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Governor visits flood-prone areas

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Srinagar, Jun 30: Governor N N Vohra Saturday undertook an extended tour of Srinagar city and its outskirts, visited Boulevard Road, Hydraulic Gauge Centre of river Jhelum at Ram Munshi Bagh; Lasjan, and Relief Camps in Rawal Pora and Ram Bagh areas for a first-hand view of the ground situation consequent to Jhelum rising above high flood levels.
Accompanied by B B Vyas and K Vijay Kumar, Advisors to Governor; B V R Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary; Sh. Basheer Khan, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir; M. Raju, Commissioner, PHE, Flood and Irrigation Department; and Dr. Syed Abid Rasheed Shah, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Governor inspected the Administration’s preparedness to evacuate people if Srinagar gets flooded.
Governor inspected the designated Relief Camps at the Tourism Department’s Community Centre Goripora, Government Boys Higher Secondary School Rawal Pora and the ERA Complex in the Shopping Complex building at Ram Bagh. Divisional Commissioner Khan explained the basic facilities being provided at these sites.
Governor instructed M Raju, Commissioner, PHE, Flood and Irrigation Department, to immediately ensure adequate availability of sand bags and other required materials for ensuring immediate repair of any breach in the Jhelum Bundh.
Earlier, the Governor also held a meeting held at the Raj Bhavan early in the morning, Governor N.N. Vohra reviewed the situation arising from the increasing water levels of Rivers Jhelum, Tawi and other major Nallahs in both regions of Jammu and Kashmir and the advance preparations which are required to be taken by the Administration.
Chief Secretary informed Governor about a Flood Control Room being set up at Hari Niwas in Gupkar; the obtaining and emerging weather conditions; water levels at various monitoring locations yesterday and today; mobilization of rescue teams and boats for evacuation; provision of pumps; electric power back up etc. He also informed that a mechanism has been put in place for ensuring effective coordination with concerned agencies including Police, Army, Central Armed Police Forces, NDRF and Civil Administration.
The meeting also took stock of the provisioning of dry rations, medicines and positioning of basic facilities like tents, blankets and toilets etc. at the designated Relief Centers, and in the buildings earmarked for the evacuated population.
Governor directed Chief Secretary to put in place a reliable communication system for the Senior officers who are at the helm for managing a flood situation; closely monitor water levels at Dal Lake and check the proper functioning of the lake’s water gates; devise an effective arrangement for the prompt mobilization of Rescue Teams; advance positioning of boats; ensure availability of doctors within 15 minutes, for emergency duties; timely alerts for areas which are under possible flood threat along with their identified evacuation sites. He directed Sh. Basheer Khan, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, to alert ground level staff who would perform emergency duties and set up Joint Control Rooms with all concerned agencies.
Secretary DMR&R was directed to mobilize all concerned persons who would be involved in Disaster Management and provide three daily reports on various parameters to enable close monitoring of the situation. Commissioner Flood and Irrigation Department was directed to inspect all the bunds in the flood alert areas and immediately repair those which are prone to breach.


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Two JeM militants killed in Shopian gunfight

