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Dulat welcomes ceasefire proposal, questions Pak silence on it




Srinagar, May 11: Former Raw Chief Amarjeet Singh Dulat while terming the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s call for Ramzan ceasefire a welcome move, Friday said Pakistan must take a lead and clear its position as a major responsibility lies on the neighboring country for making the call a “grand success.”

Dulat also said the leaders like Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq should make a fervent appeal to the stone pelters hitting streets, to give peace a chance and to refrain from attacking forces.

Dulat, who spoke to Kashmir News Service, said: “Unilateral Ceasefire proposal from the Jammu and Kashmir government is a welcome step, but let Pakistan respond and clear its position. I think government can’t announce a ceasefire while attacks by militants on security forces continue. Even the Army Chief has said that he is “ready to suspend” military operations to avoid civilian casualties, but who will guarantee that there won’t be fire at forces and their vehicles.” he maintained.


Dulat said that the unilateral ceasefire was also declared by the then Prime Minister Vajpayee in 2000. “Though the ceasefire was declared only for Ramzan, it was extended for the next few months. I believe it cannot be accepted that the government will announce a ceasefire and militants continue attacks on our security forces,” the former RAW chief said.

He however said that the ceasefire may be a better option to tackle the local sentiment and anger that is pushing local Kashmiris to militancy despite the ‘successes in anti-militancy operations.

He further said that it is unfortunate that stone pelters are hitting streets daily and pelt stones. “Even I have seen students and girls are coming out on the streets to pelt stones. I think they are spoiling Kashmir,” he maintained.

He further said that the Hurriyat leaders like Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq should make a fervent appeal to the stone pelters to give peace a chance and to refrain from attacking forces.

Dulat has worked in Kashmir for several years having served as the Intelligence Bureau’s (IB) special director in Srinagar during former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure. Not only did he supervise the intelligence network during this period, but he was also advisor on Kashmir in the PMO during Vajpayee’s tenure.

His book Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years had created a lot of ripples as he became one of the few members of the Indian security and intelligence community to advocate a reduced military presence in Kashmir and to argue the need for India to build confidence amongst Kashmiris through humanitarian measures.

It is to mention here that Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has said that she will ask the Centre to consider Ramzan ceasefire in the Valley as was done by Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 2000.

Speaking to reporters after an all-party meeting convened by the PDP-BJP government over the security situation in the Valley, Mehbooba had said, “Everyone agreed that we must appeal to Centre that it must think about a unilateral ceasefire like Vajpayee ji did in 2000. Encounters, crackdowns are causing trouble to common man. Efforts must be made to maintain environment so that both Eid and Amarnath Yatra are peaceful.” She had said.

She had said that everyone present at the meeting was in agreement that if agenda of alliance between BJP and PDP is followed, then situation in J&K can be changed.

However according to one of the National News Papers, Senior BJP leader and the Deputy Chief Minister of the state Kavinder Gupta has said that during Wednesday’s all-party meeting, leaders had suggested a ceasefire but there was no consensus.(KNS)


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JK’s liability swells

Mudassir Kuloo



Srinagar, Jan 17: Similar to previous years, Jammu and Kashmir has accrued a liability of over Rs 7,000 crore in the ongoing fiscal even as experts blame state’s political leadership for not finding a solution to the issue.

Official documents of the finance department reveal that the state is running a liability of Rs 7,531 crore so far this fiscal, a figure close to the annual build-up J&K witnesses every year.

The total liabilities for the state have now swelled up to over Rs 68,000 crore.“The three fiscal parameters–revenue deficit, fiscal deficit and outstanding liability–indicate the extent of overall fiscal balance in the finances of the state government during the specified period. The nature of deficit is an indicator of the prudence of budgetary policy of the state government. Another useful measure of the deficit-base in a state’s fiscal policy is the State’s Own Deficit (SOD),” the documents reveal.


Noted economist, Professor Nisar Ali said the state’s expenditure and revenue system has been “mismanaged”.“The power purchase has been an important factor for swelling liabilities. The GST has further increased the mismanagement between expenditure and tax revenue,” he said.

