Jammu, Jan 01: The budget session of the Jammu and Kashmir legislature is likely to begin on a stormy note today with opposition parties planning to protest the recent government order barring its employees from airing political views on social media and take up other issues.
The rival parties are also expected to oppose forcefully the government’s move to allow indirect election of sarpanches by panches instead of a direct election.
The session would begin with Governor NN Vohra s address to a joint sitting of the legislature and end on February 10.
The Budget for the financial year 2018-19 would be presented by Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu on January 11.
This will be his fourth budget on the trot.
The Congress, National Conference and CPI(M) have termed “eye-wash” the government’s decision to regularize 60,000 casual and daily wagers in various departments. The issue is likely to be raised in the House.
The opposition may also denounce the Mehbooba Mufti government over the ongoing strike by contractual employees, including of the National Health Mission, who are demanding regularization of their services.
Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee president G A Mir had earlier said the government order to its employees not to use social media for airing political views would be the biggest issue during the session.
“The order shows how scared the government is. It is a totally undemocratic decision and if not withdrawn, it will be the biggest issue during the budget session,” Mir had said.
In December last year, the government barred its employees from using social media for any political activity by amending the conduct rules governing them.
The state government added a sub-rule to the Jammu and Kashmir Government Employees Conduct rules which states that no government employee shall engage in any criminal, dishonest, immoral or notoriously disgraceful conduct on social media which may be prejudicial to the government.
The state Congress chief said the party legislators would question the government on its failure to implement its Agenda of Alliance, development inertia, tussle over political issues between the coalition partners and back door appointments.
BJP state president Sat Sharma, however, said the opposition parties were bereft of issues as the state government had done well to mitigate the problems of the people and had taken the state to new heights of development.
“The way development is going on in the state over the past three years, the opposition is left with no issues. It is merely a statement that we will corner the ruling party to raise public issues. They have no issues to rake up,” he said.
Meanwhile, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, M K Bhandari said: “Security and all other arrangements are in place to ensure a smooth budget session.”
He said there would be no problem as extensive drills and discussions have taken place over the past weeks especially related to security, traffic arrangements and other measures in connection with the session.
All party meeting: NC, PDP, Cong say no to Panchayat polls till leaders are released
Srinagar, Feb 18: Efforts to convince political parties to participate in the Panchayat polls suffered a major setback on Tuesday when Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Conference (NC) and Congress reiterated their decision to stay away from the election citing prolonged detention of its leaders.
Chief Election Officer (CEO) Shailendra Kumar held an all party meeting on Tuesday to discuss the upcoming election for vacant Panchayat seats in the Union Territory.
However, the representatives of National Conference, Congress and PDP told the CEO to release the mainstream leaders in order to their participation in the election.
PDP’s Surinder Chaudhary, who was flanked by Narinder Singh Raina, walked out of the meeting claiming that they are not allowed to conduct political activities freely in J&K.
“I walked out of the meeting, when we realized that Chief Election Officer was bereft of any agenda. I clearly told him that the meeting was called very late as two phases of Panchayat elections were already over. We demanded release of our president,” he said.
Chaudhary said they told the CEO that democracy is nowhere seen on the ground in Jammu and Kashmir. “Our leaders are detained under Public Safety Act. Only BJP is being allowed to carry out activities while security and vehicles of rest of the political leaders have been withdrawn,” he said.
National conference leader Ratan Lal Gupta said the party is of the view that the situation is not conducive for holding elections. “The meeting should have been called much earlier to know the view of political parties about holding the polls,” Gupta said.
Congress vice-president Ghulam Nabi Monga, who was accompanied by Party Chief Spokesperson Ravinder Sharma, said they raised issues of freeing detained leaders and allowing parties to conduct political activities.
“We asked CEO to ensure releasing detained leaders, their free movement and lifting of restrictions on political leaders, if they want us to participate. Otherwise the government should defer or postpone elections,” Monga said.
Launch pads across LoC full: Lt Gen Dhillon
Srinagar, Feb 18: Militant launch pads in Pakistan-administered-Kashmir “are full”, but the Pakistan army’s attempts to infiltrate militants under the cover of ceasefire violations are being responded to in a “hard and punishing” manner, a senior army commander said here.
Lieutenant General Kanwal Jeet Singh Dhillon, who has been heading the strategic command of the Kashmir-based XV corps, is confident that Pakistan would not succeed in its attempts to “push militants in the Valley and disturb the prevailing peace”.
He said peace in the Kashmir Valley has been “cemented by security forces in coordination with various stakeholders including opinion-makers and mentors of the civil society”.
