Srinagar: As non-local labourers have left Kashmir, the developmental works have been halted in the valley for the last one month.
On August 2, the government issued an advisory asking tourists and Amarnath yatris to leave the valley citing militant threats. Three days after, the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre abrogated Article 370, 35A, and bifurcated the state on August 5. Since then, the valley has been under clampdown.
At the same time, the non-local labourers who have been working on several developmental projects or running their own shops have left the valley.
These days rarely any non-local labourer could be found across the Valley.
An official of Roads and Buildings Department said at least 80 per cent of semi-skilled and skilled workforces in Kashmir are non-locals mostly from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and few other states.
“The works have been stopped on developmental projects. Construction works will be restarted only when skilled labourers are available here,” the official said.
As per rough estimates, almost five lakh labourers from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, West Bengal come to Kashmir every year to make their bread and butter. Developmental works in Kashmir are largely dependent on these skilled labourers.
“We want outside skilled labourers to return back but they seem reluctant to come here. The work on major construction projects is not possible unless these people return to the Valley,” he said.
He said most of the works of PMGSY, Economic Reconstruction Agency, Roads and Buildings Department, cement factories, brick kilns, are largely dependent on non-local skilled labourers. “We can’t do anything as outside labourers are reluctant to work on developmental projects under the present circumstances,” he added.
In Kashmir, over Rs 2000 crore worth projects started in the last two years are at different executions.
The government had set the target to complete almost 1800 languishing projects by end of this year.
Satish Kumar, a resident of Bihar has been working in Kashmir for the last several years. While boarding a bus along with a group of labourers for Jammu at Tourist Reception Centre Srinagar, he said, “It is not possible to work under present circumstances. Our families are worried as we have no communications with them.”
The Kashmir has a limited working season from April to September and the region’s developmental activities are worst affected when there is some disturbance in the Valley. The non-completion of developmental works would result in affecting the economy here.
Principal Secretary, Planning and Development, Rohit Kansal, who is also JK Government Spokesperson hopes that non-local labourers would return to the Valley. “Our developmental works are largely depended upon skilled non-local labourers. The situation is limping back to the normalcy and works on developmental projects will be restarted,” Kansal said.
Milad-un-Nabi (PBUH):Hazratbal sealed, normal life disrupted
Srinagar, Nov 10: Authorities on Sunday sealed all roads leading to the Hazratbal Shrine here as a precautionary measure to maintain ‘law and order’ in view of the Supreme Court ruling in the Ayodhya case and Eid-Milad-un-Nabi, officials said.
Authorities had on Saturday imposed restrictions under Section 144 CrPc in the entire Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir ahead of the court’s verdict.
The authorities also disallowed major Eid-Milad-un-Nabi processions celebrating the birthday of Prophet Mohammad on Sunday and no such gathering was allowed at the Hazratbal Shrine which houses the holy relic of the Prophet, they said.
Before this, all major religious functions were disallowed in Kashmir including the traditional Khoje-Digar prayers at the shrine of Hazrat Naqshband Sahib at Khojebazar area of Srinagar’s old city.
The Friday congregational prayers have also been disallowed at the historic Jama Masjid here since the Centre announced its decision to abrogate Article 370 and to bifurcate the erstwhile state into two Union territories.
Normal life remained affected across the valley for the 98th day on Sunday as public transport was off the roads markets opened only for few hours till noon, the officials said.
“Miscreants are using fear mongering to put down any resistance to the unannounced shutdown, which has now entered its fourth month,” they said.
“There have been consistent efforts to enforce shutdown in areas where shops are open or roadside vendors are plying their trade,” they added.
The officials said two grenade attacks in the city’s busy Goni Khan market and Kaka Sarai areas recently were an indication that there were concerted efforts to keep the shutdown going.
However, they said, shops and other business establishments opened early in the morning in most areas including in the commercial hub of Lal Chowk, but downed their shutters around the noon.
The weekly flea market, locally known as ‘Sunday Market’ was open as several dozens of vendors set up their stalls on the TRC Chowk-Lal Chowk road.
The officials said while most modes of public transport were off the roads, few auto-rickshaws and inter-district cabs were plying in some parts of the valley.
Pre-paid mobile phones and all Internet services continued to remain suspended since 5 August.
Most of the top level and second rung separatist politicians have been taken into preventive custody while mainstream leaders including two former chief ministers — Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti — have been either detained or placed under house arrest. The government has detained former chief minister and sitting Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar Farooq Abdullah under the controversial Public Safety act.
