Jammu, Apr 13: Chief Secretary, B B Vyas Friday called for cent percent funding from the Central Government for disaster mitigation in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Government of India has been generously extending financial assistance to the State while implementing projects under ADB loan and World Bank financing with 100% funding. There is a need for similar dispensation to be considered for J&K in the Disaster Management area as well,” Mr Vyas said at a meeting convened through Videoconferencing by Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Mr R K Jain with the Chief Secretaries of eight states including Northeast and J&K to discuss the framework of projects conceived to mitigate disasters related to earthquakes.
Secretary NDMA informed the Chief Secretaries that the Government of India is in the process of launching a project to workout strategies to mitigate and risk reduction to the life and property due to the earthquakes and in the first instance, eight states of Northeast, Himachal, Uttarakhand and J&K falling in the seismic zone of IV and V will be taken up for implementing measures and building capacities to deal with these natural calamities due to earthquakes.
Vyas urged the Secretary NDMA that J&K is looking forward for sharing by NDMA of best practices, new knowledge and expertise in the area of disaster mitigation, rural housing, building codes, regulatory framework and other related areas.
He said J&K has a peculiar geo-climatic condition and falls in the Seismic Zone IV and V, and majority of the population is residing in the Zone IV. “Besides, people in J&K live on hillocks and in border areas which have peculiar challenges to be addressed to combat not only manmade disasters but natural calamities like earthquakes, floods and snow tsunamis which position the state in a multi-hazard zone and would require synergy and coordination of various Ministries and Departments for quick and effective response to all the natural and manmade disasters,” he said.
The Chief Secretary further informed the meeting that J&K has set up a separate department of Disaster Management and has put in place State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) headed by the Chief Minister, two Divisional Disaster Management Authorities headed by the respective Divisional Commissioners, and 22 District Disaster Management Authorities to formulate plans, coordinate resources and to build capacities to face the challenges arising due to calamities. He said Emergency Disaster Response Centres(EDRC) are being set up to deal with the situation in the quickest of the time to save the precious lives and to minimize the damage. He further informed that the State appreciates the need for procurement of disaster related equipment and retrofitting of public and private buildings to make them disaster resilient. “However, a comprehensive framework needs to be worked out to provide techno-logical and techno-legal regime to regulate the construction of government buildings and to enforce design and building techniques for private houses as well for making them earthquake resistant,” he said and added that a team from J&K Disaster Management Department will to visit NDMA for interaction and further guidance on the disaster mitigation parameters.
During the meeting, the importance of a focused comprehensive strategy for risk management and disaster preparedness was impressed upon by the participants. Modalities regarding funding pattern came under discussion and states desired that Government of India should workout liberal funding for undertaking measures to safeguard life and property in public and private domain.
No Helmet No Fuel! Motorcyclists, filling stations flout guidelines with impunity
Srinagar, Jun 26: Eight months on, the much hyped ‘No Helmet No Fuel’ rule is openly being flouted in the central Kashmir region.
In a move to curb the accidents by two-wheelers, the districts magistrates of Srinagar and Budgam had issued separate orders directing the filling stations not to sell fuel to the motorcyclists who did not wear helmets.
However, eight months have passed, the authorities have failed to implement the order in the twin districts.
The Kashmir Monitor reporter visited several filling stations in the city and discovered that the rule is being openly flouted.
Shuja Wani, a filling station owner at Kanipora told The Kashmir Monitor that they are ready to follow the orders but customers resort to unruly behavior if they are denied fuel.
“Sales people at my station sometimes face harsh behavior when they deny fuel to the motorcyclists without helmets. We have asked for the security from the administration so that we can implement the order and avert any law and order problem at the pumps,” he said.
A fuel pump operator at old city said they faced lot of harassment when they refused to dispense petrol to the people not wearing helmets.
“Once we told a motorcyclist about the government rule, he asked us to shut up and not argue. Even some people boast of not wearing helmets saying it was none of our jobs. The rule is good but our safety is paramount,” he said .
Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said they will work out a plan to implement the order in letter and spirit.
