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Ahead of Lok Sabha polls: Forces begin night patrolling, area domination, identification of safe polling booths

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Srinagar, March 15: As the stage is set for the five-phased Lok Sabha polls in Jammu and Kashmir commencing from April 11, security agencies are rubbing their shoulders to frame a security plan to ensure smooth conduct of polls with area surveys, area domination, night patrolling and identification of polling booths being done on “speedy basis.”
More focus will remain on southern Kashmir where Election Commission of India has announced to hold polls in three phases, first time in the poll history of Jammu and Kashmir.
The reason or holding polls in three phases in one Lok Sabha constituency of South Kashmir’s Anantnag-Pulwama is the prevailing security situation in the area.
Reliable sources said that the police, Army, and the CRPF with the active support of intelligence inputs are mulling to frame a security plan for ensuring the smooth Lok Sabha polls.
“We are at it and exercises have been started on various fronts to frame a fool-proof security plan,” said a top police official. “We will ensure that all the polling booths are secured and guarded in a proper manner.”
Police said that it was also waiting for the political parties to finalise their candidates so that proper security cover is provided to them. “Though we expect politicians contesting upcoming Lok Sabha polls to hold rallies, we will be securing the areas in advance to that hassle free rallies are conducted in the places where the candidates wish to address people,” the officer said.
Top sources said that forces have started night patrolling, area domination, and identification of polling booths in advance to ensure a conducive atmosphere is created for the polls.
“There will be a proper security plan as far how many people would guard the polling booth and how many would remain deployed for the area domination,” sources told KNO.
Police sources said that a proper advisory wills soon be issued to political parties for holding poll rallies. “As far as South Kashmir, the political parties have to seek proper security clearance before addressing people,” said sources.
“South Kashmir continues to pose security challenges and that’s why ECI announced polls for South Kashmir LoK Sabha polls in three phases. The ECI decided to hold Lok Sabha polls in the trouble-ravaged state and to defer the assembly polls due for the State citing security situation and huge need of additional forces for securing the contesting candidates.
In J&K, there are six Lok Sabha constituencies and 87 Assembly seats. The number of contesting candidates for six Parliamentary polls is not more than 15 while for the Assembly polls the number of contesting candidates is expected to be between 400 to 500.
If a single contesting candidate is provided five to ten forces personnel, that means there is a need of 50,000 additional forces which is not possible at this juncture as majority of central forces are presently busy country-wide given the seven-phased Lok Sabha polls set to commence from March 11 across India
The additional 100 companies of forces have already reached Srinagar of which there are 3500 BSF men who will be deployed in summer capital after a gap of 14 years for “static guard” duties—guarding of important government buildings. (KNO)


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Kashmir

Govt taking several steps to double farmers income by 2022: Skandan

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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.

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‘Unusual’ rain in Kashmir worries farmers, fruit growers

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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.

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Adv Sharma for fast pacing of environmental conservation projects

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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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