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Govt sets up MRDAs, MRTCs for faster, futuristic development of Srinagar, Jammu

‘Work on city metros has begun’;City e-buses to be operationalized

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, July 4:   Governor Administration has created two Metropolitan Region Development Authorities (MRDAs) for Srinagar and Jammu to ensure rapid  and coordinated development of two regions of the state.

Addressing a press conference, Principal Secretary, Housing and Urban Development Department, Dheeraj Gupta said the State Government, being conscious of the challenges in planned development of the Capital Regions of the State, has enacted `The Jammu and Kashmir Metropolitan Region Development Authorities Act, 2018’ in December 2018, 

“Subsequently the government has created two umbrella Authorities — Jammu Metropolitan Region Development Authority and Srinagar Metropolitan Region Development Authority — to provide an integrative framework for the purpose of planned development of these regions,” he said

 

Gupta, who was flanked by State Government Spokesperson Rohit Kansal, said that the Metropolitan areas of Jammu and Srinagar as well as their population, have grown rapidly over the past few decades.

“These Metropolitan Region Development Authorities are expected to serve the purposes of coordination, besides supervising the proper, orderly and rapid development of the areas and executing plans, projects and schemes for such development and also raise resources for mega projects”, he said.

Gupta said the Authorities, will prepare an “Infrastructure Development Plan” which will be the guide for annual investments in creating infrastructure.

“In the next few years, the thrust of the annual plan will be to reduce the deficit on infrastructure — roads, water supply, sewerage, storm water drainage, public transportation including, light rails, e-buses and other amenities”, he said.

Besides infrastructure, these authorities, through a consultative exercise with the Police, the Municipal Corporations and Deputy Commissioners will formulate a Comprehensive Mobility Management Plan, for managing mobility in the region.

These new authorities will also prepare a Sustainable Management Plan for sustainable management of the urban environment, such as, increasing the area under green cover, water conservation, waste water treatment, water recycling, rainwater harvesting, energy conservation, adoption of renewable sources of energy, provision of open spaces and city parks, he said.

Gupta said the State Administrative Council, on July 3, 2019, had approved the areas to be included in the Srinagar Metropolitan Region and Jammu Metropolitan Region.

 “The areas for these Metropolitan Region Development Authorities have been selected on the principles of regional planning and development. This included the economic interdependence of the mother city with the city region, mobility and the geographical contiguity.”, he said.

Gupta noted that the planning and development at the regional level will ensure the economic development of the mother city as well as the city region.

“The supra bodies are expected to steer ahead the development projects spanning over multiple jurisdictions and shall also bring in innovation, speed, effectiveness, efficiency, economy and accountability in the existing framework,” he said.

 As per the approval, Srinagar Metropolitan Region will cover the areas of districts of Srinagar, Budgam, Ganderbal, Bandipora, Baramulla, Pulwama, Anantnag, Kulgam and Shopian having an approximate area of 2494.65 sq. kms.

Similarly, the Jammu Metropolitan Region will cover the areas of districts of Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Reasi, and Udhampur having an area of 2216.58 sq. kms.

“The Authorities will also develop Satellite Townships in Greater Jammu and Greater Srinagar. Million sq ft IT parks will also be developed in these townships. To fully operationalize these Authorities, necessary staff, including outsourced domain experts will be provided by the Government”, he said.

Gupta also announced that two Mass Rapid Transit Corporations (MRTCs), for both the capital cities of the State, have been incorporated in February this year and  Dr E. Sreedharan, has been appointed as the Principal Advisor to these Corporations.

“These Corporations are the extended arms of the Metropolitan Authorities, earlier constituted by the State Government, and are there to supplement the efforts of these authorities in achieving their objectives of proper, orderly and rapid development of these areas and executing plans, projects and schemes especially related to Multi-Modal Transport System (MMTS) and Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS)”, he said.

