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CS reviews winter preparedness;Calls for greater coordination among line departments

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Srinagar, Nov 11: Following explicit directions of the Governor, Satya Pal Malik to the administration to provide all basic services and supplies to the people in Kashmir division during the winter months when the durbar is at Jammu, Chief Secretary, B V R Subrahmanyam Sunday held an extensive review with the divisional and district administration of Kashmir division at Srinagar and impressed upon the concerned departments/agencies to work 24×7 to ensure that people are provided all basic necessities in particular power, water, essential commodities and petroleum products during the winter months without any interruption.

Chief Secretary directed the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir and Deputy Commissioners of Kashmir division to remain alive to the weather prediction for the next week and ensure that the action plan for restoration of basic services is in place in advance with role clarity for convenience of the people.

While conveying appreciation of the Governor to the concerned departments, divisional and district administration for their untiring efforts in restoration of various services post snow fall, Chief Secretary stressed upon identifying the gaps, if any, noted during the restoration work post November 3rd &4thsnowfall and devise appropriate strategy to tackle these in future.

 

Chief Secretary expressed deep anguish over the inconvenience to the people on account of extensive damage to 4 transmission towers due to which power supply in certain areas was badly affected. He asked Divisional Commissioner Kashmir to have the matter relating to damage to these towers examined critically; lapses if any identified and report furnished to the Government, as already decided.

Recognizing the importance of power for the people in general and various key sectors in particular student community during winter months and ensuring against damage to the power infrastructure in the event of snowfall, Chief Secretary directed the PDD to check that transmission towers, power lines and poles are in good condition and trees closer to power lines are pruned as per the requirement. The PDD was further asked to keep in readiness a well-conceived ‘zone wise restoration plan’ in the event of snowfall or break down of power supply. PDD was also asked to ensure that sufficient quantity of required material including oil for gensets be stocked in snow bound areas like Gurez and Ladakh during winters.

To ensure that major, secondary and residential roads are kept open for traffic in the event of snowfall, men and machinery is deployed rapidly to clear the roads, PW(R&B) and the district administration was asked to keep ‘zone wise snow clearance plans’ ready. It was informed that additional 15 snow ploughing machines and 22 bulldozers are being procured and will be provided to the snowfall prone districts soon to quickly and effectively deal with closure of roads during snowfall. The Deputy Commissioners were asked to spare the services of Engineers of Mechanical Engineering Wing for the restoration work in the event of heavy snowfall.

Preparedness with regard to snow/ landslide clearance, traffic management, rescue plan and facilities for stranded passengers/truckers along the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway and other important roads was also reviewed during the meeting.

The concerned departments and the district administration was asked to be fully prepared to ensure uninterrupted water supply, cleaning of lanes and drains and dewatering of potential waterlogged areas. “Check that dewatering pumps are in operational state and ready for use” Chief Secretary said.

Chief Secretary asked the Health Department to ensure that hospitals have adequate heating arrangements, availability of medicine/facilities; and alternate power source (gensets) and funds required by a hospital on this count should be immediately projected to the Government to obviate any difficulty. He specifically took stock of functioning of major hospitals including SKIMS Soura, SMHS and G B Panth hospitals and directed the hospital administration and the health department to ensure that healthcare services are provided 24×7 to the best satisfaction of the patients.

Chief Secretary asked the School Education department to ensure that heating facilities are provided in the examination centres being conducted by the J&K Board of School Education.

Chief Secretary also took stock of availability and stocking of ration, Gas, Petroleum, K oil and other essential food items in Kashmir division including snow bound remote areas like Gurez. He directed the Director Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs, Kashmir to ensure supply of food grains and petroleum products to the consumers during the winter months. For this purpose, the Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Department shall remain in constant touch with the oil companies so that there is no shortage of cooking gas and petroleum products.

Chief Secretary asked Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir to have joint control rooms functional throughout the winter months with general public kept informed through weather advisories/alerts and about the potential avalanche prone areas for their safety. He also instructed the divisional administration to share with the district administration, the names and contact details of the nodal officers designated for coordinating air rescues.

Regarding disbursement of relief among the affected farmers of the November 3rd & 4th snow fall, Chief Secretary directed the district administration to start the process of providing interim relief by November 12th, till final assessment is completed.

He said that keeping in view the extensive damages/ losses caused by the snowfall of November 3rd & 4th, Governor’s administration has declared the snowfall as a State Specific Special Natural Calamity, treated the apple as a perennial crop for relief purposes under SDRF and enhanced the relief amount five times i.e from Rs 6800/Ha to Rs 36000/Ha under SDRF. Chief Secretary also added that Government of India has been requested to depute a team to assess the quantum of damage so as to explore the possibility of providing compensation above the permissible limits under SDRF.

Besides Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Director SKIMS, Principal GMC Srinagar, DC Srinagar, DC Budgam, HoDs of various departments participated in the meeting. Deputy Commissioners of other districts including Leh & Kargil participated through video conferencing.


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Two militants killed in Bijbehara gunfight

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Srinagar, Apr 25: Two militants were killed after a gunfight broke out between militants and security forces in Bagender Mohalla area of Bijbehara in Anantnag district on Thursday morning.

The duo was killed after a gunfight broke out between them and a joint team of the Indian Army’s 3 Rashtriya Rifles unit and a Special Operations Group of the Jammu and Kashmir Police.

