SRINAGAR- The authorities' decision to declare Kausar Naag lake in Indian occupied Kashmir as an annual pilgrimage site for Hindus can prove detrimental to the ecology of the area, experts warned.
Kausar Naag is a high altitude glacier lake located in Shopian district which is the source of the famed Aharbal waterfall and two rivulets, Veshaw and Toungri, KMS reported.
Kashmir University's senior geologist, Prof Shakil Ahmad Ramshoo in a media interview in Srinagar said that places like Kausar Naag are ecologically fragile where visitors should not be allowed beyond a limit.
"If 50-100 people, for example, will visit Kausar Naag every year, it probably won't have any difference on the environment. But if hundreds of people will, which I am sure of, it surely will have negative ramifications," he added.
"During my childhood hardly 30-40 pilgrims used to undertake Amarnath Yatra (in Pahalgam). Today the count has gone up to 500,000. And we very well know how badly it has affected our natural resources," Prof Ramshoo said, blaming successive regimes for not implementing environment-related laws.
Environment lawyer and executive director Centre for Environment Law, Nadeem Qadri, endorsed Prof Ramshoo's views, saying pilgrimages like the Kausar Naag Yatra can bring along "hazardous consequences."
"Turning yet another tourist destination into a pilgrimage spot will affect the ecology of the area. Such pilgrimages bring with them hazardous consequences. Besides, we lack infrastructure for waste management. These places ultimately develop as ugly spots in the landscape of Kashmir," Qadri added.