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Govt all set to declare Nov 7 snowfall as ‘natural calamity’

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Nov 27: Distressed farmers have something to rejoice as Jammu and Kashmir government is mulling to declare November 7 snowfall as ‘natural calamity’ to pave the way for providing adequate relief to the affected people.

The November 7 snowfall left a trail of death and destruction in Kashmir.  At least seven people lost their lives. Horticulture sector suffered the major brunt in the snowfall.

Sources said Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, has directed district development commissioners to complete the loss assessment of the horticulture sector at the earliest and submit their reports by November 30.

 

“Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, recently held a meeting with DCs and heads of various departments. It was decided that once they (DCs) make assessment, government will declare November 7 snowfall as natural calamity. The issue will also be taken up with Centre for adequate relief to farmers, who suffered losses due to snowfall,” source privy to the meeting said.

Minutes of meeting accessed by The Kashmir Monitor reveal that it was decided that issue of declaring snowfall as “natural calamity shall be taken up with government immediately so that relief is provided to the affected people”.

“All departments need to be more pro-active and previous shortcomings should not be repeated,” Divisional Commissioner, as per documents, has told officials.

Officials have been directed to be well prepared to deal with such situation in future. Most parts of Kashmir remained without electricity for over three days. The snowfall also caused a massive disruption in surface transport as roads were not cleared for days.

Apple growers said 90 percent of orchards have suffered extensive damages due to the snowfall.

According to Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers cum Dealers Union (KVFG), an umbrella body of all fruit associations of Kashmir, 80 percent of fruit trees were uprooted due to early snowfall.

“Fruit orchards have suffered 90 percent losses. It would take at least 15 years for growers to replace a damaged tree,” KVFG President Bashir Ahmad Basheer said.

Basheer noted horticulture sector was the main contributors to the J&K economy and more than seven lakh families are dependent on it.

Fruit growers also demanded free of cost pesticides, insecticides, fungicides and fertilizers for a period of five years to offset losses.


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Abrogation of Article 370 will have positive impact: Naqvi

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Jan 21: Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Tuesday said the abrogation of Article 370 will have a positive impact on the people.

Addressing a gathering at Harwan on the outskirts of Srinagar, Naqvi, the Minority Affairs Minister, said: “The new system will usher in development and prosperity in Jammu and Kashmir.”

He promised an increase in the Haj quota and scholarships for Kashmiri students.

 

The minister said the Central government is closely looking into the problem of unemployment and lack of industrial growth.

While quoting a verse of poet Iqbal, he said the ministerial visit to Jammu and Kashmir is just the beginning and many such initiatives will be undertaken in the future.

A memorandum was presented to the minister by residents of Fakir Gujri area which said the apprehensions of the common people of Jammu and Kashmir regarding land and jobs must be allayed by issuing a domicile certificate.

Naqvi also laid the foundation stone for a water conservation project at Harwan.

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‘Previous rulers used funds for personal benefits’

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Jan 21:Charging previous governments of “unabated” corruption, Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Tuesday said Centre has earmarked Rs 16 crore for Himayat scheme to help educated unemployed youth to find jobs.

Naqvi was addressing a gathering in Srinagar outskirts as a part of Centre’s reach out programme to make people aware about the “positive impact” of the revocation of special status.

“Corruption is a disease which for many years affected Kashmir. Crores of rupees were disbursed for Jammu and Kashmir but the money was not reaching the people. Few people used these funds for their personal benefits. But now the funds are going to directly to you (people),” he said.

 

Naqvi said people were ditched by their representatives earlier. “We now want to reach out to the people, listen to their woes and solve their problems. We came here with a positive approach and mindset,” he said.

Naqvi informed that the Centre has earmarked Rs 16 crore under Himayat scheme for Jammu and Kashmir.    “We have already identified at least 1200 educated youth under this programme. People used to travel faraway places for treatment and now AIIMS is coming up in Samba in Jammu and Lassipora in Kashmir. Five medical colleges are also coming up that will open 500 seats for people of the state,” he said.

Union Minority Affairs minister said their focus is on the development and providing employment opportunities to the youth. “We framed schemes like Hunar Haq for youth. These schemes will give them employment along with development of the region. Those who apply for scholarships will get benefitted through central government’s initiatives,” he said.

Naqvi said main motive of their visit to Kashmir was “to bring positive and effective change in the lives of people”.  “It has happened for the first time that entire council of ministers had reached out to Kashmiri people to hear their views. The initiatives will not stop here as we will continue visiting the valley. We will stay in touch with the officers also to know about people’s grievances,” he said

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Several delegations call on union minister;`Protect jobs, safeguard land rights’

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Jan 21:  For the first time since abrogation of Article 370, people directly petitioned union ministers demanding protection of jobs, safeguarding land rights and ending bloodshed.

Around dozen delegations called on Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi during Centre’s reach out programme at Fakir Gujri on Tuesday.

The delegations, which met the union minister, include Jammu and Kashmir Gujjar, Bakarwal Youth Conference, Gujjar Tribal Council, National Youth Corps, Block Contractors, Panch, Sarpanchs, Block Development Council members and local representatives of the area.

 

Naqvi was flanked by Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, Farooq Ahmad Khan, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Shahid Iqbal Chaudhary and workers of BJP during public outreach programme.

“We appealed him (Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi) that people of Jammu and Kashmir should have rights on jobs and land.  We also highlighted the problems faced by Gujjar and Bakarwal community. He gave a patient hearing and assured that Centre will take concrete steps for the betterment of people,” said Farooq Chaudhary, vice president, Jammu and Kashmir Gujjar, Bakarwal Youth Conference (JKGBYC).

Farooq noted that they also urged the minister to implement Forest Conservation Act in Jammu and Kashmir.

Panchs, Sarpanch and BDCs raised their concern with regard to the functioning of grassroots democracy in the Union Territory. “We discussed empowerment of grassroots democracy and enhancement in our wages.  We put forth our viewpoint before the union minister,” a member Panchayat and BDC delegation, said.

Gujjar- Bakwaral Conference provincal president Chaudhary Mustafa Rahi said his delegation told the union minister to take steps for the betterment of Gujjar community.  “We will now see how Centre will go about,” he said.

Mohammad Gulzar, one of the locals who had come to meet union minister, said both countries need to end bloodshed in Kashmir.

“Schemes and huge fund distribution won’t do anything till there is an end to bloodshed is. It is not just development but wounds of people that require to be healed first,” he said.

Union minister, G Kishan Reddy is likely to visit mini-secretariat Ganderbal where he will spoke to multiple delegation.  On January 23, union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and G Kishan Reddy will visit Baramulla and Manigam respectively. The first phase of reach-out will end on January 24 when union minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank will visit Srinagar city center to address delegations.

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