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City areas waterlogged, again; SMC, works dept in slumber

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, May 23: Once again a short-spell of rain submerged several city roads, exposing the faulty drainage system in Srinagar.

As predicted by the local meteorological department, the majority of the plains in Kashmir, Thursday witnessed a heavy downpour.

Soon, roads in Srinagar including the city-centre Lal Chowk and its adjoining areas were clogged with rainwater as the drainage system gave up within an hour or so of the rainfall.

 

Neither Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) nor Public Works Department has, in recent years, been able to resolve the issue which, time and again causes inconvenience to commuters and the business community.

Apart from Lal Chowk and its surrounding areas, those that witnessed water-logging included Karanagar, Nawabazar, Jahangir Chowk, Hari Singh High Street, Gogji Bagh, Bemina, Mehjoor Nagar, Residency Road, Hazuri Bagh, Rambagh, Shalteng, and Batamaloo.

Pedestrians were seen saving their clothes from water splashed on them whenever any vehicles drove through the flooded roads.

Abdul Ahad, a pedestrian while walking near Hari Singh High Street was so annoyed that he started abusing the authorities for failing to permanently resolve the public issue.

Bikers were seen holding up their legs while driving through several inches of water on the intersection between Residency Road and MA Road here.

Rains had also made driving dangerous as the depth of water-filled potholes was impossible to predict for the motorists.

The overall public movement in the city was hindered to a large extent.

No employee of SMC or the Works Department was seen on the field.

Even after repeated attempts to contact them, no officer from SMC or Works Department was available for their comments.

In February, the then Executive Engineer Drainage, SMC, Muzaffar Kakroo had claimed to complete 80% of drainage infrastructure.

He had even said that “complete infrastructure of drainage system across Srinagar along with the water disposal infrastructure will be completed in the month of May-August 2019.”

Seeing the state of drainage on Thursday, it was safe to say that the same had not been achieved.


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Community participation key to sustainable development: Adv Ganai

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Srinagar, Jun 23:  Advisor to the Governor Khurshid Ahmed Ganai, has urged the people of the State to come forward and promote greater civic engagement and community participation for sustainable development in the State.

He lamented the diminishing of community action which, he said adversely affects the Government’s developmental plans that are aimed to bring in discernible change on the ground. “The people will have to take ownership of local developmental issues which will significantly contribute in successful implementation of Government schemes and programmes,” he asserted.

Ganai made these remarks while interacting with several deputations during his visit to Sopore town on Saturday. Some of the delegations which met him included Markazi Auqaf Committee, Watergam (Rafiabad), Mohalla Committee, Arampora (Sopore), Auqaf Islamia, Masjid Ibrahim, New Committee (Sopore), Rafiabad Awami Forum (Baramulla), All J&K (10+2) PSC Lecturers Association, J&K Fruit Growers & Dealers Association, Municipal Council Sopore and Tehsil Coordination Committee, Zaingir (Sopore).

 

Emphasizing upon community action and role of NGOs to raise awareness and partnership among people with government agencies, the Advisor said there is a  need for a strong NGO movement in J&K state. He further stated that the institutions of local government are highly participatory in nature primarily by virtue of their close interface with local communities. “The involvement of citizenry in development processes will promote downward accountability and entrench local empowerment. This is sure to bring in greater transparency in implementation of social sector schemes like rural housing, electrification, access to drinking water, generation of mandays and local governance,” he added.  

Reiterating that economic progress is no guarantee to a strong society, the Advisor said the Government’s efforts will yield little results unless people partner State institutions in laying edifice of a strong welfare society. He underlined the importance of creation of ward committees, local groups, self-help groups and NGOs that provide an active structure for citizens’ participation.

During the meeting, the delegations raised several demands related to construction of hospitals and schools in Watergam, creation of SDM office in Rafiabad, construction of bridge at Mazbugh, benefit of assured career progression for 10+2 Lecturers, development of truck terminal yard and CA store in Fruit Mandi Sopore, resumption of cross-LoC trade, regular water supply in Sopore town, setting up of a horticulture university in Wadoora, waiver of KCC loan due to unexpected hailstorm, maternity and child hospital at Sopore, detachment of villages Rampur, Rajpur and Watlab up to Warpora from tehsil Dangerpora and inclusion in Tehsil Sopore, opening of new Degree College at Zaingir, improvement in Zaingir Canal and cable car from Watlab to Ziyarat Baba Shukr-ud-din.

