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Centre ready to hold elections in JK: Rajnath

CEO meets Guv Malik

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Dec 28: The Government of India Friday said in the Lok Sabha that there was no other option left with the Governor but to recommend President’s Rule in Jammu and Kashmir as no party or alliance staked claim to form government and asserted that it was ready to hold assembly polls in the state.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh told the Lok Sabha that the government was prepared for elections in the state at any time.

He added that if the Election Commission would decide to hold polls, the Home Ministry would offer requisite security for the conduct of “free and fair” polls.

 

He said this as part of a discussion on a statutory motion on the proclamation issued by the President in December, 2018, under Article 356 of the Constitution in relation to Jammu and Kashmir.

The discussion took place after the statutory motion was passed rather than before it.

Rajnath defended the Governor saying there seemed to be no clear move on the part of any potential alliance to stake claim to form the government.

He said that in June then Governor N.N. Vohra had written to the President that the BJP had no intention to form the government after withdrawing support to the PDP.

He had also written that the Jammu and Kashmir Congress president and they told him the party did not have the requisite numbers to form the government on its own or with any other party.

“Governor’s rule was imposed but the Assembly was not dissolved so that another alliance could form the government. But no political party staked a claim and the Governor had to send his report for President’s rule,” Rajnath said, adding that while he had read newspaper reports of the PDP, NC and the Congress wishing to form a government, the Congress’ leader in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad had denied it.

National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, however, said that the PDP was willing to form a government and the NC, and even the Congress, had agreed to support them.

“This government’s intention should not be doubted,” the Home Minister said.

“If we wanted another government to be formed, we could have done so in six months. As for the Kashmir problem solution, it is an old problem. All Indians want a solution. The people of Kashmir are our own people. I have repeatedly said that I want a solution with the help of all. We also took all-party delegations. I said we have no problem talking to anyone who wants to talk.”

He added, “Some said they want to meet secessionist leaders. They went and had to return. I don’t want to discuss that here.”

“At one time, Kashmir situation was tense but we are trying our best to improve it and strengthen grass-roots democracy through local polls,” Rajnath claimed. “We are giving administrative and financial powers to those elected as local bodies’ representatives.”

Should put to rest motivated speculation: Omar

Srinagar, Dec 28: National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah Friday welcomed Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s statement in the Lok Sabha that the Centre was ready for assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir.

“An important assurance on the floor of the house in the Lok Sabha. This should put to rest the motivated speculation that elections in the state will happen only after the general elections,” Omar wrote on Twitter.

Replying to a discussion on the resolution on a presidential proclamation about imposition of President’s Rule in the state, the Union home minister said the government is ready for assembly polls but the decision has to be taken by the Election Commission.

“We are totally committed to democratic process,” Singh said.

CEO meets Guv Malik

Jammu, Dec 28: Shailendra Kumar, Chief Electoral Officer, Friday met Governor Satya Pal Malik at the Raj Bhavan here.

Governor, as per the Raj Bhavan spokesperson, emphasized the importance of generating awareness of electoral process and that how every vote matters, among public.

“Expressing satisfaction on the recent conduct of polls to Panchayatas and Urban Local Bodies, Governor hoped that people will participate with same enthusiasm in every electoral exercise,” the spokesperson said.

Kumar, he added, briefed the Governor about the various initiatives taken for educating voters to exercise their franchise by including them in Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) activities, Electoral Literacy Clubs (ELCs) which are being set up in educational institutions in the State in a bid to encourage youth to exercise their franchise and educating public about use of EVM-VVPAT (Voter verifiable paper audit trail) and progress achieved till date in Special Summary Revision of Electoral Rolls.

 

 


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Kashmir receives fresh snowfall, aerial traffic affected

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By Tabish Shafi

Srinagar, Jan 17: Kashmir on Wednesday received fresh snowfall affecting the aerial traffic and bringing life to halt.

The fresh snowfall in this morning across the Valley disrupted the normal life in Kashmir with surface traffic remaining suspended for a day while as the Srinagar-Jammu highway remained open despite the snowfall.

 

Authorities in Srinagar Airport said that the flights to and from Srinagar were suspended in view of the prevailing weather conditions as well as the poor visibility.

Officials said that flights will be operational once the weather conditions and visibility will improve.”Due to bad weather/ heavy snowfall, all flights have been cancelled”.

Meanwhile, the 300-km long Srinagar-Jammu highway was open for one-way traffic as there was little or no snowfall in south Kashmir parts on Wednesday.

“Road Status: #Srinagar-Jammu highway open, Traffic plying from Srinagar to #Jammu; Srinagar-Kargil road Closed; Anantnag-Kishtwar road Closed; Mughal Road closed; Bandipora-Gurez road closed; Kupwara-Karnah, Kupwara-Keran, Kupwara-Machail roads closed. @JmuKmrPolice,” Police tweeted.

Director of Meteorological department (MeT), Sonum Lotus said that the light rains as well as snowfall were predicted by the department earlier. “The reports of moderate snowfall were received from some places in Kashmir today,” he said.

He added that the weather would remain mostly cloudy in Kashmir from Jan 18-19, saying that from Jan 19 evening onwards; there is possibility of light rains and snowfall at isolate places.

