Srinagar, Apr 25: Following the order to close down issued by the government, private coaching centres in Kashmir are moving court to challenge the directive they find ambiguous.
After Education Minister, Mohammad Altaf Sunday ordered the closure of coaching centres providing tuitions upto class 12th for 3 months, the DSEK on Tuesday issued formal orders in this regard.
The order has said that the closure of the centres for the time period would however be subject to review after 15 days.
While they would “comply with the government order for now”, Chairman Coaching Centres Association Kashmir (CCAK), G N Var told The Kashmir Monitor that they would approach the state High Court to contend the diktat.
Having already consulted a senior advocate, Var said, “It will take us a day or two to file the case”.
With the government exempting the coaching centres offering “professional coaching”, Var said that the government needed to come clear over the categorisation.
“We will ask them what this professional coaching means,” Var said.
“We have decided that we would not make it a point of confrontation and keep it politics-neutral,” he added.
The coaching centres forced to close down as a result of the government order would “refund the students’ fee on pro rata basis,” said Var.
In a separate statement issued by the CCAK in reaction to the DSEK’s order, the association said, “Any delay in reviewing the same thereof and subsequently the loss of students’ precious time would be the sole responsibility of the Directorate”.
The statement said the class work at the centres would remain suspended till any further direction.
The CCAK in the statement has asked the parents and students to “approach the Directorate to expedite the process of reviewing”.
As per the CCAK statement, there was an “ambiguity with regards to professional coaching” which the government had exempted.
“The Order seems to suggest that professional coaching only starts after 12th Exams and is not part of an integrated course starting from 11th Class. In effect suggesting students to drop and repeat a year to prepare for the said Competitive Exams,” the statement said.
“The order also seems to suggest that our students should not prepare for exams like National Talent Search Examination (NTSE), National Standard Examination in Junior Science (NSEJS) and National and International Level Olympiads. In effect the J&K Government would thus be the only government to discourage students from excelling in national and international Level exams,” the CCAK alleged in the statement.
While the government has alleged that the coaching centres resulted in the students reporting late to their schools, the CCAK statement said that the centres, which were “adhering to the government norm of maintaining half an hour’s difference with respect to the school timing have been unnecessarily dragged into the blanket closure order”.
While the CCAK was in favour of action against the violators, the statement alleged that the registered institutions adhering to the norms “are only harassed while as no action is taken against the violators”.
The students, meanwhile, complain that their studies had taken a hit.
“It makes all the difference as our studies have been discontinued. Each day of our studies is precious. As compared to schools, proper studies take place at the centres,” Owais, a class12 student enrolled with a coaching centre in uptown here, said.
Owais said: “Professional coaching starts right from class 11th”.
Suhail, another class-12 student, echoed his views.
“Preparations for the competitive examination start right from class 11th. There is nothing like coaching for professional examinations as such. We study at the coaching centres for 11th and 12th classes only. Then we prepare for any competitive exam during the last 3 months,” said Suhail.
He said that their studies would be disrupted after the DSEK’s formal order forcing the closure of the centres.
“There are no such teachers who can teach us and complete our syllabi at the schools,” Suhail lamented.
Talking to the Kashmir Monitor, currently a class 11th student enrolled at a coaching centre said that he had “set a goal to crack MBBS examination” beforehand.
However, the government forcing the centre to close, “It has disrupted the rhythm of our studies. We cannot achieve the goals set for various competitive examinations like NEET and JEE at the government schools,” said the student.
“If we study properly in 11th and 12th classes, it helps in the competitive exams as there is less time for preparing in the tests after class 12th examinations,” he added.
Calling the coaching centres as “distractions affecting the system”, Bukhari had on Sunday reportedly denied that the ongoing student protests had guided the diktat.
However, the DSEK’s formal order reads that in a meeting chaired by the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir on April 10, the “law enforcement agencies during the meeting informed that due to frequent violation of norms/ regulations and allowing students to gather outside tuition centres, which apart from causing grave law and order problem, creates every likelihood of threat to life and security of such students and general public as well (sic)”.
3 militants killed in Budgam encounter
Srinagar, Jan 21: Three militant of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit were killed in an encounter at Hapatnar woods in Charar-e-Shareef area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Monday.
News agency Global News Service quoted a senior police officer saying that a joint team of Army’s 53 RR, SOG and CRPF launched a cordon-and-search operation in forest area of Hapatnar early Monday morning following “credible inputs” about the presence of some militants.
As the joint team of forces intensified the combing operation, the militants hiding in the area opened fire triggering off a gunfight which continued intermittently till late in the evening.
During the course of gunfight, three militants belonged to Hizbul Mujahideen outfit were killed, the officer said.
The operation was prolonged due to the tough terrain amid inclement weather conditions, he added.”So far one body has been recovered along with arms and ammunition. The other two bodies which are lying inside the hideout are yet to be retrieved,” the officer said.
