Chikballapur (Karnataka), Apr 13: Claiming that the BJP has a tactical understanding with Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily demanded to know the basis of Imran Khan’s support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the ongoing elections.
The former Union Minister also charged Modi with adopting a “Hitler-kind of attitude”, stoking an “atmosphere of hatred in the country and thereby destroying all institutions”.
If the Congress comes to power, Moily said it will initiate probes into the functioning of the BJP government during the past five years in which the “nation was misled and kept in the dark” over several important issues like Rafale deal.
“Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has openly supported Narendra Modi as a pre-condition for talks on bilateral resolution of the Kashmir dispute which clearly shows that there is a tactical understanding between the BJP and the Pakistan Prime Minister,” the Congress leader told .
Khan’s support and also the suggestion that Modi would bring in better ties between the two nations indicate a secret understanding, perhaps compromising the interest of India on Kashmir, he said.
Observing that a war-kind of situation always prevailed during the BJP regime, Moily said, “Everytime the BJP comes to power, there is an escalation of hostility between India and Pakistan, it may be Kargil or attack on Indian Parliament under the Vajpayee government or Balakot and Pulwama under the current regime.”
Ridiculing Modi for his 56-inch chest claim, the former Karnataka chief minister said, “Where is the need to demonstrate even if he has one? Politics of love is totally alien to him which has vitiated the political atmosphere in the country.”
As a result of the 56-inch chest narrative, Pakistan has for the first time openly admitted that it has an atom bomb, he added.
Asserting that the Congress will probe functioning of the Modi government if it comes to power, Moily said, “We will investigate all actions taken during the current BJP’s tenure, that include demonetisation, the Balakot attack and sacking of intelligence chief and ferrying of CRPF personnel in a bus despite intelligence input to the contrary.”
On Congress’s prospects in the current Lok Sabha polls in Karnataka, Moily said the party will win at least 21 seats out of 28 in alliance with the JD(S).
“The Congress and the JD(S) will win at least 21 seats. It could be possible to repeat 1971 when all 27 seats were won by the Congress. This is mainly because the Modi wave is fast waning and he is assuming a Hitler-kind of personality which will be devastating for the country in case he is put in any position of authority,” he said.
Both the Congress and the JD(S) are working as a team forgetting differences with a sole aim to defeat the BJP, which has terribly failed to implement its 2014 election promises and created an atmosphere of “fear” among people, he said.
The Congress and the JD(S) are in alliance contesting in 21 seats and 7 seats respectively in the current Lok Sabha elections.
Moily, however, refused make any assessment on the number of seats that the BJP or the Congress would win at the national level saying it will definitely be a Congress-led government in which regional parties may have a say based on pre and post-poll alliances.
Expressing concern over the possibility of EVMs being rigged in this election, the former union minister said the Supreme Court judgement on VVPATs is “too little to check manipulation” as monitoring five machines in a constituency is too less.
He accused the BJP of introducing “politics of hatred” and said, “This must end and pave way for politics of love. This can only be started by Rahul Gandhi.”
Modi, he said, has all qualities like “false ego and anger”, which is not desirable from a national leader.
He further said that the BJP talks of corruption but is least interested in checking it.
“It was during my tenure as Union Law Minister that the Congress brought in a Lokpal bill but it has taken five years for the BJP to implement it and that too under pressure of the impending elections,” he said.
“Rahul Gandhi has been consistently fighting on the issue of corruption by bringing the issue of Rafale deal. Now even the apex court sees something amiss and agreed to the probe,” he said.
Will electric buses mark a turnaround in SRTC?
Srinagar, Jul 21: Newly inducted Electric Buses have rekindled a fresh hope for turnaround in the otherwise loss making State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC).
A source in the SRTC said the PSU has suffered a loss of more than Rs 160 crore in the last 10 years. Official figures reveal that against the expenditure of Rs 120 crore, SRTC has earned Rs 95.55 crore in 2018-2019.
Struggling to pay salaries, the government has sold SRTC’s land at several places to run day to day affairs of the PSU.
Manzoor Ahmad, President, SRTC Drivers Association, said they are without salaries for the last two months. “Our salaries are often delayed,” he said.
Ahmad however hoped that newly launched electric buses would give a new lease of life to the loss making PSU.
“We have been imparted training about how to ply electric buses. We hope these buses will enable the Corporation to earn revenue,” he said.
Around 20 electric buses were flagged off by Governor Satya Pal Malik on Friday. Malik said electric bus service is a step towards providing eco-friendly public transportation with modern facilities to the commuters. He also emphasized on using e-buses to abate pollution levels.
Established in 1948 with a fleet of 50 buses, the SRTC was converted into PSU in 1976. The Corporation had 1603 vehicles in 1989, including 978 buses and 625 trucks. However, their numbers have reduced to 847 which included 528 buses and 319 trucks. Among these, 397 are overage vehicles.
Similarly, the number of employees has decreased from 6650 to 2147 since 1989.
