Rural Heritage Interactive Meet organized by Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Jammu and INTACH Jammu

JAMMU: Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Jammu in collaboration with INTACH (Jammu Chapter) organized "Rural Heritage Interactive meet" which was attended by officers of Department of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj(RD PR), Govt. of J&K, members of INTACH Jammu, Faculty members and students from Environmental Sciences and other allied departments from University of Jammu.

Sheetal Nanda, Secretary, RD PR, J&K Govt. was the Chief Guest on the occasion and Rehana Batool, Director General, presided over the function. Chief Guest while speaking on the occasion emphasised that her thrust has all along been to seek priority on such conservation schemes and measures that are need based and beneficial to the rural community.

She extended full support of her department in taking up conservation and revival initiatives for the natural heritage sites based on traditional methods and techniques. The programme started with welcome address by Prof. R.K Rampal, Head, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Jammu.

S.M. Sahni, Convener INTACH, Jammu Chapter introduced the theme of the meet and discussed in detail about the significance of natural heritage sites. He stressed upon the need for their revitalization and rejuvenation for maintaining ecological balance and to restore the history, culture and heritage of Jammu.

Dr. Deepika Slathia, .Department of Environmental Sciences, made a formal presentation entitled "Listing of Ponds, Bowlis, Stepwells, Chapparis from District Jammu" a joint initiative by Department of Environmental Sciences and INTACH Jammu which included listing and mapping of traditional waterbodies along with their present condition and anthropogenic pressures on these sites.

Management plan that can be taken up for restoration of different types of waterbodies was also proposed in her presentation which was followed by an interactive session seeking suggestions from academia, engineering wing and members of civil society on the possible solutions for formulation of effective conservation plan.

The areas specifically discussed for conservation included Jandrah, Dansal, Kapotha, Old Vaishno Devi Route and various sites from Akhnoor area.

Prof. A.K. Raina, in his expert lecture stressed upon the conservation measures to be taken for restoration of these waterbodies. He made a special mention of effects of unplanned development on ecology of Mansar lake. Rehana Batool, in her concluding remarks directed her department to prepare a pilot project proposal based on traditional conservation measures which can be later on replicated in different environments.

She ensured that formulation of proposal for the pilot project would be taken on priority basis and the restoration measures will be started soon. Aijaz Qaiser (ACD-Jammu) requested his department to take up initiatives involving eco-restoration methods instead of using conventional methods of development like concretization of these structures leading to their deterioration and degradation.

He said that efforts are being made to mobilize developmental agencies to expedite conservation work under various approved schemes and help from bigger companies under ‘CSR' can also be sought for making this pilot project a great success.

INTACH and Department of Environmental Sciences, committed their full involvement in this project and assured the department all support in this initiative.

Others present during the occasion included SE's, Xen's and other members of engineering department, BDO's from various blocks of Jammu, Dr. Sanjay Sharma, Dr. Piyush Malaviya, Dr. Meenakshi Khajuria, Vernika Gupta, SS Rishab besides students and research scholars of Department of Environmental Sciences and various other departments University of Jammu.

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