“The identity of the slain is being ascertained,” the officer said.
The officer said that the government forces have also blasted the hideout of the militants in the mountainous area, covered under plenty of snow.
Meanwhile, sources identified one among the slain Shahid Baba of Drabgam, Pulwama. (With inputs from GNS)
Snow, rains persist: Land, air traffic disrupted
Srinagar, Jan 21: Although not as severe as predicted, fresh snowfall and rains were Monday lashed Kashmir bringing some respite to the people from the cold wave.
The plains of Kashmir witnessed moderate rainfall from early hours of Monday, while there were reports of snowfall in higher reaches of the valley, officials said here.
The MeT Office has forecast widespread rain and snow over the state with heavy falls at isolated places till Tuesday.
Meanwhile, traffic on the 300-km long Srinagar-Jammu highway was halted because of heavy snowfall on the stretch.
“Today no movement of vehicular traffic on Jammu Srinagar NHW from Jammu towards Srinagar and vice versa as road blocked due to snow accumulation at Nowgam-Jawahar Tunnel-Qazigund Sector and still snowing,” J&K Traffic Police tweeted Monday morning.
Bad weather conditions also disrupted operations at the Srinagar International Airport here, leading to the cancellation of four flights, officials said.
“Due to the inclement weather, four of the 27 flights to and fro Srinagar were cancelled on Monday,” an official of the Airport Authority of India.
Another 11 flights got delayed due to poor visibility and intermittent rainfall since Monday morning, he said.
The minimum temperature in Srinagar on Sunday settled at minus 0.3 degree Celsius, same as previous night, a MET official said.
He said Qazigund, the gateway town to the valley, in south Kashmir recorded a low of 0.6 degree Celsius, while the nearby Kokernag town registered a low of minus 0.3 degrees Celsius Sunday night.
The mercury in Kupwara town in north Kashmir settled at a low of minus 0.6 degree Celsius. Gulmarg ski-resort in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 4 degrees Celsius Sunday night, while Pahalgam tourist resort, in south Kashmir, recorded a low of 0.2 degrees Celsius, the official said.
He said Leh, in the frontier Ladakh region, recorded a low of minus 5.6 degrees Celsius, while the mercury in Kargil registered a low of minus 14.0 degrees Celsius. Kargil was the coldest recorded place in Jammu and Kashmir, colder than even Drass town which recorded a low of minus 6.8 degrees Celsius.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai Kalan’, the 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are maximum and the temperature drops considerably.
‘Chillai Kalan’ ends on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir. The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day long ‘Chillai Bachha’ (baby cold).
Lack of funds halts vital JK tourism projects
Srinagar, Jan 21: The Governor-led administration is mulling to start new projects to boost tourism in Kashmir even as several old ones have been left midway due to want of funds.
In December last year, the administration ordered the constitution of an official panel for identification of new projects in tourism sector to be implemented under Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP).
Back in 2014, the Government of India, under Project/Infrastructure Development for Destination and Circuits (PIDDC), had sanctioned Rs 7593.88 lakh for development of basic tourism infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir through private investment, opening of new potential destinations and development of heritage, adventure, and pilgrim and eco-tourism.
However, the projects have been left incomplete as the Centre has, as per the latest official data, released only Rs 3504.80 lakh of the sanctioned amount against which the department shows 100 percent expenditure.
Now, due to the unavailability of funds, the PIDDC project is on standstill.
The project included development of Eidgah, face-lifting of Khankahi Moula, Development of Jamia Masjid Heritage Corridor, Renovation of Aali Masjid, Upgrading of Ziyarat Abdul Razaq Sahib at Hawal, Ziyarat Hazrat Balaad Rumi at Rajouri Kadal, Ziyarat Akhoon Sahib and TajBibi at Fateh Kadal, Ziyarat Hazrat Noor Shaha Sahib at Narwara, and Conservation of areas from Naagar Nagar to Watlab.
The tourist circuit from Naagar Nagar to Watlab, which was a key component of the project, still requires Rs 2312.90 lakh to be completed, official data shows.
Another main component of PIDDC project, construction of Trans Himalayan Culture Centre in Leh, too requires further Rs 1094.48 lakh for completion.
Similarly, development of Khiram Shrine in South Kashmir’s Bijbehara town also remains incomplete for want of funds.
Section Officer of Planning, Tourism Department, Sajad Ahmad, told The Kashmir Monitor that “65 per cent” of the work has been completed on Naagar Nagar to Watlab component of the project.
“We had to stop the work because the Centre did not release the funds,” he added.
Executive Engineer, JK Tourism, Abdul Qayoom Kirmani said they have asked the Government of India for the pending funds and also sent to them the proposal of the new projects.
“We have identified new Rs 100 crore new projects under PMDP-II, which comprises of nine circuits,” he said.