Jammu, March 15: The 64th meeting of Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board was held at the Raj Bhavan here today under the chairmanship of Governor Satya Pal Malik, Chairman of the Shrine Board.
The Governor, while welcoming the Members of the recently reconstituted Board, complimented the earlier Board Members and lauded their commitment and valuable contributions in creating and continually upgrading facilities for convenience of the pilgrims.
While reviewing the Income and Expenditure statement of the Board, the Chairman pointed out that Revenue Income (i.e., excluding Interest and Dividends) should be either greater or equal to the Revenue Expenditure, excluding the University grant. In total, the expenditure should be less than or equal to Total Income. In view of the new AIIMS and five new medical Colleges coming up in the State, the Board decided to reverse its earlier decision of setting up a Medical College. The Board also approved a formal donation policy to allow donors to donate as per laid down guidelines.
Several important decisions were taken in the meeting for further extending better facilities to the yatris on the yatra route. The meeting approved installation of CCTV Surveillance System on the entire track from Darshani Deodi to Bhawan which will be implemented on turnkey basis. Once in place, this system will not only help in monitoring the movement of the pilgrims and strengthening overall security measures, it will also be of immense support in case of any emergent situations to provide real time assistance to Shrine and local administration.
The Board reviewed the to-date status of installation of a hi-tech Multipurpose Audio System on Tarakote Marg from Katra to Adhkuwari which is being implemented for facilitating on-foot pilgrims who use the scenic Tarakote Marg for their journey to the Holy Cave Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Deviji. This Audio System will be installed through M/s BOSE Corporation India Pvt. Ltd. at an estimated cost of over Rs. 4.55 crore, which includes operational and maintenance cost for 5 years. 550 speakers will be installed along the Tarakote Marg for the facilitation of pilgrims and will become operational by mid of June this year. It will play devotional music and spiritual songs, which will comprise “Chants”, “Mantras”, “Stotras”, Bhaints and devotional music in Dogri language.
The work on installation of dedicated Fire Hydrants from Bhawan to Adhkuwari via Himkoti and its extension along the Tarakote Marg also came up for review of the Board. The installation of Fire Hydrants has been taken up on priority basis to mitigate fire incidents during summer season. The project envisages lifting of treated waste water from Bhawan STP to reservoirs of 50,000 gallons capacity each at Hut Station, Bhawan, Saket, Himkoti and Adhkuwari. This project is estimated to cost Rs. 3.50 crore and is slated to be completed by the PHE Department by May 2019. Further, the treated water so lifted in normal course will be utilised for floriculture, washing of track, construction works etc.
The Board approved another important project for installation of stand-alone Packaged Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) for the Toilet Blocks on the yatra route. Since it is not feasible to connect the existing geographically scattered Toilet Blocks with a centralised STP, as such, the need has been felt for installing stand-alone STPs in 25 Toilet Blocks with an estimated cost of Rs. 6.65 crore in phased manner. The installation of these STPs will also facilitate re-use of treated water, which can be further used for flushing of cisterns, civil constructions as well as gardening purposes. It is pertinent to mention that the Board has already commissioned a number of STPs of varying capacities.
The Board also had a review of status of the installation of underground cabling work from Katra to Bhawan and the surrounding areas which already stands allotted to a Contractor by PDD on the basis of tendering. The meeting was apprised that this project involves an estimated cost of over Rs. 78 crore, which will be partly funded under the PMDP and partly by the Shrine Board. This high utility project will have SCADA compliance based monitoring system of the electric network.
The Governor directed the CEO to ensure that all the projects be completed as per the envisaged timelines for largely facilitating the pilgrims.
The Board also took note of the launching of E-Surveillance Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) based Tracking and Pre-paid system for yatris for hiring the services of Ponies, Pithoos and Palkis on the track leading to the Shrine, which has been launched recently.
Govt taking several steps to double farmers income by 2022: Skandan
Srinagar, Jun 17: Advisor Skandan on Monday said the government is taking several steps like PM Kisan programme and other welfare initiatives to double the farmers’ income by 2022.
