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Govt actively pursuing transfer of power projects: Dy CM

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Jammu, Jan 22: Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh on Monday asserted that the State Government is actively pursuing the transfer of power projects as it is an important part of the developmental agenda of the present coalition government.

Replying to separate written questions of legislators, M Y Tarigami, Vikar Rasool and Krishan Lal in the Legislative Assembly, the Deputy Chief Minister said that the Finance Minister, Dr Haseeb Drabu in his Power Budget in the year 2015-16, has clearly mentioned that the Government would actively pursue transfer of hydropower projects from NHPC and that year’s budget provided funds for meeting the operational and maintenance cost of such power projects to be transferred.

He said in March 2016, he along with Finance Minister met the Union Power Minister formally and impressed upon the Union Government the need for transfer of power projects of Dulhasti and Uri from NHPC to the State among other important issues of power sector. “Subsequently, this has been raised in various Power Ministers’ Conferences by me,” said the Dy Chief Minister.

 

Dr Nirmal Singh said that presently there is no agreement or MoU available with the State government on the terms and conditions under which Dul Hasti power Project was executed by NHPC. He said in the year 2011 a Cabinet Sub-committee was constituted to look into it and the Committee could not find any agreement or MoU. In this regard the Committee recommended constituting a Task Force of senior officers of the State to look into the circumstances leading to the misplacement of these records. Accordingly, a Task Force under the chairmanship of Administrative Secretary General Administration Department with three Additional Secretaries from PDD, GAD and Governor’s Secretariat was formed. As recorded by the Task Force, the relevant records were found missing from all the concerned offices. The task force concluded that the Cabinet decision was un-traceable and that there was not any possibility of its retrieval as the records were around four decades old and no handing over/taking over of records had taken place.

Listing the reasons forcing power cuts in peak Winters and summer seasons in Kashmir and Jammu, the Deputy

Chief Minister said  against registered 3101 MW load , the demand should not exceed 1551 MW, but it is around 2950 MW (un-restricted) that reflecting that there exists  huge unregistered load.   He said the use of unauthorized load creates system constraints by way of overloading the system at Transmission, Sub-Transmission  and at distribution levels, thereby causing further distress cuts in addition to the scheduled cuts. He said because JKPDD has sufficient capacity available at all transmission levels, viz-a-vis total load registered, it makes sufficient power available for its consumers as per their contract demand. He said various centrally sponsored schemes have been launched to meet the future load growth and to improve the power supply qualitatively and quantitatively.

 Listing flagship schemes launched to overcome chronic problems at various levels, the Dy Chief Minister informed that Re-structured Accelerated Developmental Programme (R-APDRP) has been sanctioned at a cost of Rs 151.99 crore under part-A and Rs. 1665.27 crore under part-B to strengthen, upgrade and renovate sub-transmission and distribution network, adoption of IT application for meter reader, billing and energy accounting, in 30 identified towns of the state, including 17 of Kashmir division, 11 of Jammu division and 2 of Ladakh region. He said the revised PMRRP envisages achieving 24×7 power for all by 2019 and ensuring physical autonomy of J&K for a new era of development.

Elaborating further, he said DDUGJY has been launched with the objective for separation of agriculture and non-agriculture feeder, strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution, infrastructure in rural areas, including metering at distribution transformer, feeder and consumers end. He further informed that the scheme also included rural electrification for completion of left over RGGVY plans by subsuming these in DDUGJY. He said DPRs have been prepared for 21 districts, including 10 of Jammu division, 9 of Kashmir division and 2 of Ladakh region, for which GoI has approved an amount of Rs. 616.59 crore.

He said Centre has also launched Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) for strengthening sub-transmission and distribution network in 86 towns of the State at a cost of Rs 404.50 crore. Meanwhile, he said RGGY-II (RE-DDUGY) has been sanctioned at a cost of Rs. 101.28 crore for three districts of Ramban, Kishtwar and Doda.


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Imran dials Modi, pushes for better Indo-Pak ties

PM stresses on ‘creating environment free of terrorism’

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New Delhi, May 26: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and expressed his desire to work for peace, Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesman Mohammed Faisal said.

During the phone call, Modi underlined the importance of creating trust and an environment free of “terrorism” for peace in South Asia.

“PM spoke to PM Modi today and congratulated him on his party’s electoral victory in Lok Sabha elections in India. PM expressed his desire for both countries to work together for betterment of their peoples,” Faisal said in a Twitter post.

