serious matter,” Qadri told Kashmir Observer.

“If Commissioner JMC is in the committee, why not it’s counterpart from Kashmir division?”

The lawyer said his team is analyzing the legal aspects in the Gazette Notification of March 25 “and will file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and challenge the decision in the High Court”.

Earlier, concerns grew among the Kashmir based environmentalists after Centre formulated a 14 member Pollution Control Committee, without considering any governmental or non-governmental member from Kashmir.

The members in the committee include Commissioner JMC, Medical Superintendent GMC Jammu, Regional Officer Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change Govt of India Jammu, Dr. Pankaj Chandan Director NGO Nature, Wildlife and Climate Change based in Jammu, Prof Anil Raina Department of Environmental Science Jammu University, Member Secretary Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) or his/her nominee, MD Small Industrial Corporation, and others.

It’s said that Administrative Secretary Forest, Ecology and Environment might be the chairman of the committee.

“This was expected,” Qadri continued. “But what is shocking is that not even a single member from Kashmir is included in the Committee.”

Since there’s no representation from Kashmir division, the advocate said, tomorrow any decision can be taken related to environmental clearance of projects or pollution control measures and mitigations.

Post-abrogation of J&K’s special status, government cleared many projects in Kashmir without any public consultation, said Sheikh Ghulam Rasool, chairman and founder, J&K RTI Movement.

“And now Centre is taking yes men in the committee so that they can do whatever they want,” Sheikh Ghulam Rasool said.

Notably, since the abrogation of Article 370 and the subsequent implementation of J&K Reorganization Act, many state institutions were closed including State Information Commission (SIC), State Human Rights Commission (SHRC), State Women’s Commission (SWC) and, now institution like State Pollution Control Board (SPCB).

Terming the notification ‘shocking’, comrade Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami said: “Excluding representation from Kashmir division in the JKPCC has shown the discriminatory mindset.”

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