Principal Secretary Transport Department Dr Asgar Hassan Samoon however said government was making efforts for revival of SRTC. “We have also procured 40 electric buses. Besides overage vehicles are also being replaced,” Samoon added.
Centre approves 381 Cr for new CUK campus
Srinagar, Jul 21: The government of India has approved financial assistance of Rs 381.68 crore to complete pending construction projects of the Central University of Kashmir.
As per the figures provided by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), the Centre has approved financial assistance of Rs 381.68 crore through Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) to construct the campus in Ganderbal district.
“The university has to approach HEFA board to get the funds released,” reads an official document.
Earlier in 2018, the University had to forfeit Rs 800 crores after it could not utilize the funds because the land earmarked for the campus was not found suitable for construction in the Ganderbal district. The funds were later diverted to other universities.
For the last 10 years, the varsity has been operating from rented accommodation at different places in Srinagar.
However, after facing pressure from the higher authorities, the university shifted most of its department to the Ganderbal district.
“Two campuses of CUK are functioning from two separate locations in Behama. In Nunar area, the old DIET building is being used as an administrative block for the University,” an official of the CUK said.
Officials said the varsity had invited a team from outside the state for soil testing. “We are going for G+1 cluster type of constructions which stands approved by the competent body,” the official said.
Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, Registrar CUK, Professor Fayaz Ahmad Nika, said: “We have to recast the master plan and frame architectural design. There were certain difficulties with the land. Once it is resolved, we will then approach the HEFA.”
“We don’t have any deadline. Developing Campus is not a short term activity. We are focusing on constructing and developing the campus at Tulmulla in Ganderbal. The construction work is going on at Tulmulla,” said Nika.
To ‘curb militancy’; VDCs to be revamped in Kishtwar
Jammu, Jul 21: Nearly 500 elderly Village Defence Committee (VDC) members and Special Police Officers (SPO) in Kishtwar district of J&K will be replaced soon, a senior police officer said on Sunday.
The step is part of a strategy to counter militancy activities in the hilly district which was rattled by the killing of BJP state secretary Anil Parihar and his brother Ajeet Parihar on November 1 last year, followed by the assassination of senior RSS leader Chanderkant Sharma and his security guard inside a health centre on April 9.
The decision was taken despite reservations expressed by former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti over arming of civilians in Chenab valley.
“Keeping in view the present security scenario in Kishtwar town and the overstaying of SPOs in the district (Kishtwar), an overhauling is being done. A process to replace 352 VDC members and 117 VDC SPOs who are above the age of 60 years has been set into motion,” the officer said.
The SPOs, who have overstayed at a particular place, have also been replaced. Besides this, 9 VDC SPOs have been disengaged from the VDC rolls for noncompliance of orders, the officer said.
In response to the recently held SPOs recruitment, he said a list of around 85 meritorious candidates was sent to police headquarters for final approval.
The VDCs were setup in the mid-1990s with an aim to strengthen the security of Hindus living in remote and mountainous areas of Doda, Kishtwar, Ramba, Rajouri, Reasi, Kathua and Poonch districts of the region.
The members of these committees not only guard the identified villages along the border, but also the infrastructural installations in and around them.
But eventually there were several cases of the VDCs misusing their powers and engaging in human rights violations.
Kishtwar along with several other districts of Jammu province were declared militancy-free over a decade ago but after the recent killings, the authorities have taken various steps to counter attempts by militants to gain a foothold in the Chenab valley. Inspector General of Police, Jammu, M K Sinha recently said at least 10 local militants – eight belonging to Hizbul Mujahideen and two affiliated to Lashker-e-Toiba – were active in the district.
Describing the reported plans of the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration to arm civilians in the sensitive Chenab valley as “alarming”, Mufti, who is also Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president, had warned that the move would have “dangerous consequences”.
She said similar experiments of arming civilians under the anti-militancy grid in the 1990s had led to complete chaos and the wounds inflicted upon the general masses were still fresh.
“Reports about the administration trying to arm civilians under the garb of creating VDC in Chenab valley are disturbing and alarming especially at the time when the government has to be inclusive to avoid further alienation of youth across the state,” Mufti had said in a statement on Saturday.
On Friday, police registered a case against former PDP MLC Firdous Tak and some other party leaders after they staged a demonstration against the state administration for strengthening VDCs in the district.
Mufti dubbed the FIR “false and frivolous” and demanded its immediate rollback.
“The party leaders have represented the sentiments and aspirations of the people but it seems that the local administration are working under pressure from a particular political organisation. The registration of the case only speaks about the sorry state of affairs in Chenab valley,” she said.
On July 17, a three-member delegation of senior BJP leaders led by former deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh met Governor Satya Pal Malik at Raj Bhavan in Srinagar and demanded the strengthening of the security apparatus including VDCs and provision of mobile bunkers in Chenab valley region.
They expressed concern regarding growing threats to the safety and security of people, illegal encroachments on forest land, and incidents of bovine smuggling in the region.
The Governor had assured the delegation due consideration of its demands.