Srinagar, December 27, 2015 (PPI-OT): In occupied Kashmir, the civil society members under the banner of Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS) have expressed concern over the testing of artillery shells made of depleted uranium in firing ranges, saying this will severely affect water supply to Srinagar and other areas.
The civil society members expressed these concerns during a roundtable meeting of experts, which was held to discuss the ramifications of turning Bajpathri into a firing range. “It would be biggest environmental challenge faced by Kashmir in the recent times. This is going to be a disaster of epic proportions which will directly impact lakhs of people,” said Mushtaq Ahmed, a retired engineer.
“Two major water reservoirs and 24 water supply schemes are in and around Bajpathri. And all of them will become poisonous due to dispersal of chemicals like lead, sulphur, depleted uranium and other harmful substances used in shells,” he said.
Mushtaq said that three major rivers-Doodhganga, Shalinag and Sukhnag- emerge from the adjacent Thumbri glacier and the entire water passes through Bajpathri. “The water is supplied to people of Budgam, Pulwama and Srinagar and if the Bajpathri firing range goes through, the people will be supplied with poisonous water,” said Mushtaq.
Former Chairman Federation of Chamber of Commerce, Shakil Qalander said, “We have got unconfirmed reports about testing of artillery shells made of depleted uranium in firing ranges of Kashmir.” “If that is true, it will not only poison our today but our future generations too,” said Qalander.
While detailing the ill-effects of such substances, renowned physician Dr G Q Allaqaband said that first thing to happen will be the increase in cancer rate. “Lead poisoning will be second. And if radioactive pollution is correct, then women will give birth to deformed babies due to the effect,” said Dr Allaqaband. Asim from Save Yusmarg Movement, Dr Javed Iqbal, Advocate G N Shaheen and KCSDS Chairperson Prof Hameeda Nayeem also addressed the meeting.
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