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Forget mobiles, people scramble for landline telephony in Kashmir

Kashmir back to Graham Bell era

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar: Outside a two-storied house of Ghulam Mohammad Dar at Rajbagh, a large number of people have been queuing up since last week to dial their loved ones living outside the valley.

Dar is one of the few people who still have a landline phone facility at home. Earlier this month, landline services were restored in some civil line areas of Srinagar after weeks of communication gag. The government had suspended mobile and landline phone services on the intervening night of August 4 and 5.

As soon as the news regarding the restoration of telephone services spread, people rushed to the households having landline telephone facility to contact their loved ones.

 

Maimoona Begum, 60, had not been able to contact her son Aamir for almost three weeks. She was the first to rush to Dar’s house to contact her son who was facing an acute financial crunch as the family could not transfer money due to internet blockade.

“We would transfer him money via internet every week. Since the suspension of internet and phone services we have had no contact with him,” she said.

Hashim Ahmad, a resident of Hazratbal in Srinagar outskirts, travelled 10 kilometres on foot to Jawahar Nagar to call his father who is working in a private firm at New Delhi.

“We lost contact with him since August 4. He might be worried about the situation in Kashmir. I am looking for an STD booth or someone who could help me in contacting my dad,” he said.

For the last two weeks, scores of the customers have rushed to local BSNL office to restore their landlines, which they had disconnected for many months or years.

Irfan Hussain, a subscriber from Aali Kadal in old city, had almost given up the idea of using his landline connection. On Monday, he rushed to BSNL office to clear his pending dues with a hope that his phone might be restored.

“We have heard that landlines will only function in Kashmir. Many in my Mohalla have cleared their dues to restore the abandoned landline connections,” he said.

Meanwhile, reports said that many STD booths have come up within Srinagar city where telephone services have been restored by the government.


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16 dead in Doda road mishap

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Nov 12: Sixteen people, including five women and three children, were killed on Tuesday when a passenger vehicle skidded off the road and fell into a deep gorge in Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda district, police said.

Senior Superintendent of Police, Doda, Mumtaz Ahmad said one more person was rescued from the accident site near Marmat area of the hilly district in a critical condition and admitted to hospital for treatment.

Twelve people were killed on the spot after the accident and four more succumbed to injuries while undergoing treatment, the SSP told PTI.

 

Officials said the SUV was headed for Gowa village of Marmat from Kleeni when its driver lost control while negotiating a blind curve and the vehicle fell into the 700-metre-deep gorge around 3.25 pm.

The condition of the only survivor, who was initially treated at a local hospital and later shifted to the Government Medical College Hospital Jammu, is critical, they said.

Meanwhile, a minor boy was crushed to death by a speedy truck near Miran Sahib in the outskirts of Jammu on Tuesday.

Sumit Kumar, a Class 7 student, was crossing the road outside his house when he was hit by the truck, a police official said, adding that the erring driver was arrested and the vehicle seized.

Meanwhile, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu Sanjeev Verma expressed grief and shock over loss of lives in Doda road mishap.

The Divisional Commissioner said that the accident is heart-wrenching. “We mourn all those who lost their lives and express deep condolences to the bereaved families” he said. He prayed for fast recovery of the survivor.

The administration has ordered an inquiry to ascertain the reasons for the tragic mishap.

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LG reviews situation post snowfall: ‘Provide relief for damaged structures, death and injuries’

Monitor News Bureau

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Jammu, Nov 12: Lt. Governor, Girish Chandra Murmu reviewed the situation arising due to heavy snowfall in Kashmir and issued directions to the concerned officers for prompt action to alleviate miseries of people due to heavy snowfall in the Valley.

BVR Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary; Bipul Pathak, Principal Secretary to Lt. Governor; Hirdesh Kumar, Secretary PDD;  Sanjeev Verma, Divisional Commissioner Jammu; Ajeet Kumar Sahu, Secretary PHE; Khurshid Ahmad Shah, Secretary PWD; Sh. Pandurang Pole, Secretary  Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction and Alok Kumar, IGP Traffic, J&K participated in the meeting.

Through video conferencing, Baseer Ahmad Khan, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, briefed Lt. Governor about the status of the restoration of power supply, clearance of snow from the roads, adequacy of food items, fuel, water supply, availability of medicines and other basic amenities in areas of heavy snowfall in Kashmir.