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Srinagar, Mar 22: Two Jaish militants, including a former SPO who had joined the outfit in 2018, were killed in an encounter in Ratnipora area of South Kashmir’s Shopian district on Friday.
Reports said that a joint team of army’s 34 RR, SOG and CRPF laid a cordon and search operation in Ratnipora village late last night.
Quoting a police officer, news agency GNS said that the CASO was launched following inputs about the presence of some militants.
“The joint team in the meantime fired some warning shots towards the suspected spot which was responded by militants and it was retaliated, triggering off a gunfight”.
“During the course of gunfight, two militants have been killed and their bodies along with two weapons were recovered from the site late this afternoon,” the officer said, adding that both the slain militants were affiliated with JeM outfit.
SSP Shopian Sandeep Choudhary identified the slain militants as Showkat Ahmad of Heramain and Yasir Ahmad Shah of Aarhama.
The SSP added that Showkat was an SPO-turned-militant and had joined the militant outfit last year.
Meanwhile, massive protest erupted near encounter site and its adjoining villages including Gadapora as protesters tried to march closer to the gunfight spot. The forces used pellets and tear smoke shells to disperse the protesting youth. The stone pelting clashes amid a shutdown was also received from neighbouring Pulwama district
At least fifteen youth were injured in the clashes near encounter site. Among the fifteen injured, ten of them were taken to district hospital Shopian for treatment. A policeman namely Tariq Ahmad also sustained serious head injuries after being hit by a stone during clashes in adjoining Ratnipora village of the district, the official sources said.
A doctor who operated upon them said that five youth suffered pellet injuries in their eyes while one of them had been shot in the neck.
“All the ten injured were later referred to different hospitals in Srinagar for advanced treatment,” he said.
Meanwhile, in wake of the gunfight, the internet services were suspended in Shopian for precautionary measures. (With inputs from GNS)

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Centre bans JKLF under ‘anti-terror’ law

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New Delhi, Mar 22: The Yasin Malik-led Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) was banned by the Centre under ‘anti-terror’ law on Friday, officials said.
The outfit has been banned for alleged promotion of secessionist activities in Jammu and Kashmir, they said.
They said the organisation has been banned under various provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Its chief Yasin Malik is under arrest and at present lodged in Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail.
This is the second organisation in Jammu and Kashmir which has been banned this month. Earlier, the Centre had banned the Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir.
Reacting to banning of JKLF, PDP president and former J&K CM, Mehbooba Mufti tweeted: “Yasin Malik renounced violence as a way of resolving J&K issue a long time ago. He was treated as a stakeholder in a dialogue initiated by then PM Vajpayee ji. What will a ban on his organisation achieve? Detrimental steps like these will only turn Kashmir into an open air prison.”
National Conference Vice President and another former CM of the state, Omar Abdullah, too expressed his thoughts over the decision.
“For 4 1/2 years (four and a half years) Yasin Malik isn’t a threat, Jamaat Islami isn’t a threat, Pakistan National Day is a function that must be attended. Now suddenly once an election is announced an immediate u-turn is executed,” he wrote on Twitter.

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Admin allows uprooting of 17 ‘unsafe’ Chinars in Srinagar college

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Srinagar, Mar 22: Amid government’s claims for preserving Chinars, a college in Srinagar, has, after getting due permission from the district administration, felled over a dozen of these majestic trees standing tall in its premises for decades.
As many as 17 Chinar trees have been partially or entirely chopped off at SP College here during the last 4 days.
The college authorities say all the chinars had “decayed” after 2014 floods and needed to be cut-off.
Professor Khurshid Khan, Principal SP College told The Kashmir Monitor that post 2014 floods many Chinar trees in the college started “drying” and there was no sign of their “rejuvenation”.
“The branches of the trees started falling and it posed safety threat to the students and the people around,” he said, adding that to avoid any “unfortunate accident we approached the government for acquiring permission to uproot the Chinars”.
The Principal claimed that the vehicle of one of their faculty member was completely damaged when a branch of one of the chinars fell on it.
An order issued by the Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar reads: “After conducting on spot survey of the decayed Chinar, government on January 23, 2019 directed to uproot the only identified dry Chinar existing in the premises of the college.”
The survey was conducted by the department of floriculture which recommended uprooting 17 Chinar trees that “are completely dry” and “light pruning” of another three such trees.
Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, Dr Arshid Jehangir, Environmentalist at Kashmir University, said it is legally permitted to uproot the tree only if it poses a threat.
“But if we have to uproot one Chinar, we need to plant 10 more as a compensation for our cause,” he added.
The number of Chinars has reduced drastically in the last few decades.
According to reports, the number in Kashmir in the 70s was around 40,000 but today it has been reduced to a meagre 5,000.
The majestic tree was brought to Kashmir by the Mughals. Emperor Akbar planted Chinars in the valley in 1586.

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