 

“Reiterating his vision for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia, the Prime Minister said he looked forward to working with Prime Minister Modi to advance these objectives,” Faisal’s second post said.

According to a release from the Indian foreign ministry, Modi “thanked the Prime Minister of Pakistan for his telephone call and greetings”.

“Recalling his initiatives in line with his government’s neighbourhood first policy, Prime Minister Modi referred to his earlier suggestion to the Prime Minister of Pakistan to fight poverty jointly. He stressed that creating trust and an environment free of violence and terrorism were essential for fostering cooperation for peace, progress and prosperity in our region,” the release stated.

Khan had on Thursday posted a congratulatory message on Twitter saying he looked forward to work with Modi on furthering peace in South Asia. “I congratulate Prime Minister Modi on the electoral victory of BJP and allies. Look forward to working with him for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia,” Khan said in the post.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday scored a major win by snaring 303 seats in the 545-member Parliament.

In his response to Khan’s post congratulating him on Thursday, Modi tweeting:” Thank you PM @ImranKhanPTI. I warmly express my gratitude for your good wishes. I have always given primacy to peace and development in our region.”

In a recent interview, PM Modi had said the “way ahead” with the neighboring nation Pakistan depends on the action it takes against militancy. Modi’s Balakot air strike in Pakistan before the polls soared his popularity in India. The IAF air strike and action against Pakistan featured many times during Modi’s Lok Sabha election campaign.

Before the elections began, Khan also batted for a second-term for BJP saying there may be a better chance of peace talks with India if the incumbent government is back.

The exchanges between the two leaders came after a period of heightened tensions between the two countries earlier this year after the 14 February suicide attack on a paramilitary convoy that killed 40 paramilitary personnel in Pulwama.

With Jaish-e-Mohammed claiming the Pulwama bombing, India on 26 February launched a “pre-emptive” strike on a militant training facility in Pakistan’s Balakot region.

Pakistan retaliated a day later launching an air raid on Indian military facilities in Kashmir, thus deepening tensions between the two countries. Pakistan also shot down an Indian Air Force jet and captured the pilot of the downed aircraft, who was handed back to India two days later.

Talks between the two countries have been at a standstill since 2013 but there has been speculation that the two sides could explore possibilities for engagement after the polls in India. Modi is set to come face to face with Imran Khan at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting in Bishkek in June. Last month, Khan told a group of journalists that there may be a better chance of peace talks with India and settling of the Kashmir dispute if Modi’s party — the Bharatiya Janata Party — won the general elections a second time.

Pak ready for talks with new Indian Govt: Qureshi

Press Trust of India

Islamabad, May 26: Pakistan is ready to hold talks with the new Indian government to resolve all outstanding issues, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said.

Addressing an Iftar dinner in Multan on Saturday, Qureshi said both India and Pakistan should sit on negotiation table to solve issues for the sake of prosperity and peace of the region, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.

His remarks came two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday led his Bharatiya Janata Party towards a victory for a second term in office.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday congratulated Modi on his electoral triumph and expressed desire to work with him for peace and prosperity in the region.

“I congratulate Prime Minister Modi on the electoral victory of BJP and allies. Look forward to working with him for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia,” Khan tweeted in both English and Urdu.

In April, Khan said he believed there may be a better chance of peace talks with India and settle the Kashmir issue if Modi’s party wins the general elections.

The results of India’s general elections are very significant for Pakistan as the new government in New Delhi will determine the course of Indo-Pakistan ties, which were pushed to a new low after the Pulwama attack.

Just a day before the announcement of results, Qureshi and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday exchanged pleasantries on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

He conveyed to her Pakistan’s desire to resolve all issues through dialogue.

Tensions flared up between India and Pakistan after a suicide bomber of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) killed over 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14.

Amid mounting outrage, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried air strikes in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26. The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in an aerial combat and captured an IAF pilot, who was handed over to India.

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Balakot was to ensure ‘terrorists’ don’t act against India: Gen Rawat

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Ezhimala (Kerala), May 26: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Bipin Rawat has said the Balakot attack in February was to ensure that ‘terrorists’ trained across the border do not survive to carry out action against India.

“Coordinated efforts are being made by various government agencies to tackle cross-border terrorism,” he said.