“We will see what can be done for the implementation of the order. The public needs to be aware about this. This is for the welfare of the general public,” he said.
District Commissioner Budgam, Syed Sehrish Asghar said law is already in place and they have made certain challans against the people who were not complying with the instructions.
Additional Superintendent of Traffic Police, Sonam Dechen however admitted that the people are not taking the rule seriously. “Security and enforcement at the filling stations can be provided by the district police,” he said.
Govt to set up de-addiction centres at SKIMS, medical colleges, other hospitals
Srinagar, Jun 26: The drug addiction is widespread, fast-rising and is quickly taking the form of an epidemic in Jammu and Kashmir, says Drug De Addiction Policy.
Studies conducted in recent years have shown an alarming increase in drug abuse.
One of the studies conducted by Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (IMHANS), of Govt Medical College Srinagar, has found that over two-third of patients in the study had started substance abuse in the age group of 11-20 years.
To tackle this problem, authorities told KNS that they have decided to set up of a drug de-addiction centres with adequate facilities at SKIMS medical college, Srinagar and in five new medical colleges and hospitals of the state.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on last Friday also expressed concerned over growing drug and liquor abuse in Kashmir. “Members from cross section of society have been informing me. I have been receiving large number of letters suggesting the menace of drug addiction is spreading far and wide in Srinagar and across the valley especially among the youth including girls,” Mirwaiz had said.
Governor Satya Pal Malik on Saturday also hailed Mirwaiz for speaking on drug abuse.
Data from Srinagar’s SMHS hospital show an 85 percent increase in the number of drug and substance abuse cases, from 410 in 2014 to 759 in 2016.
Combined cases of drug abuse and related psychological issues also went up from more than 14,500 cases in 2014 to 33,222 in 2016, a staggering 130 percent increase in two years and till April 2017, this number was 13,352.
A United Nations International Drug Control Programme survey in 2008 estimated 70,000 drug addicts in Kashmir, out of which 4,000 were women.
Further, the figures released by Crime Branch Kashmir of total persons arrested in relation to drug related crimes since 2012 was 614, in 2017 the number increased to 1363, an increase of 122 percent in five years.
Experts say the geographical location of Jammu and Kashmir helps in easy availability of drugs in the state. “Stress and the overall turmoil naturally play a role but other factors like peer pressure, unemployment, easy availability (of the drugs) and the fact that no one wants to talk about the issue is an area of concern, too,” said one of the psychiatrist and professor, who has been practising for years at the SMHS Hospital. According to home department data, between October 2014- 2016, more than 3800 people were treated for de-addiction in Jammu, Srinagar, Anantnag and Baramulla. The highest number of cases came from Srinagar (2,260), followed by Jammu (610), Anantnag (603) and Baramulla (391).
Pvt Schools up in arms against centre over new education policy
Srinagar, Jun 26: Private schools across the country are up in arms against the centre over the New Education Policy.
Ministry of Human Resources and Development (MHRD) recently put the New Education Policy (NEP) 2019 in the public domain. The Ministry has sought the feedback from the academicians, educationists and other concerned bodies, within one month.
However, the Private school Association (PSA) and National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) said the policy is full of flaws and sought more time for further studies and consultations.
Dr. Kulbubshan Sharma, President NISA said they need at least two months to do a comprehensive study of the policy before giving their feedback.
Sharma said the government has skipped crucial issues like gender, caste and the environment in the draft. “Human rights and constitutional rights issues are grossly excluded and Sanskrit and Yoga are projected beyond all reasonable proportions right from school education,” he said.
Another main flaw in the policy, he said, is that the government wants to extend the jurisdiction of School Management Committee (SMC), monitoring the government schools, to private institutions as well.
“Earlier a bench of 11 judges had given the historical judgment which upheld the autonomy of private schools. They want to curb the autonomy of private schools and give the unwanted powers to SMC,” Sharma said.
President NISA noted that “it seems that the main aim of the policy is to make 80 percent of students as bonded employees of the capitalist world while as 20 percent will have an upper edge on them”. “The NEP destroys the concept of equality and it is anti-poor,” he claimed.