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Jammu Kashmir

Posted at: May 17, 2018, 1:22 AM; last updated: May 17, 2018, 1:22 AM (IST)

Water shortage: Locals on a mission to save wild animals

Create water points, hire tankers to fill ponds near Shivalik forests
Water shortage: Locals on a mission to save wild animals
Volunteers fill a pond using a water tanker near the forest area in Kandi belt. Tribune Photo

Sumit Hakhoo

Tribune News Service

Jammu, May 16

With the region witnessing dry summer, locals have launched a mission to provide water and save wild animals living in the Shivalik forests in the Kandi belt.

Continuous drought in the region has led to the vanishing of water bodies. Also, the government’s failure to implement the rainwater harvesting scheme is driving the Kandi belt on the path of destruction.

A group of youth and villagers of 30 panchayats in the Akhnoor-Chhamb belt, some 50 km from Jammu, have been creating water points and filling ponds using water tankers during April-May.

As per the volunteers associated with the project for the past few years, their efforts have paid off as the death rate of birds, especially peacock, due to water scarcity has come down considerably and it has also helped in curbing animal poaching.

Satish Sharma, who initiated the project, said water tankers were hired whenever the need was felt.

“During summer, the whole belt suffers from shortage of water. All ponds dry up. We humans can make efforts to help animals and birds which die a silent death due to extreme heat,” Sharma added.

More than a decade ago, Memeber of Parliament Madan Lal Sharma along with the Social Forestry Department had started a major project to expand the green cover, which greatly helped in reviving forests. However, after the PDP-BJP government came into power no follow-up was done, but these volunteers are determined to safeguard the nature.

“Rainfall is the major source of groundwater recharge in the Kandi belt but in the past few years, there has been scanty rainfall even during monsoon. It is a small effort from our side to save lives. However, the government should also take some responsibility,” said Sandeep Rissim, another volunteer.

There are thousands of natural water bodies and “talabs” spread across the region, but a majority of them have dried up or encroached upon to construct houses.

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