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Constructions shrink Narkara wetland by 81 hectare

Firdous Hassan




Srinagar, Sep 10:  Unchecked contractions have reduced Narkara wetland, a prime water absorbing basin here Srinagar, by 81 hectares in the last four decades.

Situated on the outskirts of the city with an area of 261 hectares, the wetland, as per International Journal of Environment and Bioenergy, was 342 hectares in area in 1970.

Another separate study titled ‘Urban Sprawl of Srinagar City and its Impact on Wetlands’ by Research Associated at Kashmir University further elaborated the impact of “excessive urbanisation” on the wetland.


Researchers NissarKuchay and Mohammad Sultan Bhat in their research claim that 0.81 kilometers of the wetland has reduced in the last four decades.

Violating the wetland laws, sources claim the successive regimes have been instrumental in the decline of the wetland area.

While presently the state government has its multiple structures on the wetland, various other projects are on pipeline that would entirely affect the wetland’s conservation.

The state government is currently proposing to build an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) over 800 kanals of the Narkara wetland.

This has happened without getting an approval from the approval of Rakhs and Farms, and Irrigation and Flood Control department.

Source said that the project has been stalled due to the stay order from the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

“The government seems to be adamant to build the IIM on the wetland. Despite stay order, no reaction has come from the government to identify any other place for the institute,” sources said.

As per the detailed project report prepared by the public works department (R&B), Kashmir, an amount of Rs 101 crore is required for filling earth into the marsh.

Similarly, the state government has issued almost 100 kanals of the land for the setting up of Transworld Muslim University on the wetland.

The land has been demarcated and fenced by the religious organisation to which the government issued this land in replacement of JAH’s 300 kanals of land in Tengpora.

“This land is even 200 kanal less to what they took from us . It was issued to us by government and besides many other government’s projects are coming up there,” said General Secertary JAH Abdul LateefAlkandi.

Sources said that many other projects of government were in pipeline to be established on the wetland.

They said that Narkara has been already identified by the Department of Higher Education for establishing infrastructure for various projects.

“The government recently visited there to look a 500 kanal of land for SabziMandi . Besides land for KrishiVigyan Kendra and other small projects has also beidenitifed,”sources said.

Environment Lawyer Nadeem Qadri said that Environment Policy Group has already taken up the issue with high court, which stayed construction on the wetland.

“We took up the issue of IIM but then the court considered it as a whole and stay any sort of construction over the wetland,” he said.




ASI among three cops injured in Rajbagh grenade blast



Srinagar, Jan 17: Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) of police and two traffic cop were injured in a grenade blast near Zero Bridge in Rajbagh area of Srinagar city in Central Kashmir on Thursday afternoon.
Reports said that suspected militants lobbed a grenade on police party near Zero Bridge in Rajbagh.
In the blast, three policemen including an ASI of police and two traffic policemen sustained splinter injuries and were evacuated to SMHS hospital for treatment.
The injured has been identified as Iqbal Singh (ASI of JKAP 14 Bn) and traffic policemen Haris Manzoor (SPO) and Sanullah (Head Constable).
While ASI Iqbal has sustained splinter injuries to both of his legs, Haris suffered an injury to the back side of his neck and Sanullah suffered injuries in his right leg.
SSP Srinagar Imtiaz Ismail Parray confirmed the attack and subsequent injuries to the ASI and two traffic cops.
Soon after the attack, the government forces cordoned off the area and launched a hunt to nab the attackers.
Security forces have launched a massive search operation in Rajbagh and adjoining areas near Zero Bridge after three police personnel including assistant sub-inspector were injured in a grenade attack by the terrorists on Thursday.
Homes and hotels in the area were searched frisking was also carried out. It was the first major terrorist attack in the Srinagar city this year. The injured cops are undergoing treatment at the hospital.
Meanwhile Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) has claimed responsibly of the grenade attack on the forces’ party at Raj Bagh area of Srinagar.
A JeM spokesperson Muhammad Hassan in a statement claimed that two forces personnel were killed and 6 critically injured in the attack.
An ASI of police and two traffic cops were injured in a grenade blast near Zero Bridge, Raj Bagh in Thursday afternoon.

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2018 has been remarkable year for forces: Army commander

Global News Service



Srinagar, Jan 17: A top army commander on Thursday described 2018 as “remarkable year” for government forces, saying that more than 250 militants were killed, 54 others were arrested and four others surrendered in Kashmir Valley.
“The year 2018 has been a remarkable year for armed forces on the security front. As per the record of last ten years, army along with other forces have neutralized many militants. Many militants have surrendered under pressure and many others were arrested alive,” said Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, GoC-in-C Northern Command told reporters after inaugurating Kalai Bridge constructed by Border Roads Organization.
“More than 250 militants were killed, 54 others arrested and four others have surrendered,” he said, adding, “This speaks about the strength of our security establishment,” the officer said.
He said that the army was giving “befitting reply” to Pakistan army along the Line of Control whenever there were instances of any ceasefire violation or snipping.
“As per wireless and other intercepts, Pakistan army and militants suffered a huge loss in our retaliatory action.”
The Kalai Bridge spans over Suran River and connects Kalai area to Chandak area in Poonch district. During the inaugural function, the Army Commander addressed the gathering of Army, GREF and local residents and said that the Kalai bridge is an important milestone towards enhancing the road communication in the area.
“The bridge is an important strategic asset as it enhances the movement of military equipment and troops in a faster time frame,” he said. The Indian Army and BRO have been working towards infrastructure development in the remote and far-flung areas and improving the road connectivity, he said.
“The bridge will reduce traffic congestion in the city and ease out inconvenience caused to the people specially those moving towards Budha Amarnath Shrine in Mandi as it reduces the travelling time considerably.”
The Army Commander appreciated the contribution of the District Administration for their support and cooperation during the construction of the bridge.


Beg to differ: Omar Abdullah


Srinagar, Jan 17: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah on Thursday lashed out at the Northern Command Chief Lt General Ranbir Singh, on his “great year for security forces” remark.
Taking to Twitter, Abdullah wrote, the compulsion of killing militants/terrorists shouldn’t be treated as a cause for celebration.
“I beg to differ, a great year would be one in which no young man would join militancy, no terrorists would be killed & no security personnel would lose their lives in encounters. The compulsion of killing militants/terrorists shouldn’t be treated as a cause for celebration,” Abdullah wrote.
Abdullah was reacting to a statement by Gen Singh on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Kalai bridge in Poonch district. Gen Singh said 2018 had been a great year for the security forces as they had managed to kill 250 terrorists.

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Heartening to meet Kashmiri students in Bangladesh: Shahid Afridi




Srinagar, Jan 17: Star Pakistan cricketer Shahid Afridi on Thursday met Kashmiri students in Bangladesh and interacted with them.

Afridi said that it was heartening to see Kashmiri students in Bangladesh who are studying medicine.“Heartening meeting with some Kashmiri students who are in Bangladesh on scholarship, studying Medicine. Keep up the hard work and making your people proud!,” he tweeted.

Afridi in the past has been in controversies over Kashmiri over his support to the Kashmir cause. He has been vocal about letting the people of Kashmir decide their future.

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