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Consortium gets Waste to Energy project, to start work next month

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Mar 23: After years of failed attempts, Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) finally allotted the Achan Waste-to-Energy (WtE) project to a consortium led by the Kashmir-based Highland Automobiles Private Limited.
The SMC Solid Waste Management Officer, Nazir Ahmad Baba, told The Kashmir Monitor that the corporation has issued the letter of intent to the consortium, comprised of three companies, which is expected to begin the work by the start of April.
“They are supposed to establish and make operational the waste to energy plant in 18 months, failing which they will have to pay Rs 50,000 a day as a penalty,” he said.
A Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative, the plant will be designed, developed and managed by the consortium, which has Key Stone Energy Limited, and Astrix companies as its constituents.
A source in the corporation said the estimated cost of the project was around Rs 120 crore. However, it could not be confirmed officially.
The contract stipulates that the Achan plant should generate 5-megawatt of electricity from 500 metric tonnes of the waste produced in the city daily.
“J&K government will buy the electricity at Rs 7.5 per unit,” the source said.
The contractor, as per the source, will work on the project “on Design, Finance, Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (DFBOOT) Mode for a period of 25 years with revision of tariff rates after every five years”.
No official from Highland Automobiles was ready to comment on how and when exactly the consortium was going to start the work.
With tenders floated at least half-a-dozen times, the project had been a non-starter since January 2015, when the National Green Tribunal (NGT) accorded sanction to establishment of the WtE plant.
The NGT had specifically stated that the project “shall be completed in a time bound manner and in any case within a period of one year”.
The aim of the project is to end the crisis of solid waste management in the city, and to create a mechanism for waste management at an affordable cost.
However, disagreement over power purchase rates or companies leaving the formalities mid-way were among the reasons hampering the project.
Following the delay, NGT took strong exceptions and rebuked SMC several times.
If efficiently implemented, the project would give a new meaning to MSW management and also create electricity to provide some stability to the otherwise-patchy schedule.


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3 aides of Junaid Sehrai arrested in Srinagar

‘Trio responsible for Jammu blast, firing at SPO’

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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Srinagar, Jul 23:  Family’s efforts and timely intervention has paid off after three youth who had recently joined militant ranks were arrested in Srinagar, police said on Tuesday.

Asif Iqbal Dar, Shahid Hassan Dar both from Soura, and Rasheed Latief Mir from Barzulla were affiliated with Hizbul Mujahideen (HM).

Addressing media persons, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Srinagar, Dr Haseeb Mughal said Asif was on their radar for a long time.

 

“We have been following him for a long time. He has been sharing incriminating material on social media to inspire youth to join militant ranks. One fine day, he went missing and reached Pulwama following which parents lodged an FIR in police station Soura,” Mughal said.

City police chief noted that efforts were made to trace the trio. “Help from other agencies was also sought. Ultimately all three of them reached their homes,” he said.

Mughal said that their questioning revealed how youth are being recruited into the militant ranks.

“All the three were in close contact with Junaid Sehrai, a militant from Srinagar. They were receiving instructions from him. Before their debut into militancy, they were asked to carry some attacks, which they did,” he claimed.

Mughal said the attack on Jammu Bus stand was the trio’s handiwork. “They also fired at SPO Roman Rashid at Barzulla. Interestingly, they were told not to kill him. They even lobbed a grenade on the CRPF vehicle at Barzulla even though we have no record. It might have not exploded,” he said.

The SSP said that youth were getting directions from Junaid Sehrai about the targets.

“For the time being, they were assigned smaller targets.  Later they were supposed to get bigger targets. Some incriminating materials have been recovered from them including a grenade, some rounds and a flag of Ansar Ghazwat ul Hind,” he added.

Urging youth not to fall prey to militant conspiracies, he appealed them to concentrate on productive things.

“Life is precious and you should make best use of it. Use your mind on productive things,” he said.

Among others, Superintendent of Police (SP) West, Sudanshu Verma and  SP South, Dr G V Sundeep were also present during the media conference.

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Ready to assist India, Pak: US State Dept

Agencies

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Srinagar, Jul 23: After US President Donald Trump said that he would act as a mediator between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue, the US State Department on Tuesday supported his statement and said that they were ready to assist in the matter.

“While Kashmir is a bilateral issue for both parties to discuss, the Trump administration welcomes Pakistan and India sitting down and the United States stands ready to assist,” a spokesperson for the US State Department said.

 

The spokesperson further went on to say that any successful dialogue between India and Pakistan was based on the latter’s efforts against terrorists on its territory.

“We believe foundation for any successful dialogue between India and Pakistan is based on Pakistan taking sustained and irreversible steps against terrorists on its territory. These actions are in line with PM Imran Khan’s stated commitments and Pakistan’s international obligations,” the spokesperson said.

He also said that the US will continue to support efforts to reduce tensions between the two countries.

“We will continue to support efforts that reduce tensions and create an environment conducive for dialogue. This first and foremost means tackling the menace of terrorism. As the President indicated, we stand ready to assist,” the spokesperson said.

On Monday, Donald Trump offered to mediate in Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan ‘if mediation is required’.

President Trump said this during his meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in White House in Washington DC on Monday.

Trump’s remarks created uproar on Twitter where users slammed him for interfering in the politics of the two countries.

India in the past has categorically denied any foreign help in the Kashmir dispute with Pakistan. India maintains that Kashmir dispute in an internal issue and will be resolved bilaterally with Pakistan.

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Cong-JD(S) govt falls; Kumaraswamy loses trust vote

Agencies

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Bengaluru, Jul 23: The one-year-old coalition government of the Congress and HD Kumaraswamy’s Janata Dal Secular – teetering for weeks – collapsed on Tuesday, paving the way for the BJP’s return to power in Karnataka.

The coalition failed the floor test in the assembly, cobbling up only 99 votes in comparison to the 105 votes of the BJP, which later dubbed it a “Game of Karma”.

The demand for trust vote came as 16 legislators resigned and two Independents withdrew support to the government within a fortnight. The trust vote, pending since Friday, was held Tuesday evening after a back and forth between the Speaker, the coalition and the BJP – and prodding from Governor Vajubhai Vala – that stretched over a week.

 

“It is victory of democracy. People were fed up with Kumaraswamy government. I want to assure people of Karnataka that a new era of development will start now,” said state BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa, who is set to be the Chief Minister for the fourth time.

“It’s the victory of people of Karnataka. It’s the end of an era of corrupt & unholy alliance. We promise a stable & able governance to the people of Karnataka,” the state BJP tweeted.

The trust vote came after a tug of war between the ruling coalition and the BJP that even reached the Supreme Court. The debate extended over Monday and Tuesday despite Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar’s Monday deadline.

Ahead of Tuesday’s session, the Speaker made lacerating comments after seeing near empty treasury benches in the assembly. “Should this be the fate of the Speaker or the assembly?” Kumar demanded. “You will lose credibility, leave alone strength,” he said.

Last Friday, a trust vote could not be held despite two deadlines from the Governor. The house was adjourned after marathon speeches by Kumaraswamy and other coalition leaders. The BJP accused the government of delaying the trust vote with lengthy speeches in hopes of reprieve from the Supreme Court.

Kumaraswamy said he was “not particularly worried about the end of this debate” and that he would “happily give up… rather than all this”. “I have acted with decency. The last 14 months has been – ‘will they stay or will they go’ – and I thank my party leaders for staying through it all. The objections to us started on Day 1 of the coalition government,” he added.

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