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Emission from troops’ vehicles threaten Kashmir ecology: Report

Srinagar, September 24, 2007:

Emission from hundreds of heavy military vehicles of over 300 convoys and other paramilitary forces and government vehicles moving everyday throughout Indian administered Kashmir is threatening the ecological balance in the region, says a report on climate change in Kashmir.

‘On the brink’ a 28-page report on climate change and its impact in Kashmir published by Actionaid International, an NGO working in over 40 countries says that the vehicles of Indian troops and paramilitary forces stationed in Indian administered Kashmir are producing a high level of green house gases.

According to estimates around 700,000 Indian troopers are stationed in Kashmir fighting anti-Indian insurgency. Secessionists put the figures at 1 million.

“The vehicles of troops, paramilitary forces and government vehicles are outside the purview of the law enforcing agencies in pollution control,” says the report released here Monday.

The report recommended creating a mechanism for bringing all non-civilian entries within the ambit of state law to prevent this pollution as the military vehicles move through the most ecologically sensitive areas of Kashmir.

Kashmir valley remains highly vulnerable to trapped gases in its environment.

“Kashmir government needs to review its policy decision to trade its carbon credits in international markets and also address the growing concerns about underestimation of emission of greenhouse gases in Kashmir, particularly in Kashmir valley,” the report says.

The NGO has also recommended the government in Indian administered Kashmir to impose stringent laws not only for checking emission from private vehicles and industrial units but also for large-scale emissions from government and military establishment, from charcoal based heating systems in winters.

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