“Through the coordinated efforts of various government agencies, now the NIA has stepped in, the Enforcement Directorate has stepped in and all are trying to ensure financing and funds available to terrorists are cut off,” he said, responding to a question on insurgency in Kashmir at a media interaction here.

 

He also said the “situation there has been brought under control.”

Rawat said the country has been facing “terrorism” since Independence and that security forces and all agencies supporting them have met these challenges head on.

“We have been able to ensure that the insurgency has been brought under control. Of course in the Kashmir Valley, we have been witnessing ups and downs of insurgencies.

“That’s because they got support from our western neighbour. At the same time many (people) are misguided due to a misinformation campaign spread by terrorists. But we have brought the situation under control,” he said.

The Chief of Army staff was interacting with the media here on Saturday after reviewing the passing-out parade of 264 trainees, comprising midshipmen and cadets of the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and 10 international cadets.

Asked about the radar comment of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rawat said some types of radar cannot see through clouds because of the manner in which it is operates.

“There are various kinds of radars working with different technologies. Some have the capacity to see through, some don’t have the capacity to see through.

“Some kinds of radar cannot see through clouds because of the manner in which it is operating. Sometimes we can, sometimes we can’t,” Rawat said.

In a television interview aired recently, Modi had said he used his “raw wisdom” to dispel doubts of defence experts, who wanted the air strike to be deferred due to bad weather.

“The weather was not good on the day of air strike. There was a thought that crept in the minds of the experts that the day of strike should be changed.

“However, I suggested that the clouds could actually help our planes escape the radars,” Modi had said while talking about the cross-border strike on terror camps in response to the Pulwama attack that claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel.

The prime minister’s comment drew widespread ridicule and condemnation from various quarters, including a large number of memes on the social media.

The cadets who passed out Saturday marked the culmination of their training at the Indian Naval Academy (INA) here.

The passing-out parade was reviewed by General Rawat and meritorious midshipmen and cadets were awarded medals after the ceremonial review.

INA Commandant Vice Admiral R B Pandit and Director of the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, Anurag Kumar, were in attendance at the parade.

The parade also saw 15 female cadets marching shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts to join the ranks of the Indian Navy, a release issued by the Academy said.

There were 10 trainees from various friendly nations, including two each from Maldives, Myanmar and Seychelles, one from Tanzania and three from Sri Lanka.

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Process begins to fill 6 LC Seats from Panchayat, ULB quota

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, May 26: The State Election Authority has begun a process for conducting elections to six vacancies in the Legislative Council – four from the quota of Panchayats and two from the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in the state.

The Legislative Council membership is limited to 40 seats. However, as per Section 50 of the State Constitution, the Legislative Council has strength of 36 seats.

Presently, there are 14 vacancies in the Legislative Council, taking its strength down to 22. Eight members had retired in March this year and these vacancies would be filled only when the Legislative Assembly is in place.

 

Similarly, there are four seats earmarked for Panchayats and two for municipalities to be filled by the electorate of Panchayats and ULBs.

The Chief Electoral Officer has written to the Governor administration to form Electoral College and submit list of designated returning and assistant returning officers for conduct of elections to six vacancies.

“Once the process of Electoral College and appointment of officers is completed, we will announce the dates for elections,” Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Shailendra Kumar said.

In absence of State Election Commission, the Chief Electoral Officer has designated powers of State Election Authority.

The Panchs and Sarpanchs form the Electoral College for elections to seats from Panchayat quota while municipal councilors form Electoral College for elections to two seats from the quota of ULBs.

Of the four Panchayat seats, two seats are reserved for each Kashmir and Jammu regions. Similarly, both regions get one each seat under Municipal quota.

The seats of Panchayat are vacant since Shehnaz Ganaie, Ali Mohammad Dar of National Conference and Sham Lal Bhagat and Ghulam Nabi Monga from Congress completed their term in December last year.

Out of 22 members in Legislative Council, the BJP has 10 members followed by PDP (8) National Conference (3) and Congress (1).

Earlier in February this year, the State Administrative Council (SAC) under the chairmanship of Governor, Satya Pal Malik approved taking up the matter with the Election Commission of India (ECI) regarding the proposal for holding of elections to the six vacant seats in the J&K Legislative Council.

The Panchayat elections were conducted in November-December 2018 for 4483 Panchayats with a Sarpanch for each Panchayat Halqa and 35029 Panchs in the state. The Urban Local Bodies Election were held in October last year after a span of 13-years.

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