The Advisor assured the delegation that he will have all the demands looked into on priority.

‘Serene weather makes JK a dream golf destination’

Srinagar, Jun 23:  Describing J&K as an ideal golf destination which is taken a notch higher by its serene weather, Advisor to the Governor, Mr. Khurshid Ahmed Ganai, Sunday advised the Tourism Department to make golf resorts revenue generating assets in the State.

He also advised J&K Golf Development & Management Authority (JKGDMA) to organize national-level tournaments at Royal Springs Golf Course, Pahalgam and Sidhra in Jammu to showcase world-class golfing facilities available in the State.

Ganai, who is Advisor in-charge Tourism Department, said this in a statement on the eve of Lidder Valley Golf tournament being organized at Pahalgam.

Around 100 prominent golfers including some top golfers from outside the State are participating in the one-day tourney jointly organized by JKGDMA, Directorate of Tourism, Kashmir and the J&K Golf Association.

Describing the cool weather conditions as an ideal foil for tee offs, the Advisor laid emphasis on proper maintenance, operations and marketing of golf courses in the State to make them self-sustained assets. “Where else but in J&K will you get such fantastic weather in the country during peak summer months,” he said while highlighting the importance of having clubs and villas adjunct to golf courses for attracting golfers on play-and-stay basis.

The State has excellent golfing facilities at RSGC at Srinagar, Pahalgam and Jammu. The world famous resort of Gulmarg also hosts one of the oldest golf courses in the State.

The Advisor has recently issued directions for aggressively marketing the golf potential of the State. He also laid stress on keeping golf courses in good playing condition by proper maintenance of greens, fairways and pathways.

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Khag Zone without Education Officer for four years

Students suffer as government looks other way

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Budgam, Jun 23:  Education system has taken a hit in the remote Khag Zone as Jammu and Kashmir government has failed to appoint a permanent Zonal Education Officer (ZEO) to address the problems of the students and the staff.

For the last four years, Khag zone in central Kashmir’s Budgam district is functioning without a permanent ZEO.

“Schools are struggling with poor infrastructure. Lack of basic facilities has badly affected the students.  Usually  the charge of ZEO is given to a principal of any of the higher secondary schools. However he fails to conduct the regular inspections of the schools,” said Mushtaq Malik, a local resident of Khag.

 

Khag received zonal status in 2012, but since 2015, the government has not posted any permanent ZEO in the area. Though some officials were given additional charge, they were unable to do justice with the new responsibility since they had to juggle between their own duties and the new assignment.

Comprising of 40 villages,  Khag is the largest zone in the Budgam district. There are around 400 schools in the zone, of which around 70% counts for the government institutions where the enrollment of the students is very high.

Chief Education Officer, Budgam, Fatima Bano said the vacant post of ZEO falls under the reserved category. “We have given the charge to a principal of Higher Secondary School till the permanent ZEO is posted”, she said.

Director of Department of School Education, Kashmir (DSEK), Muhammed Younis Malik said they would fill the vacancy very soon.

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PM Modi must not repeat his previous policies on Kashmir: Faesal

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Srinagar, Jun 23:  President of Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement Shah Faesal said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government will not repeat the mistakes and policies of his last five years while dealing with Kashmir issue.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi must be knowing that his policies led to worst situation in Kashmir in his previous five years of rule. I hope that those policies and mistakes will not be repeated during this term. I hope dialogue with all stakeholders including Hurriyat is started by the Modi government for peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue,” Faesal said.

Faesal was on his first visit to south Kashmir’s Kokernag areas to interact with people and enhance his public outreach before assembly elections.

 

Faesal said that no political party in Kashmir is complete until people of south Kashmir support it.

He said that people in south Kashmir are under a leash from the last years and need to be reached out to understand their pain and grievances.

“Unless people in south Kashmir support any campaign or political party, that campaign or party’s acceptance to the whole of state is not possible. Today’s visit is important for us as south Kashmir has been under the brunt for the last five year. We want to understand and feel their pain,” he said.

Faesal said that the aim of this visit is to reach out to each and every corner of the south Kashmir.

“The new political platform formed by I and Er Rashid, People’s United Front, is a new alternative for the people of the state to join hands with it and find a solution to their political and governance issues,” he said.

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