 

Divisional Commissioner Kashmir informed that machines have been put in place for snow clearance, Centres for relief facilities have been set up in 3 places on the National Highway with sufficient stocking of essential commodities including dry ration, heaters, blankets, and provision of water and toilet facilities. He added that these Centres have the capacity to accommodate 1500 people at a time.

It was informed that 602 winter dumping stations have been established in inaccessible areas of Kashmir with all the basic necessities stocked for 6 months, these areas are mostly situated in the districts of Kupwara, Bandipora, Baramulla, Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag and a few areas in Budgam district.

The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir informed that winter control rooms have been established at district and sub divisional level and their telephone numbers have been widely publicized. All officers/officials have been asked not to leave stations without proper permission. Besides officers are touring extensively in areas of their jurisdiction to oversee public facilities.

Khan informed that snow clearance from roads and restoration of electricity supply has been done in record time and train services in the Valley have again started working from today. It was informed that 100 % major roads and more than 95 % internal roads in every district of Kashmir have been cleared for traffic movement. 95 % of the electricity supply in Srinagar district, 78% in Pulwama, 73 % in Kulgam and 70% each in Shopian and Ganderbal has been restored. Provision of alternate electricity supply for Baramulla and Kupwara districts has been made from Lower Jhelum, Kishenganga and Dilena sub-station. This interim arrangement has been made till electric lines are restored in these districts.

As regarding water supply, Divisional Commissioner informed that 680 out of 859 water schemes are fully functional with 100 % water supply restoration in Srinagar, Anantnag, Bandipora, Kulgam and Ganderbal  and more than 90 % in other districts. He informed that 80 stationary and 105 vehicle mounted pumps have been pre-positioned at vulnerable places to avoid inundation of low lying areas.

Divisional Commissioner Kashmir further informed that 64,700 candidates appeared for 10th class examination today and adequate heating and lighting facilities were available at all the examination centres. He said that teams have also been constituted to check overcharging and hoarding of essential items by the traders.

Chief Secretary informed that Rs. 20 crore for Kashmir and Rs. 10 crore for Jammu have been provided and asked both the Divisional Commissioners to utilize the funds sanctioned under the SDRF.

Divisional Commissioner Kashmir told that the SDRF teams have also been kept ready for carrying out rescue operations in upper reaches in case of landslides.

While reviewing the traffic management, Lt. Governor suggested for setting up kiosks wherever the space for traffic boy is not available. He directed deployment of adequate traffic personnel with provision of uninterrupted communication channels for smooth flow of traffic particularly along the Jammu-Srinagar Highway. He advised the PDD to ensure well designed towers for future including laying out of underground cables to protect the supply and directed the PHE Department for providing more vehicle mounted pumps.

Lt. Governor directed Divisional Commissioner Jammu to identify land for facilitating passengers who get stranded due to landslides on the Jammu-Srinagar Highway and create facilities for provision of food, water, toilets, tents and medicines.

Lt. Governor directed the administration to put in added efforts in mitigating the difficulties of the people and meeting their requirements. He advised constant monitoring and all out efforts for ensuring public convenience. He directed for providing immediate relief for damaged structures and in cases of death and those injured.

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JK still a state for different govt depts

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Nov 12: For different government departments, Jammu and Kashmir is still a state with its own flag.

Sample this: Satya Pal Malik is still shown as Governor on the official website of Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir.

Malik was recently appointed as Governor of Goa while Girish Chandra Murmu took over as Lieutenant Governor of J&K on October 31.   

 

On August 5, Centre abrogated Article 370 and from November 1, the state was officially bifurcated into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. 

A picture displayed on the General Administration Department website shows erstwhile J&K’s state flag on the civil secretariat Srinagar.  The state that was governed through its own constitution has lost legal status and the state flag.

The websites of the Jammu Kashmir Power Development Department and State Electricity Regularly Commission have neither been updated and nor its old information has been removed.

In fact websites of most of the departments are either not updated or defunct.

Take for instance the website of Legal Metrology Department has not been updated for months. Similarly, departments like Social Welfare Department, Forest, Health, Medical Education, Industries and Commerce have not been updated for months neither the outdated information has been removed from the websites.

Jammu and Kashmir Government Spokesperson Rohit Kansal said he will take up the issue with concerned departments for updating official websites.  

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