The exchange of fire began while security forces had been carrying out cordon and search operations after receiving inputs about the presence of militants in the area. An official said that the militants opened fire on the troopers when they were closing in on their hiding spot.

 

A search operation is underway as the forces believe there were three militants in hiding in Bagender Mohalla.

The police spokesman identified the slain as Safder Amin Bhat (25), son of Muhammad Amin of Zirpara Bijbehara and Burhan Ahmad Ganaie (25) of Malipora Hablish Kulgam. He said the duo was affiliated with Hizb-ul -Mujahideen militant outfit.

Incriminating material including arms and ammunition was recovered from the site of the encounter, he said, adding that the police have registered a case.

“Citizens are requested not to venture inside encounter zone since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials. People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosive materials if any,” said the spokesman.

Thousands of people participated in funeral prayers of two slain militants in Bijbehara and SK Colony Lazibal areas of Anantnag.

Meanwhile, internet services were also suspended for “precautionary measures” and a complete shutdown is being observed in the district.

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Ladakh Parliamentary Seat: Karbalai in fray to cut Muslim votes and benefit Congress?

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Apr 25: Ahead of the elections for it, the Ladakh Parliamentary Seat is in the spotlight these days as Asgar Ali Karbalai, who is contesting as an Independent candidate, may play spoilsport for Sajjad Hussain who has support of the NC, PDP and powerful religious groups of Kargil.

Four candidates are in the fray for Ladakh parliamentary constituency that will go to polls on May 6.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, while Rigzin Spalbar is Congress’ candidate. Both the candidates are from Leh district. Sajjad Hussain, and Asgar Ali Karbalai are contesting as independents. Both are from Kargil district.

 

Asgar has claimed that he has left the Congress, however a source within the party said his contesting of elections is to “cut the Muslim vote in Ladakh to benefit the Congress candidate.”

“He has no support of any religious group unlike Sajjad. If he will be able to cut the Muslim vote, Congress will be the hugely benefitted,” the source said. 

It said that PDP and NC decided not to field candidates as they would have divided the Muslim votes and would have benefitted the BJP.

The PDP and NC have decided to support journalist turned politician Sajjad in the parliamentary elections. He is the candidate of Anjuman Jamiatul Ulama Islamia School Kargil (AJUISK), the largest religious organisation of the region and also backed by Imam Khomeini Memorial Trust.

“Both National Conference and PDP have unanimously decided to support Sajjad, who has been fielded by Kargil’s powerful religious organization, Islamia School,” National Conference General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar, said.

Asked why the National Conference did not field its own candidate, Sagar replied, “We have several top leaders in Ladakh. But when powerful religious organizations decided to field the candidate, we decided to support him. All religious groups are on platform on his candidature. We hope that he would win the elections.”

Senior PDP leader Nizam-ud-Din Bhat too confirmed that NC and PDP have unanimously decided to support Independent candidate, Sajjad.

“We decided not to field our own candidate because this candidate has backing of two religious groups, and he represents the sentiments of people,” Bhat said.

In Kashmir, the PDP and NC have been fighting against each other as both parties have fielded their candidates against one another on all three parliamentary seats. The NC and Congress are jointly fighting the Srinagar, Jammu and Udhampur parliament seats while there is a “friendly” contest between their candidates for Baramulla and Anantnag seats.

In 2014 Thupstan Chhewang of Bharatiya Janata Party won with a margin of 36 votes. Chhewang secured 31,111 votes while Independent Ghulam Raza secured 31,075 votes. Chhewang last year resigned, citing ‘discrimination’ against Ladakh, as the reason.

Spread over Leh and Kargil districts and having four assembly segments including Kargil, Zanaskar, Nobra and Leh, Ladakh is geographically one of the largest and population-wise one of the smallest constituencies in the country. There are about 1.72 lakh eligible voters for the Ladakh seat.

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NIA summon to Shabir Shah’s daughter shameful: Mehbooba

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, Apr 25: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday termed National Investigation Agency (NIA) summon to Shabir Shah’s daughter as “shameful”.

Addressing a rally at Kulgam district in south Kashmir, the PDP president while condemning the issuance of ED summon to Sama Shabir, the daughter of Hurriyat leader Shabir Ahmed Shah said, “She has been summoned in connection with case of money laundering in 2007 when she was just five years old. The harassment has increased over the years.”

She said that Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was summoned by the NIA and Yaseen Mailk faced detention and constant harassment.  “This shows the sheer desperation of centre,” she claimed.

 

She maintained, “The abrogation of Article 35-A and 370 will render the basis of accession null and void. Thus, we should strive towards safeguarding the special status.”

Mehbooba took jibes at the BJP president, Amit Shah over his statement that there is Modi wave in India.

“Had this been true, the Balakote airstrikes wouldn’t happen then?  Incidents like mob lynching and oppression on the marginalized sections wouldn’t be so commonplace,” she said.

She said while taking potshots at the NC vice-president Omar Abdullah, “Omar is living in this delusion that the people in her home town Bijebhera in Anantnag district have rejected her and voted for NC. I want to make this thing clear that it’s my hometown and people are supportive of me and are still unknown to Omar.”

Ruling out that government employees participated in her Pulwama election rally, she said, “This is completely false. No government employees participated in that rally. I have nothing to do with these employees as I am not a part of the government.” 

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