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‘Darbar’ opens in Jammu: Lt Guv accorded ceremonial reception; interacts with officers, visits PHQ

Monitor News Bureau

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Jammu, Nov 4: Amid tight security arrangements, Civil Secretariat — the seat of Jammu & Kashmir government — and other offices reopened in Jammu on November 4 after functioning for six months in Srinagar as part of the nearly 150-year-old practice locally known as ‘Darbar Move’.

The bi-annual shift is the first after the State’s bifurcation into two Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh which came into existence on October 31.

G.C. Murmu, who assumed office as the first Lieutenant Governor of the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir on October 31 at Raj Bhavan in Srinagar, inspected the traditional guard of honour given to him by a police contingent at the Civil Secretariat lawns at 9.30 a.m., marking the opening of move offices here.

 

He was received by the Chief Secretary, B V R Subrahmanyam, Director General of Police, Dilbag Singh, Administrative Secretaries and a large number of officers and employees of the Civil Secretariat.

However, Murmu skipped the customary press conference which was a usual practice by the head of the administration in the erstwhile State and instead straightway went inside the secretariat to embark on his official work.

The Secretariat and other government offices closed in Srinagar on October 25-26 after functioning there for six months. The other offices which resumed functioning here include Raj Bhavan and the Police headquarters.

Police and paramilitary forces have been deployed in strength in the city, especially on the roads leading to the Civil Secretariat as part of security measures to ensure the smooth functioning of the administration from Jammu.

The main road outside the secretariat was closed for civilian movement with barricades and heavy deployment of policemen. Only the civil secretariat employees are being allowed on the road after thorough checking.

Later, Lt. Governor held a meeting with Administrative Secretaries where discussed important and urgent administrative issues.

In another meeting, Lt. Governor interacted with all the officers of the Civil Secretariat and sought their suggestions for further improving the quality and pace of work, in an open house.

 Lieutenant Governor reiterated the resolve of the government for tirelessly working towards ensuring responsive and good governance at all levels. He advised the officers to keep public welfare as a central motto while discharging their duties.

Lt. Governor also visited the Police Headquarters where he received a Guard of Honour. Dilbag Singh, DGP, and other senior Police officers interacted with the Lt. Governor and briefed him about the law and order scenario and multiple challenges before the J&K Police.

Lt. Governor praised the role of the J&K Police for maintenance of law and order and complimented the Force for peaceful conduct of elections to the Panchayat and Urban Local Bodies.

He advised the Police Officers to stay alert and deal firmly with the elements inimical to the safety and security of state and stressed stern action against people involved in economic offences. He appreciated the synergy existing between the Police, Army, Central Armed Police Forces and Civil Administration and urged working with same zeal for maintenance of peace and security in J&K.

 The practice of ‘Darbar Move’— under which the government functions in Jammu during six months of winter and in Srinagar during summer — was started by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1872 to escape extreme weather conditions in the two regions.

However, the practice was continued even after Independence with the aim of providing governance benefits to both Kashmir and Jammu regions for six months by turns.

While Jammu and Srinagar cities benefit from this practice as the roads and other infrastructure gets the basic minimum repairs done on an annual basis, the Darbar Move incurs expenditure of crores of rupees.

The practice involves moving voluminous files between Jammu and Srinagar and thousands of employees between the two cities in hundreds of buses and trucks.

The employees who work in the move offices get almost two weeks of free holidays and compensatory allowances twice every year.

Several political parties have in the past demanded scrapping the practice and instead establishing permanent offices both at Jammu and Srinagar.


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After mysterious threat posters: Shutdown stages comeback in Kashmir

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Nov 21:  Barely a week into normalcy, Kashmir observed an instant shutdown on Thursday after mysterious threat posters appeared in the old city.

Shops and business establishments remained closed.  Slender traffic movement however was observed on the Srinagar roads.

For the last one week, shops and business establishments, which would normally close before noon, remained open till late afternoon. Public transport had also hit roads after three and half month’s hiatus.

 

But on Thursday, shutdown returned to parts of the valley following mysterious threat posters. On Wednesday unknown people had put up posters in old city asking shopkeepers to observe hartal.

What added to the crisis was the mysterious fire that razed four shops to ground at Bohri Kadal on Wednesday. The incident also prompted shopkeepers to down shutters. Unknown people had inscribed “Last Warning” on the shutters of various shops at Zaina Kadal, apparently to enforce shutdown in the old city.

“None of the shops opened today as some warning posters had come up in downtown yesterday,” said a shopkeeper from Bohri Kadal.