Lotus further added that the MeT has predicted highly dynamic weather till Jan 23 in Kashmir. “From Jan 20-23, there is possibility of moderate rains and snowfall across the Valley,” he said, adding that the surface as well as the road traffic would also get affected due to the snow spell.

Meanwhile, the state administration claimed to have adequate measures to ensure basic facilities and road clearance during and in the aftermath of fresh snowfall.

The top officials held a series of meetings so far to finalize arrangements in this regard.

The respective district administrations have also asked the officials to gear up for the fresh snow spell as predicted by the Meteorological department

Meanwhile, the day temperatures across the Kashmir Valley nosedived amid fresh snowfall.

A meteorological department official told that Srinagar recorded a maximum of 1.0 degree Celsius, more than six degrees below normal for this time of the year. The capital city saw 5.4 mm of snow (when converted into rain) from 0830 to 1730 hours.

The famous hill resort of Pahalgam recorded a maximum of minus 1.6 degree Celsius and saw snowfall of 8.5mm.
Qazginund, the gateway town of Kashmir, saw a maximum of 2.2 degrees Celsius while Kokernag, also in south Kashmir, recorded a maximum of 1.1 degrees Celsius. Both these places saw zero or traces of snowfall.

The MeT official said the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir saw a maximum of minus 2.4 degrees Celsius and it had a snowfall of 15.2 mm during the day.

Kupwara town in north Kashmir registered a maximum of 0.8 degrees Celsius, the official said.

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JK showcases tourism potential at Asia’s largest travel show

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NEW DELHI, JANUARY 16: Launching its aggressive marketing campaign, the Department of Tourism, participated in the 3-day South Asian Travel and Tourism Exhibition (SATTE) travel show which began here on Wednesday.

SATTE is one of the biggest travel shows in Asia providing platform for travel agents, tour operators, hoteliers, destination management companies, tourism boards to sell their products and network to their potential clients from across the globe.

Besides, J&K Tourism Department, over hundred travel agents, hoteliers, other service providers and heads of the various travel and hotel associations from the Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions are participating in the travel show to showcase the State’s tourism potential.

 

Secretary Tourism, Rigzin Samphel, Director Tourism Kashmir Nisar Ahmad Wani and Director Tourism Jammu Om Prakash Bhagat along with other senior officers from the Department participated in the travel show.

They had an interaction with the leading travel agents from within and outside the country and apprised them about the State’s tourism products.

“SATTE is one of the largest tourism shows in Asia where we can promote our tourism destinations. The department will provide all the information about the JK’s destinations, products, services to the visitors to attract them to the state,” the Secretary Tourism said.

Over 20000 visitors, including domestic and international sellers and buyers, State tourism officials, heads of international tourism boards, hoteliers, and aviation experts showcased their products and services to the global trade community.

The travel show also provides an opportunity for the state tourism department to conduct business sessions with the visitors during the travel show.

On the first day, the Tourism Department of at its pavilion screened short films on different destinations for the visitors who were mesmerized to see the stunning beauty. It also showcased State’s splendid art, craft and sumptuous traditional food.

A large number of visitors turned up at J&K pavilion to inquire about the State’s tourism products, new destinations and infrastructure development.

The Department informed them about the pilgrim, MICE, heritage, art and craft, food, known and lesser-known destinations of all the three regions of the state.

The Department also distributed comprehensive publicity material in the form of brochures and pamphlets, pen drives containing travel videos of different destinations to the visitors at its pavilion.

During the convention, Secretary Tourism, Director Tourism Kashmir, Director Tourism Jammu along with heads of local travel and hospitality sector will also hold separate meet with media to apprise them about the Kashmir being the safe tourist destination.

The Director Tourism Kashmir said the department has planned series of road shows and shall also participate in travel marts in the next two months.

“We will be visiting major cities in the country for road shows. We have also planned road shows in countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Bangladesh where from we have got a good response from the travellers,” he said.

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All election formalities to be completed by Feb end: Sources

Kashmir News Service

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Srinagar, Jan 16 : All election formalities in Jammu and Kashmir are likely to be completed by February end after which the Election Commission of India will take a final call on the dates for the conduct of Lok Sabha and Assembly elections simultaneously.

Top sources while disclosing this to Kashmir News Service (KNS) revealed that the Jammu and Kashmir government has fast paced the process of completing election formalities for both Lok Sabha and Assembly elections by February end and the final electoral roles are likely to be published anytime after January 20.

As already reported the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer Shailendra Kumar held video conference on finalization of electoral roles and other election related arrangements with all the district election officers (DEOs) of all the three regions of the state Tuesday this week.

 

Sources said the authorities in the election commission will work on the suitability of the location of polling booths across Jammu and Kashmir after January 20 and the process is likely to be completed by February 15.

The Election Commission of India, sources said, is likely to take a final call on the dates for the conduct of Lok Sabha and Assembly elections simultaneously earliest by February end and latest by March 15 and the polling in Jammu and Kashmir is likely to be held in the month of April only.

The polling, sources said, is likely to be held in eight phases adding that the polls in south Kashmir however may be held exclusively on the day when polls in no other part of the state will be held keeping in view the volatile situation in four districts of south Kashmir.

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