Resolve expressed to oppose Bajipathri firing range plan

Srinagar, December 16, 2015 (PPI-OT):In occupied Kashmir, the Save Yusmarg Movement (SYM), Adventure Tour Operators Association of Kashmir (ATOAK) and Jammu and Kashmir Ski and Mountaineering Association (JKSMA) have strongly opposed the plan of leasing out the Bajipathri area, near Yusmarg resort in Badgam, to the Indian army for use as an artillery firing range.

In the backdrop of reports that the puppet administration is examining the Indian army’s demand for leasing out Bajipathri to it, the SYM called an emergency meeting and condemned the plan. The meeting concluded with a decision to resist the move by the Indian Army, said a statement issued after the meeting.

“In the light of surveys ordered by the administration about the consequences of having an artillery firing range in Yusmarg, the government’s decision to expeditiously examine the proposal of the army comes as a shock for people. Six drinking water supply schemes on Doodhganga and Romshi streams are located in the area, which is a source of drinking water supply for Pulwama, Shopian, Budgam and a major part of Srinagar city,” the statement added.

The move to make this a firing range will wash hazardous chemicals into these streams which will have long-term consequences on the health of hundreds of thousands of people who rely on drinking water from these schemes,” the statement pointed out. The ATOAK and JKSMA, in a joint meeting in Srinagar, also took strong note of the proposal.

“We are dismayed to learn that the army is asking for permission to build a firing range in the vicinity of world famous tourist resort of Yusmarg. This virgin and pristine area will face enormous environmental degradation if such a plan is implemented,” a statement released by the groups said. President ATOAK, Rauf Tramboo, presided over the meeting.

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