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GoI asks JK Govt for detailed proposal on Jhelum dredging

Nisar Dharma

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Srinagar, July 4: The Government of India has asked for a detailed proposal on the vital Jhelum dredging project from the state government and is ready to fully fund the project under the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) announced for the state in 2015.
Jhelum, the river that crisscrosses through the valley, was supposed to be dredged for increasing its carrying capacity in wake of the 2014 floods that submerged many parts of the city.
However, even after four years, the authorities have not completed the dredging and a few days of rainfall fills the river up to its banks creating panic among the residents.
Kashmir, only a few days ago, was gearing up for another deluge hadn’t the rains stopped and the water levels receded.
Keeping the dreary record of authorities in mind, the Centre, a source told The Kashmir Monitor, is mulling to supervise the project on its own and fully fund it but expects the state government to file a detailed proposal and pace up the work.
On Wednesday Advisor to Governor, Khurshid Ahmed Ganai, held a meeting in this regard.
“On dredging the Jhelum, the meeting was informed that central government has asked for a detailed proposal from the state government for full funding of the project under PMDP,” a government spokesman said.
Ganai, as per the spokesman, said that every possible effort would be made to get more funds for accelerating the developmental initiatives being implemented under the centrally sponsored schemes.
The Advisor was speaking at a meeting with administrative secretaries to review the progress of implementation of the centrally-sponsored schemes (CSSs).
The administrative secretaries of various departments including PHE, Irrigation & FC, Education, Floriculture, Agriculture, Revenue, Social Welfare, Tourism, Motor Vehicle Department, Horticulture, Roads & Buildings and other concerned attended the meeting.
The administrative secretaries apprised the Advisor about several issues pertaining to the implementation of various centrally-sponsored schemes in the state.
It was further informed that the social welfare department has raised several issues with the central government for smooth implementation of the departmental schemes.
During the review of the Agriculture sector, the Advisor asked the officials to raise the issue of adequate funding of farmer-related schemes with the central government.
Similarly, the officers of Education department apprised the Advisor of its issues related to SSA scheme which requires funding to the tune of Rs 800 crore.
The meeting also discussed the merger of SSA related schemes under Samagra Shiksha scheme as proposed by the Government of India.
Under PMGSY scheme the R&B department furnished cumulative figures of 1500 crore that are required to carry out the developmental works under phase 10-12, besides other works in the state.
The officials from other departments informed the Advisor that there are no major issues pending with their respective department with regard to the implementation of various centrally-sponsored schemes.

Nisar joined The Kashmir Monitor as a reporter in June 2015. Since then, he has been consistently covering beats including conflict, politics, education, and health.

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Large sums of money involved : Agents honey trapped, blackmailed IAS officer for gun licenses

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By Special Correspondent

Srinagar, July 18:  Investigation into fake gun license racket in Udhampur has revealed sensational details about the involvement of the district’s former Deputy Commissioner Niraj Kumar in the scam.

As per sources, the state government has already registered an anti-corruption case against the IAS officer as more skeletons continue to tumble out of the closet.

Highly placed sources say that the IAS officer, with the local gun mafia and touts, violated all norms related to the gun licensing criteria.

As per law, the DM is the nodal officer for issuing gun licenses, but only after due diligence by police.

Sources said the investigation, carried out by Anti- Terror Squad (ATS) of Rajasthan Police, has revealed that the former Deputy Commissioner had relaxed the norms for issuing the gun license to the agents.

Instead of working on the licensing process in the office the accused IAS officer had prepared the list for issuing these licenses ‘illegally’ at his official residence.

As per investigators, all the paper work including the signing off on the final license was done away with from the DC’s office.

Investigators also believe that a huge amount of money had also exchanged hands between the agents, senior government officials over issuance of these licenses.

Sources say that once the IAS officer got a whiff of the impending scandal, he started resisting the request of those whom he was in league with for issuing these ‘illegal licenses’. “It is quite possible that the accused officer was honey trapped by touts and then blackmailed further to issue more licenses. We are also probing the possibility of involvement of some police officials in this scam,” a police officer told The Kashmir Monitor.

Last year objectionable pictures of Niraj Kumar, the then-Deputy Commissioner Udhampur, with women in a hotel room had gone viral. The government had then swung into action and attached Niraj to the office of Divisional Commissioner, Jammu.

Sources said the DC violated all the norms and even asked his subordinates to keep the matter hidden.

“Acquiring a gun license is too hectic as it follows various levels of verifications. But in this case the  Deputy Commissioner  who is a nodal officer for issuing gun license made it confined to just few steps by cutting down the verification part,” sources said.

As per the sources, the agents would forge the documents of a person to show him as an army official to avoid verifications.

“Army and military personnel can get arms licenses from any district they are posted in, on the recommendation of a letter from the Commanding Officer of their unit. These documents were then approved at official levels,” they said.

Last year Rajasthan police busted a racket in which fake gun license racket  from Nagaland and Jammu and Kashmir were being abundantly used to ‘purchase’ arms from gun houses in many parts of Rajasthan, including Udaipur, Sikar and Jaipur, police said.

Around 40 licenses from Dimapur in Nagaland – suspected to be fake- were used to purchase guns from gun houses in Jaipur alone.

When contacted Commissioner Secretary General Administration Department (GAD), Hilal Ahmad Parray said that they haven’t received any sort of communication related to issue yet.

“Let me see and confirm it. But so far we have not been informed by any agency yet,” Parray said.

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Disappointed over Kashmir HR report criticism: UNHCR

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Geneva, July 18: The United Nations High Commission for Human Rights (UNHCR) on Tuesday quashed the criticisms levelled by the Indian authorities and media for its human rights report on Kashmir released recently, and expressed “deep disappointment” over the reaction.

Citing Indian media outlets’ accusations such as “Nefarious conspiracy”, “Pakistan-authored report”, “fallacious”, “mala fide” and Indian authorities’ reaction who dismissed the report as “fallacious, tendentious and motivated” against the UN Human Rights Office, the spokesperson for the UNHCR said that they were disappointed by the reactions.

“The report was developed through remote monitoring, after the Indian and Pakistani authorities failed to grant us unconditional access to the region. Since the report was published, we have been deeply disappointed by the reaction of the Indian authorities, who dismissed the report as “fallacious, tendentious and motivated” without examining it and responding to the very serious concerns about the human rights situation in Indian-administered Kashmir and Pakistan-administered Kashmir as laid out in the report,” the spokesperson said.

He also refuted reports in the Indian media that the High Commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, was in contact with a Canada-based imam of Pakistani descent, named Zafar Bangash, and that he had influenced the report.

“The High Commissioner has never spoken with Mr Bangash, and we are not aware of receiving any information from him, let alone using it, although it is possible he sent an email or letter and received a polite acknowledgment, as is the case with thousands of letters and emails sent to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,” the spokesperson added.

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So far in 2018: 100 militants, 43 forces’ men, 16 civilians killed in JK: GoI

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New Delhi, July 18: Hundred militants and 43 forces personnel were killed in Jammu and Kashmir in the first six months of this year, Minister Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said on Wednesday.

Ahir, the minister of state for home, said 16 civilians were also killed during this period, which saw 256 incidents of violence. He was replying to a written question in Rajya Sabha.

In 2017, 342 incidents of violence were reported in the state, in which 213 terrorists were gunned down. A total of 80 security personnel and 40 civilians were killed last year, Ahir said.

As many as 82 forces personnel, 15 civilians and 150 militants were killed in the state in 2016, which witnessed 322 cases of militant violence, he said.

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