Lt Gen Dhillon, who will soon leave for a posting in the army headquarters in Delhi, joined the strategic command in February last year.
His tenure began on a challenging note as within a week of him taking over, India witnessed a gruesome attack on its security forces in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed when a suicide bomber targeted their convoy in Pulwama on February 14.
Not yet settled properly in his new role, Lt Gen Dhillon of the Rajputana Rifles, began coordinating operations against the perpetrators of the attack as also monitoring developments along the Line of Control where situation was getting tense by the day.
In a written reply to a question by PTI, Lt Gen Dhillon talked about the history of Pakistan’s “proxy war” and said the neighbouring country has been consistently aiding and abetting infiltration in India for more than 30 years now.
“All the terrorist camps and launch pads in Pakistan-administered Kashmir are full. These militant cadres are desperate to infiltrate with the help of Pakistan army, who indulge in firing at our posts.
“Our befitting response to ceasefire violations has been swift, hard and punishing,” Lt Gen Dhillon told PTI.
He said the Army’s main task is to keep terrorism at bay, both at the LoC and in the hinterland in “conjunction with Jammu and Kashmir police, paramilitary forces and intelligence agencies.”
While maintaining an effective domination along the LoC, he said, conducting effective anti-terror operations “in a people-friendly manner” in the inner areas has improved the situation in the Valley.
He said local business, tourism and education sectors are likely to benefit immensely from the “operational successes, the improving security situation and various government initiatives”.
On the number of militants operating in the Valley, Lt Gen Dhillon said, “We work on concepts and not numbers. And the concept is the constant attempts by Pakistan to infiltrate militants and war-like stores, to commit sensational militant activities.”
Mahashivratri celebrations: Provide essential commodities to Pandits: Div Com to DCs
Srinagar, Feb 18: For smooth celebration of Mahashivratri festival across the Kashmir Division, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan Tuesday directed Deputy Commissioners (DCs) to provide essential commodities to Pandit Community areas on priority.
He further directed them to establish Fisheries, Lotus stems (Nadru), Vegetables, Walnut and floriculture stalls in Pandit colonies and at temples. For hassle free distribution of food items, senior officers were asked to deployed functionaries every minority area for monitoring.
Concerned departments were asked to launch an intense market checking on daily basis to curb black marketing of essential commodities during the festival and to ensure availability of essential commodities like Mutton, Chicken, Vegetables, fruits, Bakery and confectionery in the markets as per the notified rates and quality standards.
The Divisional Commissioner was reviewing the arrangements put in place by the district administrations for the smooth celebration of Mahashivratri festival across the valley.
He sought feedback from Deputy Commissioners regarding preparations for the smooth celebration of the festival.
It was informed that major congregation will be held at Shankaracharya temple in the city where devotees perform day long special prayers. Temples in other districts will also hold similar kind of gatherings.
The Divisional Commissioner directed Fisheries department to deploy mobile fish vans at various places in the city. Besides, local fishermen will install their vending shops at Habba Kadal and Ganpatyar localities.
Power Department was directed to ensure uninterrupted power supply on the eve of Mahashivratri festival at all temples where huge congregations are expected. Public Health Engineering will make adequate measures for providing the round the clock water supply in Pandit areas and temples with the deployment of water tankers at the locations.
The Food Department will distribute ration including Rice, Atta, Sugar, K-oil and LPG cylinders in Pandit areas as per notified rates.
SMC will deploy dedicated man power to start cleanliness drive in Pandit areas, temples and the main congregation places besides Urban Local Bodies and Block Development Councils will take care of sanitation in their jurisdictions.
RTO, Kashmir in consultation with the SSP Traffic City, Rural Kashmir and RTC will make necessary arrangements for inter and intra district transportation services on the routes leading to the temples for convivences of the devotees.
The Div Com directed Fire and Emergency services to ensure availability of fire tenders at all temples and Pandit community areas.
On the festival occasion, Health services will set up medical aid camps at all important locations and will ensure round the clock functioning of all Public Health Centres.
He directed DCs to deploy Magistrates at all the important locations with necessary arrangements for the upcoming festival. Concerned departments were asked to work in close coordination for the smooth celebration of Mahashivratri festival.
Additional Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Khurshid Ahmad Shah, Director FCS&CA, Chief Engineer KPDCL, RTO Kashmir, SSP Taffic (Rural), Joint Director Fisheries, Joint Commissioner SMC, Deputy Directors of Horticulture ( Planning & Marketing), Agriculture, Health Services & Fire, Emergency services and other concerned officials were present in the meeting where as nine Deputy Commissioners of the valley participated the meeting through video conferencing.
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