Srinagar, Dec 2: Fearing that the government decision would increase “loot of forests”, Jammu and Kashmir (Non- Gazetted) employees association on Sunday demanded immediate rollback of the recent hike in the timber prices by the governor administration.
Mir Nazir, state president of J&K (Non- Gazetted) forest officers association (NGFOA), also threatened statewide protest if the order was not rolled back immediately.
“The authorities are trying to make the corporation financially strong on the shoulders of poor people. This happened first time in the history of forest department right from Maharaja rule,” Mir said.
“The hike in the rates will cost more risk to the forest employees (territorial). By this decision, the government has actually annoyed poor people who might resort to forest loot given that they need timber to build residential homes and may not afford to purchase it through the exorbitant and very high rates set by the government,” he told GNS, and demanded immediate revocation of the order.
He said that the task of distribution shall be resorted back to the forest department.
He said whenever there are forest fires, people living close to the forests rush to douse off the flames.
“The main reason for them to douse the flames is to ensure that forest cover is needed by them and the need includes the timber,” he said.
The people putting up in the forest areas have also voiced concern over the hike in the timber prices and have demanded its immediate rollback.
Expressing concern over it, the people said that if the order was not revoked, there were apprehensions of more timber smuggling due to “unprecedented” hike in the prices.
“We are poor people and cannot afford money to purchase the timer at such unprecedented hike. There are chances of more timber smuggling,” said Mohammad Sultan flanked by other residents of Kupwara district.
The new order was issued on November 22. The government till recently provided highly subsidized timber to people living near forests and villages to discourage smuggling. However, the rates of the timber have been increased several times. People used to get the quality Deodar timber at Rs 350 per cft that now is priced at Rs 1210 for Above Poverty Line (APL) people while for Below Poverty Line (BPL) it will be now more than double the cost – at Rs 712.
Similarly, the new rate for Kail timber is Rs 776 for APL and Rs 458 for BPL, while as Fir (Badlu) timber will be provided at the rate of Rs 403 and Rs 237 for BPL.
The people said the adverse weather in this Himalayan region has made the construction of houses a basic necessity, and hike the rates to such level was unbearable. The order must be revoked at the earliest, they demanded.
An official echoed the concern of the people and asked the government to relook into the order.
“Most of the people living in the vicinity of forests are backward and even middle-class people would not be able to bear the costs,” he said.
‘Rising communalism’ taking toll on Urdu: Farooq
All-India Urdu book fair at Kashmir University
Srinagar, Jun 15: National Conference Party president Farooq Abdullah Saturday inaugurated 23rd All India Urdu book fair (Kul Hind Urdu Mela) organized by National council for promotion of Urdu language at University of Kashmir.
Farooq who was chief guest on the occasion visited 51 stalls being erected by book sellers from across India.
Books on various subjects from all across the country have been put on display for the readers.
Party president in his address said that there was a “kind of communal mentality that is spreading a malicious propaganda about Urdu language.”
“Urdu has never belonged to a particular sect or faith. Urdu is a representative language of Ganga-Jammuna Tahzeeb of India; the language has been watered by both Hindus and Muslims. The existence of Urdu language owes a lot to Munshi Prem Chand and others,” he said.
Farooq said the “rise of communalism in the country is taking toll on the language.”
“Today we see homogeneity being forced on our country that has always been known for its diversity. This I believe is one of the diminishing factors of Urdu from our day to day lives,” he said.
“However I take this opportunity to welcome the initiative of NCPUL for coming up with such fairs annually. Events like these provide a window of opportunity for those who have a penchant for Urdu literature. Such festivals and fairs will surely acquaint the new generation about the contemporary happening in the field of Urdu literature,” he said.
Party president on the occasion underscored the need giving equal respect to local languages.
“Kashmiri languages known for its richness, particularly for its poetry, maxims and other literary aspects; the need of the hour is to get our new generation acquainted with it. Similarly the speakers of other languages take equal pride in speaking their languages. It is thus imperative for a government to provide patronage to all the languages of the state,” he said.
Among others Vice Chancellor University of Kashmir Talat Ahmad, registrar Nisar Ahmad, Director NCPUL Dr Sheikh Nida were also present on the occasion.
National Geriatric Conference held in Srinagar
Srinagar, Jun 15: For commemorating World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir Saturday organised National Geriatric Conference in collaboration with Geriatric Society of India (GSI) and Government College of Education, Srinagar, at College of Education here
In her keynote address, Director Health Services, Kashmir, Dr Kunzes Dolma, who was the chief Guest on the occasion, said: “Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir is committed for the health and well-being of the geriatric population”.
Commending the efforts put in by Geriatric Consultant Dr Zubair Saleem for the advancement of Geriatrics in Kashmir, she added, “I congratulate Dr Zubair for tirelessly helping our senior citizens for leading a pain-free life.”