Gupta maintained that these Corporations are taking steps to address the issue of urban mobility in the State in a holistic manner by providing safe, affordable, quick, comfortable, reliable and sustainable access for the growing number of city residents to jobs, education, recreation and such other needs within cities, by establishing multi-modal public transport systems that are well integrated and providing seamless travel across modes.

“Comprehensive Mobility Plans (CMPs) for the two Capital cities earlier prepared by RITES (Rail India Technical and Economic Service) — A Government of India Enterprise, are being updated. The two MRTCs will take further steps to implement the recommendations”, he said.

‘Work on city metros has begun’

Srinagar, Jul 4: The Governor-led administration Thursday said that the work on building Light Rail Transit Systems for Srinagar and Jammu cities has been started.

Addressing a press conference in Srinagar, Dheeraj Gupta, Principal Secretary to the Government, Housing and Urban Development Department said that as a part of the recommendations of CMP, the MRTCs have undertaken the implementation of the Light Rail Transit Systems for the two Capital Cities.

He said that the elevated light rail transit system in Srinagar will be completed in two phases.” In phase I, two corridors will be laid from HMT junction to Indra Nagar and Osmanabad to Hazuribagh,” he said.

In phase II, two more corridors will be laid from lndra Nagar to Pampore Bus Stand and Hazuribagh to Airport, he said.

Similarly in Jammu, first two corridors will be laid from Bantalab to Greater Kailash and Udheywala to Exhibition Ground and next two corridors will be laid from Greater Kailash to Bari Brahamana Railway Station and Exhibition Ground to Satwari Chowk to Airport.

Gupta said the total cost of light rail system  in the two cities is around Rs 8,500 crores

City e-buses to be operationalized

Srinagar, Jul 4: The Governor-led administration Thursday said that two MRTCs have also undertaken preliminary steps for operationalizing city buses, within the jurisdiction of the MRDAs, to set new standards and benchmarks in public transport.

“These will be app based, air-conditioned, smart e-buses with automatic fare collection systems.”


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Kulbhushan Jadhav case: ICJ to deliver verdict today

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Jul 16: The International Court of Justice will deliver on Wednesday its verdict in a case relating to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, whose death sentence by a Pakistani military court based on an “extracted confession” has been questioned by India.

Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” after a closed trial in April 2017.

His sentencing evoked a sharp reaction in India. The ICJ, in a statement early this month, said a public sitting will take place at 3 pm (6.30 pm IST) on July 17 at the Peace Palace in The Hague, during which top judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf will read out the verdict.

 

Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Muhammad Faisal last week said his country cannot “prejudge” the decision of the ICJ in the Jadhav’s case. “We cannot prejudge the judgment,” he said. He, however, said that Pakistan has fully contested the case before the ICJ.

India moved the ICJ in May 8, 2017 for the “egregious violation” of the provisions of the Vienna Convention by Pakistan by repeatedly denying New Delhi consular access to Jadhav.

A 10-member bench of the ICJ, which was set up after World War II to resolve international disputes, on May 18, 2017 had restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav till adjudication of the case.

A four-day public hearing in the high-profile case took place in February amidst heightened tensions between India and Pakistan following one of the deadliest militant attacks in J&K by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed group that killed at least 40 CRPF soldiers on February 14. During the hearing in ICJ, both India and Pakistan submitted their detailed pleas and responses.

India based its case on two broad issues — breach of Vienna Convention on consular access and the process of resolution. Harish Salve, who was representing India in the case, questioned the functioning of Pakistan’s notorious military courts and urged the top UN court to annul Jadhav’s death sentence, which is based on an “extracted confession”. In his submission in the ICJ on the last day of the hearing, Pakistan’s counsel Khawar Qureshi said, “India’s claim for relief must be dismissed or declared inadmissible.”

Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran. However, India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.

Pakistan had rejected India’s plea for consular access to Jadhav at the ICJ, claiming that New Delhi wants the access to get the information gathered by its “spy”. However, Pakistan facilitated a meeting of Jadhav with his mother and wife in Islamabad on December 25, 2017.