Impact of warning posters was also seen in Lal Chowk, Residency Road, Maisuma and Hari Singh High Street, which for the last one week saw huge rush of shoppers.

Traffic which plied normally till noon, thinned later in the day with few passenger vehicles plying in civil line areas. Complete shutdown was also observed in south Kashmir’s Pulwama, Kulgam, Anantnag, and Shopian. Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district too observed shutdown.

Police sources said they are trying to identify the people who put up threat posters in the old city. “We are enquiring. We are looking into the case,” said VK Birdhi, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Central Kashmir Range.

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WPD seeks help to protect migratory birds flocking Kashmir wetlands

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Nov 21: As migratory birds start flocking wetlands in Jammu and Kashmir, the Wildlife Protection Department (WPD) has sought assistance from the forest protection force and the police to prevent hunting, poaching, capturing and selling of the winged visitors.

Lakhs of birds start arriving in the valley from the first week of November as Kashmir provides them a comparatively hospitable alternate habitat compared to the extreme freezing conditions in their natural habitats in Siberia, China, Japan and other countries in the northern hemisphere.

“The general public is informed that hunting, poaching, capturing and selling of migratory birds is punishable under Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Any person venturing to hunt, poach, capture or sell these birds is liable to a jail term of one year along with fine up to Rs 10,000,” WPD said in a statement here.

 

It said the hunting, poaching, capturing or sale of these birds is non-bailable and non-compoundable offences.

“The department seeks assistance from the forest protection force and the local police to prevent hunting, poaching, capturing and selling of these migratory birds in the wetlands of Kashmir,” the statement said.

It said these birds are enlisted in various schedules of Indian Wildlife Protection Act and receive complete protection against hunting, poaching, capturing and selling.

The birds found in the wetlands include migratory ducks and geese which include Brahminy Duck, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Garganey, Greylag Goose, Mallard, Common Merganser, Northern Pintail, Common Pochard, Ferruginous Pochard, Red-Crested Pochard, Ruddy Shelduck, Northern Shoveler, Common Teal, and Eurasian Wigeon.

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Post abrogation of Art 370: Multinationals, manufacturing giants make beeline to set up units in UT

J&K receives `Expression of Interest’ worth Rs 3000 Cr

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Nov 20: Dalmia Bharat Group, Singapore Electric vehicles and Dubai-based Lulu Internationals are among over 40 companies, which have shown interest in investing in Jammu and Kashmir post abrogation of Article 370.  

Jammu and Kashmir, which was a no-go- zone for outside investors, has been opened for all national and international business players after the scrapping of special status on August 5.

A source told The Kashmir Monitor that more than 40 companies have submitted their ‘Expression of Interest’ to invest in 10 different sectors in Jammu and Kashmir.

 

Hospitality, Tourism, Education, Information Technology, Horticulture, Agriculture, Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSME) and manufacturing are some of the sectors which companies have zeroed in on.

“Prominent among these companies include Escott Infrastructure, Dalmia Bharat Group, Shree Cements, Jackson Group, Indian School of Business, Singapore Electric Vehicles and Lulu Group. They have submitted the proposals for setting up their units in Jammu and Kashmir,” the source said.

With an annual turnover of Rs 70, 000 crore, Dalmia Bharat Group is a renowned business house in India, which deals with cement, sugar, thermal power and other businesses.

Similarly, Kolkata-based Shree Cement, which has annual turnover of Rs 58.50 billion, has shown interest in setting up its unit in Jammu and Kashmir.

Singapore based Singapore Electric Vehicles Pvt Ltd, a commercial electric fleet company, has desired to invest in the manufacturing sector.

Founded in 2001, Indian School of Business, a private business college, has expressed readiness to invest in the education sector by setting up its campuses in the union territory.

Helmet manufacturing giant ‘Steelbird’ has also offered to set up a plant in Jammu and Kashmir. Hospitality player ‘Lemon Tree’ has also proposed two new properties with 35-40 beds each in Gulmarg and Sonmarg areas.

An official privy to the development said government has received 60 ‘Expression of Interests’ so far, which is worth approximately Rs 3000 crore.

“Some companies have submitted their Expression of Interests twice. Some wants to build tourism infrastructure and others want to set up industries,” he said.

Managing Director SIDCO, Ravinder Kumar told The Kashmir Monitor that a committee has been constituted to review the ‘Expression of Interest’ by these companies. “We are going to review the Expression of Interests in 10 to 12 days,” he said.

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