Special Guest Dr Aabha Chaudhary, Chairperson, Anugraha Centre on Ageing, in her speech, said: “I am glad to see that such conferences are being held in Kashmir. My organisation would further strengthen the relationship with Government of Jammu and Kashmir and Ahata Waqar (Elderly Day-care Centre) for the common issues pertaining to the elderly population”.
She also applauded Dr Saleem for his relentless services towards the health of the elderly.
Dr. Saleem, the Geriatric Consultant in his address said: “Government alone cannot come up to all the expectations of elderly health as Geriatrics is still in infancy in Kashmir. Civil Society too needs to come forward and lend a helping hand in giving a healthy and dignified life to elderly.”
On the occasion, a book ‘Mere Yaden’, authored by former Headmaster Tyndale Biscoe School Roshan Lal Kachru was released as a tribute to the creative contributions by senior citizens.
To felicitate the individuals who strived for the advancement of Geriatric Medicine in Kashmir during last one year, certificates of appreciation and awards were given on the occasion. The Outstanding Individual Achievement Award was given to Dr Zubair Saleem by Director Health Services, Kashmir.
He was also felicitated by Rehabilitation Alliance Kashmir, Batamaloo Traders Association, Kashmir Traders & Manufacturers Federation for his selfless contribution towards the betterment of marginalized elderly of Kashmir.
Others who were awarded on the occasion include Dr Kunzes Dolma; Dr Zakir Hussain Khan, MS, JLNM Hospital; Dr Talat Jabeen, CMO Srinagar; Dr Shakeel ur Rehman, Kashmir Clinics; and Ajaz Rashid, Umeed Foundation.
Scientific papers were also presented by Dr H Waqar, Associate Professor, GMC Baramulla, Dr Nasir Shamas, Consultant JLNM Hospital and Dr Iftikhar Wani, Consultant Orthopedics, B&J Hospital.
The conference was coordinated by Prof Gurmeet Kour, Govt College of Education, Srinagar.
Burglary gang which stole cigarettes, copperware busted
Srinagar, Jun 15: Srinagar police Saturday busted a gang of burglars who had stolen property worth lakhs.
Addressing media persons here at Police Station Safa Kadal, SSP Srinagar, Dr Haseeb Mughal said that the gang was involved in a series of burglaries and attempts to burglary within the district.
The SSP was accompanied by SP (North) Sajjad Ahmad and other police officers.
The modus-operandi of the gang, as per the police spokesperson, was to recce the big godowns/ware houses and shops in the district and strike in the dead of the night and decamp with valuables especially cigarettes, he said, adding that the gang would take the help of special implements like bolt-cutters, etc to break open the locks and get access to the godowns without creating much noise.
“The gang was technically updated and used to take CCTVs and electronic surveillance equipment along with them and dispose it off so as to destroy any sort of video footage/evidence. The police started seriously working on the leads after a godown at Baghinand Singh was burgled and goods (Cigarettes) worth lakhs of rupees were looted,” he said.
He added that in this connection a case under FIR number 76/2019 under section 457, 380 RPC was registered in Police Station Safakadal and investigation taken up.
On the directions of SSP Srinagar and SP City North, a special investigation team was constituted headed by SDPO M.R. Gunj Feroz Qadri assisted by SHO Police Station Safakadal Adil Rashid, Incharge Police Post Baghiyas Shanawaz Ahmed and incharge Police Post Noorbagh Sheikh Ajaz Ahmad.
Working on the leads after strenuous efforts and utilizing both technical and scientific aids, the team zeroed in on a few suspects. “Special team succeeded in identifying the suspects and their arrests were made in one go, so that chances of escape and destruction of stolen property is avoided,” he said.
After thorough questioning of the suspects, the team finally succeeded in making break-through and was able to nab a group of organised notorious burglars from various parts of city and its adjoining districts.
Those arrested included Mohammad Yaseen Hajam, son of Ghulam Mustafa, resident of Trikolbal Pattan, Muzaffar Ahmad Dar, son of Ghulam Mohammad Dar, resident of Hanjiwera Pattan, Altaf Ahmad Mir, son of Ghulam Ahmad Mir, resident of Khumani Chowk Bemina, Irfan Ahmad Nagar, son of Ghulam Nabi, resident of Saida Kadal and Serwar Hussain Bhat, son of Bashir Ahmad Bhat, resident of Labartal Budgam.
SP North told media persons that Yaseen Hajjam, who lead the group, was the mastermind of all burglaries.
Stolen property worth several lakhs was recovered on the disclosure of the arrested accused and vehicles used in the commission of crimes were also seized.
The recoveries as per the police so far include Copper utensils of different make, Electric/ Electronic appliances, Cigarettes of different brands worth several lakhs while as the seized vehicles so far include Scorpio DL43CNB 5501, Santro JKOIR 2266, Honda City DL7CF 8139 and Maruti DL3CAD 8969.
The investigation of the case is going on and more arrests and recoveries are expected, he said.
Meanwhile, all the vehicles seized are Delhi based, which seems that somebody from the outside have also links with the gangs, which is being investigated and will come to the conclusion soon.