He also inaugurated one-day mega Kisan Mela under centrally-sponsored Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA) scheme at Sports Stadium Budgam.
Besides farmers, the Mela organised by District Agriculture Officer (Extension) was attended by agriculture experts and scientists from the Valley.
He said besides schemes and soil health cards, the farmers need various other inputs and techniques to increase their production.
He suggested the Agriculture Department arrange interaction between progressive farmers and other farmers so that the later too would get acquaintance with the government schemes.
Saying that the Government is very serious to double the farmers’ income, he said the Government will do everything possible for the betterment of the farmer community in Kashmir.
Speaking on the occasion, District Development Commissioner Budgam, Syed Sehrish Asgar, said that the Agriculture Department and the district administration are working shoulder-to-shoulder for the betterment of farmer community in the district.
Director Agriculture Kashmir, Syed Altaf Aijaz Andrabi said the Department has taken various initiatives both under centrally and state-sponsored schemes to upgrade the agricultural scene in Kashmir. He said that the mechanization in agriculture has remained a key in the doubling of farmers’ income.
Earlier, the Advisor, who was also chief guest on the occasion, inspected different stalls put up at the Mela to showcase the different agricultural and its allied departments’ products and activities.
The Advisor inspected stalls of vermin-compost model unit, hybrid crops, button mushroom, seed production, fertilizer, orgainc, farm machinery, soil testing laboratory equipments, terrace farming, soil erosion model, scented herbs and plants stall like Salvia, Aster, Dahlia, Antirrhinum, Zinnia, organic model village, etc. He also inspected the stalls put up by several female entrepreneurs and also held interaction with the young entrepreneurs.
On the occasion, the Advisor was briefed about the importance of the Mela in making the people especially farmers of the district aware about the Government schemes, latest technology and good practices for progressive farming to boost their production.
The Advisor was told that Budgam district is self-sufficient in vegetable production, besides exporting large quantities of veggies to other districts of Kashmir.
Later, the Advisor released two booklets ‘Munfarid Zaraiy Hidayaat’ and ‘Studying Document on Doubling Farmers Income by 2022 in Kashmir Division.’
Chief Agriculture Officer, Shabir Ahmed Allaqband and other concerned were also present on the occasion.
‘Unusual’ rain in Kashmir worries farmers, fruit growers
Srinagar, Jun 17: With rainfall in June bringing down temperatures across Kashmir, the unusual weather pattern is turning into a cause of worry for farmers and fruit growers.
Farmers are already feeling the heat due to freaky weather. “Our apple crop is almost 50 percent damaged while other fruits and vegetables have been completely wiped off as rains and hailstorm lashed Kashmir right from the time of flowering,” Kursheed Ahmad, a farmer from North Kashmir said.
“Secondly, the plunging temperature and wet weather makes our fruit plants susceptible to diseases like scab and we have to spend extra amount to spray them with fungicides and insecticides more frequently. For 50 percent less crop we have to spend 200 percent more.”
Officials at Horticulture department also present a gloomy picture. “We won’t say fruits and vegetables are completely destroyed, but it has been hit badly,” one of the Horticulture officials told Kashmir News Service (KNS). “On one hand we are assessing the damage and on the other trying to help farmers by expert counseling and compensation.”
May and June are crucial for paddy cultivation in Kashmir since rice saplings are transplanted from nurseries to the fields. However, frequent rain has not only affected the transplantation operations, but also hampered the normal growth of saplings in the nurseries. “Our fodder crop did not grow to the right length this spring. Now, frequent rains are affecting rice transplantation, even as chilly weather caused stunted growth of the saplings in the nurseries,” said a visibly worried Javaid Ahmad, 44, a farmer in north Kashmir Kupwara.
Fruit growers too are worried about moisture in their orchards, which acts as a catalyst for fungal and parasitic diseases in trees, besides causing an explosion in pests’ numbers. “Fungal diseases explode in orchards in wet weather conditions since moisture remains on leaves and trunks of apple trees for longer periods,” said one of the, professors at the Srinagar agricultural university.
