The Bold Voice of J&K

Endangering ecology

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Though Supreme Court has ruled against using politicians photographs in Govt advertisements except President and Prime Minister but on a drive along the highway one can still see the politicians adorning the hoardings claiming their achievements along with commercial advertisements. Even rocks have been defaced with paints of all shades for advertisements. This wanton damage is being carried out despite a law banning defacing of public places, buildings to check the ecological damage. The Division Bench of Jammu and Kashmir High Court had already given directions to the State Government to remove these irritants from the Jammu-Srinagar and Srinagar-Leh highways on the ecological grounds after a Public Interest Litigation seeking removal and restraining public defacing the rocks was filed. “These ecological formations are the repository  of geological records of the past millions of years and damage  caused to them  is irreversible in practical terms”, observed a central expert committee last year after visiting these sites in Jammu and Kashmir and other states. Today one can see more of hoardings and rock painting all along the highways. The onus should be on the people to protect these invaluable geological records by not allowing any  activities of painting of advertisements. Any violation thereof should be viewed seriously by the government enforcement agencies by taking punitive action against violators. In March 2003 a four member committee was constituted to make an on-the-spot assessment of damages caused to the Shivalik Ranges by advertisements and paintings on rocks and mountain faces on  the highways. A drive along the highway today shows more hoardings in bigger size and colours that have come up. In the face of  clear-cut directions and strict laws the violations have been going on  despite the Court directions to stop such damage to the ecology. Now the question is who is to be blamed for such wanton violations, people or the law?

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