Computerised Registration of documents :System to be rolled out by Nov 30
Jammu, Nov 10: Chief Secretary, B. V. R. Subrahmanyam chaired a High Level Meeting at Civil Secretariat, Jammu to finalize the steps for rolling out the Computerised Registration System across the UT of J&K. The ultimate objective of the Computerised Registration System would be to provide efficient, speedy and hassle free services to the people.
Financial Commissioner Finance, AK Mehta; Principal Secretary Information Technology, Bipul Pathak; Financial Commissioner Revenue / Inspector General Registration, Dr. Pawan Kotwal and Secretary Revenue participated in the meeting.
Requirements for rolling out the Computerised Registration System across the UT of J&K were discussed in adequate details. FC Revenue projected the requirement of funds for implementation of the project. It was decided that a four Member Committee will be constituted for rolling out a fully Computerised Registration System across the UT of J&K. The Committee will oversee the roll out of the system and guide individual stake holders/implementers for smooth implementation of the project. Based on the recommendations of the Committee, the Computerised Registration System will be rolled out fully by 30.11.2019.
While, the Hardware and Software components of the project will be procured by IT Department, other components of the Project will be procured by FC Revenue /I.G Registration after following the due procedure. The Finance Department will release the required funds to the FC Revenue/I.G Registration for meeting the costs on the establishment and Computerisation of Registration System.
Pertinent to mention that following the constitutional changes, the Government of J&K has created a separate and independent department of Registration for registration of various types of deeds/documents under the Registration Act 1908, along with creation of necessary staff. The Central Act is applicable to the UT of J&K from 31.10.2019. The Government has also appointed Officers as Registrars and Sub-Registrars for purposes of implementation of the provisions of the Act. The jurisdiction of the Registrars and Sub-Registrars has also been defined.
Phone, internet shutdown in J&K ‘illegal and unconstitutional’, SC told
NEW DELHI: Notifications and orders shutting down mobile, landline and internet services in Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of provisions of Article 370 were “illegal and unconstitutional”, the Supreme Court was told Tuesday.
A bench headed by Justice N V Ramana was told that even after 90 days, communication services — data, internet, pre-paid mobiles and SMS — were not operational in the Kashmir Valley, affecting the working of the media.
Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for Executive Editor of Kashmir Times Anuradha Bhasin who has challenged the restrictions imposed in the Valley, said the state has the power to put reasonable restrictions on the rights conferred under Article 19 (protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech) but it cannot extinguish the right itself.
“There is absolute communicationsNSE 0.22 % shutdown from August 4. It requires to be tested by this court. Yes, there can be reasonable restrictions on rights under Article 19 but the same cannot extinguish the right itself,” she told the bench, also comprising Justices R Subhash Reddy and B R Gavai.
Grover argued that orders issued by the authorities were with regard to reduction of speed of 3G and 4G data but the internet service was totally shut down.
“This order is illegal and unconstitutional,” she said while referring to one of the orders issued by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) of Kashmir zone.
“There is complete non-application of mind while issuing these orders. These are bald orders,” she said.
She argued that the Jammu and Kashmir administration has said in its affidavit that for national security and to prevent loss of life, certain measures were taken.
Grover said authorities have claimed that internet services could be misused by “anti national elements” but their own data shows that incident of terrorist violence has gone down.
“Is their any proximate nexus between internet and terrorist violence?,” she said, adding that, “90 days are over now. The word ‘temporary’ will lose its meaning if the restrictions still continue”.
Referring to the provisions of the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017 and Indian Telegraph Act, she said that restrictions could be imposed only for temporary period and it cannot be enforced for longer time.
She said the media has got protection under the Constitution and freedom of press can be curbed only through a reasoned and specific order.
“So, according to you, general order of prohibition does not apply in your case unless special orders with reasons are passed?,” the bench asked.
Responding to the query, the lawyer while referring to the rules said, “Yes. There has to be order with specific reasons with regard to press”.
Grover also said that if the authorities had apprehension about misuse of internet services, then why the landline phone services were shut down.
“But wi-fi uses landline. At our residence, we use landline for wi-fi,” the bench asked
To this, the counsel said landline phones do not require data services at all.
“Even today, people in Kashmir cannot use data on their mobile phones,” she said during the arguments which would continue on Wednesday.
The top court had on October 24 asked the Jammu and Kashmir administration as to how long they intend to continue the restrictions, including internet blockade, imposed in the valley.
It had said authorities may impose restrictions for national interest but they have to be reviewed from time to time.
Bhasin had earlier told the bench that the Centre and J&K administration had suppressed from the top court the orders and notifications on the basis of which physical and communication restrictions were imposed in the valley.
However, the J&K administration had said those orders and notifications would be placed before the top court but those cannot be shared with the petitioners.