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At Live Wire: Lack of training, safety gear bringing more deaths to PDD employees

Bisma Bhat





Srinagar, Sep 22: Lack of training and reluctance to use the safety gear is bringing more deaths to the Power Development Department (PDD employees by electrocution in Kashmir Valley.
Official reports reveal that since 2014, more than 70 PDD employees and contractual labourers died on-duty due to electric shocks.
More than 25 people have become disabled and while 30 others have sustained severe burn due to electric shocks in the same period.
In the last two weeks, two deaths have been reported in Anantnag district alone.
On September 2, two employees of PDD where repairing a snapped conductor in the morning when it came into contact with a live, overlying feeder due to which one person died on spot and other received burn injuries.
In yet another incident on September 14, a 29-year-old man in Anantnag district was installing an electric transformer when he got electrocuted, and the person assisting him received burns.
An official in the PDD, who wished to be anonymous, said the main reason of the accidents was the department’s recruitment policy.
“The department is hiring men on contract based for installing poles and LT (Low Tension) and HT (High Tension) lines. They do not have proper training of the field due to which the incidents occur,” he said.
Earlier, he said, the department used to give proper training to the men responsible for field work.
The other reason was the unavailability of safety tools for the men working on poles, he said.
The department provides compensation to the families of electrocuted and injured workers from the welfare fund but that is not enough for them, he said.
The workers who suffer serious injuries at work may be unable to bear the medical expenditure, even as many have become permanently disabled.
The president of the PDD employees association, Zahoor Ahmad, said, “A daily wager from Eidgah area lost both his arms due to electric shock. He has to live with a lifelong disability.”
“The LT poles that are installed by the department should have only LT network, but unfortunately one pole have two to three feeders installed that is life threatening.”
He also claimed that department does not provide sophisticated equipment to the workers.
“No worker will risk his life and go without wearing safety equipment, if is available,” he said.
Chief Engineer PDD, Qazi Hashmat, said, “Sub-divisions are well equipped with safety gear like helmets, gloves, and boots, but having them in our division is not enough. We have to build among our employees the culture of actually using them.”
“People get very casual and take chances, and the accidents happen.”
He said they have made people well aware of fatal deaths due to electric shocks. Moreover they have shown them how people die due to electrocution so that they would get to know about it.
“We are working very hard to bring the culture of wearing proper safety measures. We are also trying to train our employees.”



After Noori, Kashmir scientists planning to clone Hangul

Firdous Hassan



Srinagar, Apr 25: After successfully cloning Pashmina goat in 2012, the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry at SKUAST-K is now contemplating to make clone of Kashmir Stag (Hangul).

Realising that the Hangul was gradually getting extinct from the valley, the scientists at Department of Biotechnology SKUAST-K Shuhama came up with this idea.

“This project is in infancy as we require permission from Wild Life department, local government and Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA),” said Dr Riyaz Ahmad Shah, a veterinarian in the animal biotechnology center of SKUAST.


Shah said the execution of the project would require heavy funding and creation of the advanced infrastructure in the research centre.

“First of all a Deer park in needed where there these animals must have been already reared. Then advanced infrastructure is need as we currently have some basic machinery here. So overall this project can be only executed when the government is serious in accomplishing it,” he said.

He said the cloning could be achieved by using the body cells of some other inter-species including a goat or a sheep.

While the initial work including the framing of paper has been done, Shah said the tracing and catching this rare animal was becoming equally challenging for the concerned department.

“They usually die on being caught by the people. Still it could be managed but they are not being currently traced in abundance in the forests here,” he said.

 Shah believed that cloning of the deer can be an equally effective process like breeding procedure done to improve their population.

Official data reveals that population of Hangul has reduced to from 5,000 to 182 in last 118 years.

Department of Wildlife’s data shows the population of Kashmiri Hangul in 1900 was 5,000, spread over 65 miles from north to east of the Jhelum and lower Chenab valley.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is also all set to declare it a ‘critically endangered’ species to protect this beautiful animal from disappearing from earth.

In 2012, scientists at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) successfully cloned the first Pashmina goat. The healthy female goat was born using a foster mother and it took two years for standardisation of the technique.

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Assembly polls in JK: EC to convene meeting today




New Delhi, Apr 25: Election Commission of India (ECI) officials will meet on Friday to discuss assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

Officials of the Jammu and Kashmir government are also expected to attend the meeting to assess whether the state assembly elections can be conducted in June this year.

While announcing the seven-phase Lok Sabha election schedule on March 10, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora had said that elections for the Jammu and Kashmir assembly would not be conducted along with the Lok Sabha elections. In June 2018, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had withdrawn support to the PDP, led by Mehbooba Mufti in the 87-member state assembly.


Since the fallout of the coalition government, the state has been under President’s rule.

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IT Dept searches premises of kin of ex-minister

Press Trust of India



Srinagar, Apr 25: The Income Tax Department Thursday carried out searches at two premises of a kin of Imran Reza Ansari, a former minister in the PDP-BJP coalition, for alleged tax evasion, officials said here.

They said the income tax officials, assisted by the Jammu and Kashmir police and the CRPF, carried out the searches at a business complex in the upmarket Karan Nagar where locations of North Point Complex were searched by the tax personnel.

Later, a team was sent to search another premises of the family at Alamgiri Bazar in the downtown Srinagar.


The income tax officials maintained that Thursday’s raids were carried out on a business family and were in no way connected to Ansari, a politician who switched over to People’s Conference led by Sajad Lone.

Ansari’s sister is married to the family whose premises have been raided.

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