Prof Ali also blamed J&K’s political leadership for increasing liabilities.“The annual liabilities increase due to power purchases despite the state having huge hydro resources. The state’s leadership has failed to fight for the return of power projects.

“It also depends upon the government of India how it wants to find a solution to this problem,” he added.

Endorsing Prof Ali’s views, a senior official of the finance department said that little or no use of revenue generation avenues, increasing power purchases and bulging expenditure on salaries are the main contributors to the escalating liabilities of the state.“There is a steep rise in salary and pension bills, power deficit, rising interest liabilities, loan repayments, and deficit on account of non-tax revenue,” the official said.


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Conducive atmosphere inevitable for dialogue: Farooq



Srinagar, Jan 17: Former Chief Minister and National Conference (NC) president, Dr Farooq Abdullah on Thursday said that the favourable atmosphere is inevitable for dialogue, which is the only way out to settle the issues.
Addressing party workers in Jammu, Dr Farooq said that the dialogue is the only way out to resolve the issues but there is a need of conducive atmosphere which is inevitable. He added that “under the shades of gun, no dialogue process is possible. We have to stop bullet culture for lasting peace in the region.”
“NC has also given priority to the people. When I became Chief Minister in 1996, I fought with many things as the school were shut, no bridge was there, no office was functioning as the people were frightened by the turmoil then, but I stood up to fight against the forces who were inimical to peace.”
About 35 percent reservation in other states, Dr Farooq said that the incumbent Chief Minister of Odissa, Naveen Patnayak has written to him, suggesting there should be reservation of 35 percentfor women in Jammu and Kashmir also. “We will implement the law, which will ensure 35 percent reservation to women in the State once getting into the power,” he said.
However, he said that it is not easy to take such decisions as when his government took a decision to make 50 percent reservation for girls in Medical College then some people knocked the door of Supreme Court to put halt over the decision.
Dr Farooq also appealed the party workers to work hard and ensure the win of NC leaders who will be contesting the elections.

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Abundant snowfall in January makes Gulmarg the perfect winter-destination for tourists

Bisma Bhat



Srinagar, Jan 17: Unlike last January, the abundant snowfall so far this month has attracted a lot of tourists to Gulmarg as the destination is brimming with over 90 per cent occupancy these days.

The valley has received at least four moderate to heavy snowfalls this year with an even stronger wet spell predicted from January 19 to 23.
Tourists from across the world are cherishing this and making their way to Gulmarg, whose slopes offer a perfect destination for skiing.

Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, CEO Gulmarg Development Authority, Syed Hanief Balkhi said that most of the hotels are fully occupied as people are heading to Gulmarg to enjoy the charismatic scenery offered by the snow-covered hills.“Gulmarg is under 4-5 feet snow and is looking like a playground these days. Tourists from India and abroad enjoy skiing, snow cycling, ice skating, snow-sculptor activity, sledge-racing and other games here,” he said.


Apart from the hoteliers, the rush of the tourists, Balkhi said, has provided good workdays for sledge keepers, skating guides, local cab drivers and many others associated with tourism.

In 2018, as per the official figures, Gulmarg received 5.76 lakh tourists as compared to 5.69 lakh in the preceding year.

The tourism players also expressed satisfaction over the rush of tourists heading to the valley.

President Hotel and Restaurant Owners Federation, Wahid Malik said that snowfalls have pushed up the number of tourists visiting the valley.
“Gulmarg saw lesser arrival when winters begun, however, now the snow has ensured all the hotels and resorts are booked,” he said adding that Gulmarg hotels are running on 90 per cent occupancy so far this season.

Gulmarg is declared the ‘heartland of winter sports in India’ by the Winter Games Federation. This year too, Gulmarg Tourism Authority is going to organise winter sports carnival starting from the first week of February.

Additional Director Tourism Department, Nasir Khan said that Gulmarg is “rocking these days as it has received 34,712 and 35,022 tourists in the month of November and December”.

“We are going to organize the winter carnival from the next month to make the place more attractive,” he said.

He added that night market and cultural shows will also be arranged by the department.

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