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Kashmiri Sikhs hope for Kartarpur-like corridor to PaK Gurdwaras

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Jul 16:  Voices are growing for LoC corridor to allow Kashmiri Sikhs to visit historic Gurudwaras in Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PaK) akin to Kartapur sahib.

All Party Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC), an apex body of Kashmiri Sikhs, said there are several Gurudwaras in Muzaffarabad and Mirpur, which are held in high reverence by Sikhs across the globe.

“One such Gurudwara of Guru Hargobind Singh, the sixth Sikh Guru, is located in Naluchi in the neighborhood of Muzaffarabad,” said Jagmohan Singh Raina, Chairman APSCC.

 

Raina said the Gurudwara has remained closed for the last 70 years and was partly damaged in October 2005 earth quake.  “The Chatti Padshahi Gurudwara of Naluchi has been famous before partition when Sikhs in huge numbers from different parts of Kashmir used to go on a pilgrimage. Unfortunately, the Gurudwara has remained shut for the last 70 years and has now been converted into a police station,” he said.

Chairman APSCC said the Sikh community has asked Union Home Ministry to extend cross LoC Karvan-e-Aman bus up to Naluchi exclusively for the Sikh pilgrimage to the Gurudwara.

“We have written to MHA that people of different faiths live in Kashmir. A demand was made to allow Sikhs to go on a pilgrimage to PaK Gurudwaras,” Raina said.

The APSCC chairman said the Sikh body contacted Prime Minister of Muzaffarabad’s office in February and suggested 15 people who intend to undertake a pilgrimage to restore Gurudwara to its pristine glory.

“A journalist friend of mine helped us to take up the matter with the office of Prime Minister of Muzaffarabad. We later sent copies of 15 passports to Muzaffarabad PM’s office. We are following it up. We hope the pilgrimage will be allowed from Uri and Poonch side,” he said.

Ajit Singh Mastana who is one of 15 people who has enlisted for the pilgrimage, said sixth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Hargobind Singh had stayed in Naluchi after visiting Kashmir’s Uri area.

“Chatti Padshahi Gurudwaras are built at a place where our sixth Guru Hargobind Singh Ji rested during his visit to Kashmir. At present we have Chatti Padshahi Gurudwara in Srinagar, Baramulla and Uri in Kashmir,” he said.

 Mastana who heads Punjabi Sahitiya Sabha said many Sikhs families are yearning to go on a pilgrimage to the historic Gurudwaras in Pakistan Administered Kashmir.  “The yatra should be allowed on the pattern of Kartapur,” he said.

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JK has stronger case of non-application: Masoodi on NIA Bill

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Jul 16: National Conference has opposed the NIA Amendment bill 2019 in the Parliament, saying the proposed amendment bill “infringes upon” the people’s right to liberty and life.

Participating in the debate Member of Parliament from Anantnag Hasnain Masoodi said the Parent Act of 2008 was not in tune with fundamental right of life and personal liberty.

“The amendment suffers from the same flaw.  The Article 21 while guaranteeing right to life and personal liberty provides that a person can be deprived of life and personal liberty in accordance with procedure established by law and such procedure must be just, fair and reasonable,” he said.

 

Masoodi added: “The three fundamental principles are to be taken care of at the stage of investigation, trial as also sentence and its mode of execution. In case of NIA Act wide and unbridled powers were given to the Central Government to constitute the special court as per its choice. The wide and unguided powers under NIA Act have prompted selective use of the Act and setting up of Special Courts as per choice and in an arbitrary manner. Resultantly, the Act leaves scope for violation of right of access to justice, an integral part of right to life and personal liberty.”

Kashmir, Masoodi said, is a ready example of such violation, where people who are prosecuted find it very difficult to get access to justice.

“There is no court and justice seekers from far flung areas are left without access to justice. While in case of other states NIA Act is said to trespass State list. In case of Jammu and Kashmir, there is no State list and all powers except those given by it to Centre belonged to State, there is a stronger case of non-application of NIA Act to State,” he said while participating in the debate.

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