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Clampdown fallout: 46000 lose jobs in 53 days

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Sep 26:  Just 52 days ago,the office of Lelafe, a renowned IT company at Industrial Estate Rangreth, was bustling with activities with more than 100 employees struggling toattend to the calls of their ever-increasing clients.

Sensing that more educational institutes and insurance companies require software solutions, the company had gone into an overdrive to lure more customers and increase its market share through various platforms.

Come August 5, Lelafe had to shut their operations as government abruptly snapped internet services across the valley.

 

Prolonged internet shutdown in the valley has put the livelihood of at least 3000 techiesworking in various Kashmir-based IT companies on the chopping block.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.  Most of the software companies have either suspended their operations or shifted their business to outside the state.

Omar Ahmad, a techie, said all the 50 IT companies at Industrial Estate Rangreth have suffered huge losses, forcing them to shift their operations to other states albeit with limited staff.

“We never imagined a situation like this. The situation was much worse in 2016 yet government didn’t snap lease line or broadband internet services. We are at the verge of losing our jobs,” he said.

Khurshid Ahmad, director of Alamdar Softwares, said the companies haven’t paid their staff for the last two months. “We alone faced loss worth Rs 10 lakh in the last two months. Around 50 per cent of the companies shifted their staff to outside Kashmir,” he said.

Post August 5,Kashmir has witnessed 46,000 job cuts in different sectors ranging from IT to tourism to retail.

Hospitality sector is the worst hit with 40,000 employeeslaid-off after government issued advisory asking tourists and Amarnath yatris to leave Kashmir citing militant threats on August 2.

Bashir Ahmad Karnai, who owns three hotels, said the current situation has forced him to cut down his staff strength from 65 to 6.“I had to ask my hotel staff to stay home till situation improves,” he said.

Data released by the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) reveal that nearly 80 per cent of 1100 hotels in the valley have been shut for the last two months.

“There are around 300 restaurants, 900 houseboats and 600 shikaras, where the staff strength has been reduced. They are unable to function as the earnings have dropped considerably. Around 5000 tourist cab drivers are suffering because there are no tourists,” said Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad, KCCI president.

Similarly, nearly 3000 courier boys have lost their earnings as courier services in the valley has been affected due to the non-availability of internet.  All the e-commerce companies too have stopped delivering products in the valley.

 “The courier boys would be paid on the basis of commission by the companies.  We haven’t laid-off our staff, but these courier boys are sitting idle,”said Qari Zahoor Ahmad, president of KashmirCourier Services Association.

Thousands of private schools teachers fear that they too might be fired as educational institutions continues to remain shut.  “We haven’t been provided salaries for last three months now. If this continues we too might be fired,” said a teacher of a prominent private school in Srinagar.


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Lead Stories

Govt directs DCs, SSPs to provide security to Panchayat members

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Oct 22: Waking up to militant threats, Jammu and Kashmir government has directed district development commissioners and district police chiefs to provide security cover to Panches and Sarpanches during their visit to respective constituencies. 

The Kashmir Monitor had broken the story about Panchayat members’ reluctance to visit their constituencies due to alleged militant threats.

A top source in the divisional commissioner Kashmir’s office said Sarpanches and Panches have told government that they are scared to visit their constituencies.

 

“They have told the government they live under constant fear and are unable to review the developmental works,” he said.

Sensing danger, the government directed district development commissioners and district police chiefs to make adequate security plan for Panches and Sarpanches during their visit to constituencies.

“Prior to their visit, they have to inform the concerned SHOs so that necessary security arrangements are put in place,” the source added.

Additional Director General of Police, Law and Order, and Security, Munir Ahmad Khan, said directives have gone to DCs and SSPs to ensure security of Panches and Sarpanches.

“Wherever they (Panches and Sarpanches) need security, they can approach concerned SSPs and DCs. They have been assured of security cover when they intend to visit their respective constituencies,” Khan told The Kashmir Monitor.

Centre has announced to release Rs 3700 crore for Panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir, of which around Rs 1000 crore stand released so far.  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently stressed for empowerment of Panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir.

 Panchayats, in addition to being involved in the selection of eligible beneficiaries for various government welfare schemes, can get Rs 50 lakh-80 lakh per year for implementation of key national schemes such as the National Health Mission, Samagra Shiksha, etc.

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ACB registers 60 cases in 2019: Top babus, politicians under investigation for graft

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Oct 22:  Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has gone whole hog against corrupt politicians and government officials and registered 60 cases under different anti-graft laws in 2019 across Jammu and Kashmir.

Official details accessed by The Kashmir Monitor reveal that the ACB has registered 29 cases in Kashmir and 31 in Jammu in 2019 so far. Some of the cases have been registered against top politicians and bureaucrats in the state.

Cases were registered against deputy mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, J&K Bank and government officials for “illegal appropriation of subsidy with inflated project cost for establishment of CA storage at Lassipora, Pulwama”.

 

The anti-graft has also registered a case against former chairman of the bank for allegedly misusing his position. A case has also been registered against former Director Archives and Archaeology Department for allegedly misusing his position by ordering enhancement of consolidated wages without authorization.  

A case has also been registered against former directors of Rural Development Department Jammu for allegedly misusing official position and causing loss to state exchequer. The anti-graft body has also registered a case against former Managing Director JAKFED for misuse of official position.  It has registered a case against a Naib Tehsildar in Srinagar for allegedly misuse of official position.

The anti-graft body has registered a case against former senior town planner and former commissioner municipal corporation Jammu.  They have been booked for alleged criminal misconduct, abuse and misuse of their official position as public servants.

The ACB has also booked Divisional Manager of State Forest Corporation (SFC) Udhampur in a graft case. A case has also been registered against former Assistant Commissioner Development, Rajouri on corruption charges.

Last year, Governor Administration set up ACB to combat corruption in Jammu and Kashmir.  Later The ACB was given more teeth to take on highly influential people.

An official of ACB said that there are complaints against several top government officials for their involvement in corruption. “Some are still at an initial stage and action would be taken in next few weeks,” he said

Governor Satya Pal Malik had said that “Anti-Corruption Bureau won’t spare anyone even those who are part of big political parties.”

Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam had said the establishment of ACB would do away with the shortcomings and multiplicity of roles in the existing anti-corruption mechanism operational in the state.

“The ACB has been empowered. It is as powerful as CBI. The government has strengthened the ACB so it acts against powerful people,” he had said.

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Govt employees of UTs of J&K, Ladakh to get all 7th CPC allowances from October 31

Monitor News Bureau

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SRINAGAR, OCTOBER 22: The Union government on Tuesday issued orders announcing that the employees of the new Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh — will get salaries and other benefits as per the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission from October 31.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has approved the proposal of payment of all 7th CPC allowances to the government employees of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh, which shall come into existence from October 31, 2019.

The move will benefit 4.5 lakh government employees who are working in the existing state of Jammu and Kashmir and will become the employees of UT of J&K and UT of Ladakh from 31 October 2019.

 

The annual financial implications of 7th CPC allowances like Children Education Allowance, Hostel Allowance, Transport Allowance, LTC, Fixed Medical Allowance etc in respect of 4.5 lakh government employees of existing State of J&K shall be Rs 4800 crore tentatively.

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