“Pests like hairy caterpillar – also called gypsy moth – grow better in rainy conditions.” “These pests devour leaves and other fleshy parts of the tree, destroying both the fruit and the plant,” he added. What is adding to the growing worries of farmers and fruit growers alike is the fact that local weather forecasts do not hold good news for them in the near future as well.
Adv Sharma for fast pacing of environmental conservation projects
Srinagar, Jun 17: The Advisor to Governor K K Sharma today directed the officers to ensure that the ecological concerns in consonance with the local landscape and environment are taken into consideration while undertaking the conservation of the environment, water bodies and maintained that they should be fast-paced.
The Advisor was reviewing the progress of work on the Abatement of Pollution in Banganga & Tawi Rivers Project.
The meeting was attended by Principal Secretary, H&UDD Dheeraj Gupta, Director Planning, H&UDD Ishfaq Packhiwal , Chief Engineer UEED, Satinder Rana and other senior officers.
While referring to the importance of the project, the Advisor said the Project has pivotal importance with regard to the conservation of the rivers Ban Ganga and Tawi. He added it, therefore, becomes important that the project is undertaken in a systematic and scientific manner while keeping in view the local ecology and also the heritage and cultural value associated with these historic rivers.
The project should be implemented in consonance with the local ecological and environmental concerns, the Advisor said.
Sharma also directed the concerned to involve other stakeholder departments like Forest, Soil Conservation, and Irrigation & Flood Control in the implementation of the programme. He said that the executing agency should also undertake convergence of other schemes in order to make the project viable and holistic.
The 98.70 crore project meant to check the pollution abatement of River Ban Ganga and Tawi at Katra Town would be providing a total Sewerage network (RCC Pipe) to about 57.19 Km, having about 3619 Manhole (RCC & Brick) covers, providing 4045 house connecting chambers, 2023 property chambers and having 07 no.s of Intermediate Pumping Stations (IPS).
Besides, it would have a non-sewerage component involving the development of Bathing Ghats, Shamshan Ghats, Green Areas and Mini Parks at different locations en-route the main flowing the pattern of the River Ban Ganga and it is tributaries finally culminating in Tawi River.
Meanwhile, several deputations also called on the Advisor and apprised him with the problems and grievances in their respective areas.
A deputation of Bhardewah led by Ravinder Kotwal called on the Advisor and projected several issues related to PDD, R&B, PHE and Urban Local Bodies. The Advisor assured that their genuine demandswould be addressed at an earliest.
Former minister and MLA Vikar Rasool Wani also called on the Advisor and apprised him with various issues regarding his constituency.
The issues projected to take up the much-needed road projects of Banihal constituency, funds for Heewagan Bohardar up-to Chamalwas as bypass road under CRF, for compensation of Bankoot Gujjarnar and Chapnari Gudar road, for Kharpora Rattanbas road, Buzla road, Shiekhpora Nagam road, Digdol radoog road.
He also strongly raised the concerns over the delay in completion of Ramban Banihal NHW, besides Banihal bypass stretch.
Vikar Rasool Wani urged upon the advisor to expedite the construction work of all ongoing projects, besides he also demanded for immediate releasing of the funds under languishing for completion of incomplete roads and bridges of Banihal constituency.
The Advisor assured the MLA that all his genuine demands would be addressed at an earliest and will personally try to meet out the issues highlighted by the deputation of Banihal headed by Vikar Rasool Wani.
Later, former legislators Ashraf Mir and Noor Mohammed Sheikh also called on the Advisor and apprised him with the problems faced by the people in their respective areas.
Among the issues projected included drainage project at Panthachowk, inclusion of Panthachowk area in Smart City project, delay in Vyethpora bridge at Pandrethan bridge, augmentation of Tangnar Water scheme and other issues of the Srinagar City.
A deputation of Municipal Counsellors also called on the Advisor and briefed him with various issues including the need for providing them with the security, earmark funds for them to carry out the developmental works in their municipal areas.
The Advisor assured them that their genuine demands would be looked into.
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