KashmirFOA encourages grass roots advocacy for conservation of natural environment and cultural heritage.
It provides analysis of proposed public works projects and helps organize community review of development projects in Kashmir.
KashmirFOA is a resource for organizing community review of development The natural environment in Kashmir is getting degraded by uncontrolled development. Unregulated construction on low lying paddy fields creates drainage problems and ground contamination. This development pattern is common all over the Valley. The National Highway of Kashmir is becoming a “bazaar” street with shops on both sides of the road. The traffic routes, water and drainage channels are constrained. The built areas become unhealthy smelly water logged areas.
The existing urban areas in the Valley are bursting at the seams because of the inherent demand for urban land. This demand is a result of the change in the socio-economic pattern of Kashmiri economy from an agriculture rural-economy to a service based urban economy. The historic settlement pattern of Kashmir was to serve a rural economy, for the most part based on a pedestrian scale. The capital city and major towns evolved on river navigation routes and villages were at walking distances from agriculture fields around natural water sources. The future settlement pattern of Kashmir, for the new service sector economic order, must be geared to cater to the new set of requirement for an urban service economy.
As example, modern era roads are multi-purpose service corridors. The Jehlum Valley Road was a cart road paved over for a single purpose project when personal vehicles were few. Widening it and “by-passing” it cannot accommodate the new Marvati avalanche and urban service infrastructure. In modern times the need is for a “Rubik-cube” like plans that take a multi-dimensional approach at resolving issues, enhancing the positives and minimizing the negatives, centered on the most precious commodity, our natural habitat. Kashmir is endowed with natural assets that can give us best of both worlds, if we choose.
Kashmir needs a regional LAND USE policy plan aimed at identifying judicious land use and an infrastructure plan.