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Food supplies dept awards transportation contract to private firm; JKSRTC protests

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By Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

Srinagar: The Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs has allotted the transportation contract to a private firm against the JK State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC).
Director of the department, Nisar Ahmad Wani, said the JKSRTC was charging more than the firm for the transportation of food-grains.
“Around Rs 5-6 lakh will be saved by this decision. We are getting cheap rates from the open market. There is a variation of 33% in the rates of the JKSRTC and the private firm,” he said.
Wani said, “We have been giving preference to the JKSRTC fleet, but they are not able to fulfill our requirement; we need more than 300 trucks.”
Wani said that JKSRTC has been providing private trucks in addition to their own fleet.
“There is a proper SRO. We are ready to take JKSRTC’s trucks provided they charge the market rates,” he said.
However, the JKSRTC employees have been saying that in 2001, the then-chief minister was apprised about the issues faced by the JKSRTC including the hiring of private vehicles by the government departments and PSUs.
“We also told the chief minister that we have been engaging trucks from open market on lower rates,” an employee in know of the developments said.
“Subsequently, SRO 157 was issued. As per the SRO, it is compulsory for the government departments and PSUs to hire the vehicles of JKSRTC.”
The employees said that the high court also passed an interim order in a case pertaining to SRO 157
“The court upheld the said SRO,” he said.
They said they cannot act as mute spectators and would fight for their rights.
Managing Director JKSRTC, Mir Afroz, said they have been providing genuine rates beside quality services.
“The rates provided have been fixed by the committee. Private vehicle owners have no rates,” he said.
He said that under Road Transport Act (RTA) of 1950, JKSRTC could hire vehicles in case the demand was high.
He said, “We can fully fulfill the transportation needs of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department.”
“We have a fleet of 450 trucks. We have no shortage of vehicles,” he said.
The JKSRTC employees began their two-day strike to protest the allotment of the contract to the private firm.

 
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Kashmir

Scientific waste disposal continues to remain a challenge in Kashmir

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, Jan 18: The authorities have not been able to strike a balance between the increased tourist inflow and the scientific disposal of garbage, official documents reveal.
“Being a popular tourist destination, issues pertaining to solid waste are on the rise in the state and need to be addressed immediately,” reveals the Housing and Urban Development (H&UD) department’s 2018 draft action plan for solid-waste management.
It says that sold waste generation has witnessed an increase of over 8 percent in a decade.
“The Central Pollution Control Board report estimates that a total of 400 metric tons of waste is generated per day in Srinagar, 62 percent of this waste is organic in nature while the remaining is inorganic including 7 percent of plastic waste,” reads the document.
An official of H&UD department said that given the rapid urbanization and growing population, this sector (waste management) needs immediate attention.
“The valley’s non-dumping options to manage waste have also shrunk drastically. Burning waste no longer seems viable because of environmental concerns and poor segregation of waste. Compost plants are not doing well because manure doesn’t sell, and again becomes garbage,” the official said.
With population of 12.36 lakh, spread over an area of 294 sq km on both sides of Jhelum, not even a single residential area or commercial establishment in Srinagar has the facility of segregation of solid waste, and much of the waste is dumped into water bodies including Dal Lake.
“Civic bodies blame residents for not segregating the waste but what’s the point when everything will eventually be mixed-up? Segregation by residents will only work when the municipal bodies have complete door-to-door waste collection system and trash pickups have separate containers for dry and wet waste,” the official added.
He said for segregation, greater civic awareness was a must.
“But municipalities must also set up the infrastructure and notify their solid-waste management policy under the 2016 rules. So far, it has remained confined to papers only,” the official said.
A recent report by NITI Aayog ‘Report of Working Group II, Sustainable Tourism in the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR)’ too revealed that waste management was a huge challenge in Jammu and Kashmir and will become much more threatening as the number of tourists grows.
J&K fares poorly, with 0.14 gm per capita per day solid waste generation, the second worst in IHR region after Mizoram.
The state has faced repeated censuring by National Green Tribunal.
J&K has witnessed a mushroom growth of tourism infrastructure around water bodies, with little or no concern for the former’s impact over the latter.

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90s massacres: Joint Hurriyat calls for shutdown on Jan 21, 25, and 27 in Kashmir parts

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Srinagar, Jan 18: The Joint Hurriyat Leadership on Friday called for shutdown in Gaw Kadal, Handwara and Kupwara to mark the anniversaries of three massacres that took place in January 1990 in these areas.
The Joint Hurriyat comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Yasin Malik, in a statement asked people to observe complete shutdown in Gawkadal, Basant Bagh, Chota Bazar, Budshah Chowk and adjacent areas on January 21 (Monday).
It also asked people to observe shutdown in Handwara and Kupwara areas on January 25 and 27 respectively on Handwara and Kupwara massacres anniversaries.
“Carnage at Gaw Kadal, Handwara and Kupwara remind us of Indian brutal occupation and oppression. Illegal Military occupation followed by such massacres symbolizes callousness under the garb of so-called democracy. The nation of Kashmir is indebted to martyrs who laid down their lives for freedom and resistance leadership pledges to continue this struggle till the achievement of the sacred goal,” the statement said.
Joint Hurriyat said Kashmir is “indebted to martyrs who laid down their lives for freedom and resistance leadership pledges to continue this struggle till the achievement of the sacred goal.”
“Days like 21st, 25th and 27th January 1990 remind us of the sacrifices rendered by our dear ones. These are the days for reiteration of our commitment towards the sacred mission and today while recalling these great sacrifices we reiterate our pledge to take forward the task of martyrs till the achievement of the desired goal,” they said.

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Kashmir

Fruit growers, dealers association meets Governor

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Jammu, Jan 18: A delegation of The Kashmir Fruit Growers and Dealers Association, from Sopore led by its president F A Malik, met Governor Satya Pal Malik at the Raj Bhavan here on Friday.
The members of the delegation requested that the KCC loans of farmers be waived off on account of damage to the horticulture crops due to unexpected hailstorm.
They also requested that unhindered movement of fresh fruits outside the State be allowed.
“They also requested sanctioning of adequate funds for development of Fruit Mandi at Sopore; installation of High Mast Lights at Fruit Mandi Sopore and enroute from Sopore Bye-Pass to the Fruit Mandi; availability of quality pesticides and Tree Spray oils at genuine rates; construction of a fly over from Chakrodaykhan up to Hakim Sonaullah Hospital and Fruit Mandi; sanctioned railway track from Baramulla to Kupwara be routed from Amargarh Sopore station with a station in vicinity of Fruit Mandi; construction of a truck terminal at Tulball, Sopore and revival of juice plant at Doabgah,” a Raj Bhavan Spokesperson said.
Governor assured due consideration of their demands.

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