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Army chief reviews preparedness of forces in Kashmir

Monitor News Bureau

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Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Friday reviewed the operational preparedness of the forces along the Line of Control (LoC) in the valley on the first day of his two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir.

This is General Rawat’s first visit to the state where restriction are in place since August 5 after the revocation of provisions of Article 370.

Soon after his arrival, General Rawat visited forward areas along the LoC, an Army official said.

 

The official said the Army chief interacted with the commanders and troops on ground who briefed him about the operational preparedness of the troops, especially along the LoC.

The Army chief is likely to be briefed about the situation in the hinterland during his interaction with senior officials at Badamibagh headquarters of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps, the official said.


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Kashmir politicians detained will be freed in less than 18 months: Jitendra Singh

Agencies

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Union minister Jitendra Singh has said political leaders detained in Jammu and Kashmir after the Centre’s decision to revoke the state’s special status will be released in less than 18 months, The Indian Express reported.

At an event in Katra on Sunday, Singh said that he always said “less than 18 months” when asked about the release of political leaders detained in Kashmir. It is an apparent reference to the Emergency in 1975, when leaders of the Opposition were jailed.

The Bharatiya Janata Party leader confirmed to The Indian Express that leaders would be released in “less than 18 months”.

Prohibitory orders are still in place in certain parts of Jammu and Kashmir, which authorities maintained were a preventive measure since the Centre revoked special status for Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. Several mainstream political leaders in the state, such as former Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah, and Kashmiri bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal were taken into custody or put under house arrest after the clampdown last month. Jammu and Kashmir National Conference President Farooq Abdullah was booked on Sunday night under the “public order” section of the Public Safety Act, which allows one to be detained for six months without trial.

Jitendra Singh, who is minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office, is the first senior functionary in the government to speak about how long the leaders might remain under detention for.

He said the statehood will be restored to Jammu and Kashmir as the situation normalises.

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RTIs can be filed locally in J&K, Ladakh even after October 31: Jitendra Singh

Press Trust of India

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Union minister Jitendra Singh on Monday rejected rumours that people in Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh will have to travel to Delhi to file RTIs once the two union territories come into existence on October 31 and said they can still be filed locally.

Singh, who is also the minister of state incharge of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) — which is the nodal department for Central Information Commission (CIC) dealing with the Right to Information (RTI) appeals — met Central Information Commissioner Sudhir Bhargava.

Following a detailed discussion on the issue with Bhargava, Singh said that “certain vested elements which are uncomfortable with the abrogation of Article 370 and reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, continue to instigate different kinds of misgivings in the society, in a vain bid to disrupt the courageous initiative by the Modi government”.

The minister said that RTIs can be filed locally in the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh even after the new arrangement comes into existence after the October 31. He denounced the rumours that because Jammu and Kashmir will become a Union territory, the applicant will have to travel to Delhi to file an RTI.

Singh claimed that during the last five years, “the procedures to file an RTI appeal have been immensely simplified and definite timelines have been laid down”. This will apply equally to Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh after they become Union territories, he said.

Divulging details, Singh said that the first RTI application is made to the Public Information Officer (PIO) locally and in matters involving “life and liberty”, the time limit for the PIO to provide the information is 48 hours. “For the PIO to reply to the application, a timeline of 30 days has been laid down from the date of receipt of the application. “For applicant to make first appeal after the receipt of PIO’s reply, the first appellate authority in the form of the designated officer will also be available locally, whether it is the State or Union territory,” he said.

Only in case of second appeal, Singh said the application has to be submitted to the Information Commission and even if the Information Commissioner is not available locally, in case of Union territory, the second appeal can be sent to the CIC online within 90 days from the receipt of the first appeal orders or from the date the orders were to be received. “To make the procedure simpler, we made use of modern technology and in a major breakthrough, during the Modi government, provided the facility of making second appeal before the CIC through portal/WhatsApp, which, in other words, means that an RTI applicant does not have to wait for office hours and can file his appeal even from his mobile phone anytime, at his convenience,” the minister said.

After the reorganisation or Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, Singh said that the citizens’ participation will increase manifold and various provisions in public administration will become far more citizen-centric with the extension of uniformed central laws, as applicable in the rest of the country.

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Union Minister R K Singh to visit Kashmir to review development work in power sector

Agencies

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New Delhi: Union Power and New and Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh will visit Kashmir tomorrow to review different development projects in the power sector in Jammu and Kashmir.

After the abrogation of Article 370, this will be the first visit of R K Singh to Kashmir.

Singh in an exclusive interview to ANI said that NHPC will provide jobs to 150 local skilled people. Powergrid Corporation is going for campus selection from different technical institution in Valley. Powergrid Corporation also takes up school smart learning programme.

“From this year, people in Kashmir will not face a power crisis in the winter season. The ministry is working towards providing 24×7 power supply to the Valley.

Secretary of power and Jammu and Kashmir administration will call a meeting of all contractors and ensure that works under various central government scheme progresses fast and are completed within the given timeline.

The government of India is spending more than 300 crores to provide uninterrupted power supply during the winter season in Valley,” he told ANI.

He further said that the Power Finance Corporation and Rural Electrification corporation will spend 20 crores on skill development in Kashmir.

The minister also said that 100 MW rooftop solar plant in Ladakh region and Leh district will be lighting with green energy.

Singh has given instructions to officials that a comprehensive power plan should be prepared within a time frame so that entire J-K and Ladakh doesn’t suffer power shortage.

After the abrogation of Article 370 that accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir, 10 central government ministeries have made massive and speedy development plans for J-K and Ladakh. The power ministry is one of those 10 central ministries which has made mega development plan for entire region.

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