JAMMU, DEC 05: As a long-term strategy to for conservation of prominent water bodies in the State, including Dal Lake, Jhelum, Chenab and Tawi rivers from pollution hazards, and for the restoration of pristine glory of twin capital cities viz; Jammu and Srinagar, the Government will develop Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) of adequate capacities. Such STPs will also be developed in all major towns and prominent tourist resorts across the State.
Besides, Government will also develop more multitier ultra-modern parking lots in two capital cities and Katra town in order to ensure efficient traffic management. Presently these cities are witnessing huge quantum of traffic flow from within and outside the State, and there is great need for more such facilities to coup with the prevailing situation.
These decisions were taken during the pre-budget consultation meetings of the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Tourism, Culture, PWD (R&B), Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs chaired by Principal Secretary Finance, Navin K Choudhary here today.
To immediately start with the exercise for these projects, the necessary token money was earmarked for the current financial year and rest will be projected in the next year’s budget.
Financial Commissioner, Housing & Urban Development, K.B. Agarwal, Commissioner/Secretary R&B, Khurshid Ahmed Shah, Commissioner/Secretary FCS&CA, Dr Abdul Rashid, Commissioner Secretary Culture, Mohammad Saleem Shishgar along with their team of officers attended the meetings.
While initiating marathon deliberations on the budget proposals of the Housing & Urban Development Department for the next financial year, the Principal Secretary called for prioritizing the above projects and immediately starting work on these physically. He called for submitting viable projects for up-gradation of civic facilities, street lights, lanes and drains and other important facilities for the people. He asked for tangible proposals for the beautification of Jammu and Srinagar cities in view of their importance and stressed the need for effective steps to check that no drainage water flows to the main water bodies which pollute the entire environment of these cities.
In order to address the problem of accommodation for the government departments, the Principal Secretary urged the VCs, JDA and SDA to identify suitable land at some prominent locations to construct multi-storey accommodation to house maximum number of government offices. He also called for judicious use of land and resources.
During the discussions of Tourism and Culture, the Principal Secretary emphasized the need for strengthening the existing infrastructural facilities for the tourists in all prominent tourist destinations to increase the footfall of domestic as well as foreign tourists. He also asked for identification of unexplored tourist destinations, heritage places in all three regions of the State so that these are brought at the tourist map. He said tourism is foremost identity and mainstay of State’s economy and every possible effort must be made for its promotion.
He called upon the Tourism Secretary to workout prospective proposals for the development of this vital sector and asked for evolving new concepts for the promotion of tourism worldwide and launching a massive publicity campaign in the potential States. He also suggested to bring out some credible tourism publicity material in the form of pamphlets, booklets highlighting the significance of various tourist destinations and facilities across the State and arranging their distribution at centres of attraction like airports, railway stations, inter-state bus stands and prominent tourist locations in other States to attract tourists towards Jammu and Kashmir. He also called for promoting adventure, religious, heritage and eco-tourism for which there is great potential in the State. He laid stress on strict adherence of environment norms while undertaking new ventures, adding that degradation of environment and ecology is the cause of concern for everyone and it must be protected at all costs.
The budget proposals of PWD (R&B), Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs were also discussed threadbare and concerned Administrative Secretaries presented their view points on the futuristic requirements to run the affairs of their respective departments.
Issuing common instructions to all departments for curtailing the unfruitful expenditures under various heads, Navin called for generating own revenue for meeting their internal expenditures. He suggested for imposing minor charges on various kinds of services being rendered by the departments.
Rail service resumes
Srinagar, Nov 12: Rail services in Kashmir resumed on Tuesday – over three months after being suspended due to security reasons in view of the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370, officials said.
Few mini-buses also plied on the Batwara-Batamaloo route through the city centre, while inter-district cabs and auto-rickshaws plied in the city and elsewhere in the valley.
Private transport was plying unhindered.
A railway official told PTI that a train chugged between Baramulla and Srinagar this morning.
He said the train made only two trips on the Baramulla-Srinagar stretch as authorities have directed Railways to ply trains between 10 am and 3 pm only due to security reasons.
The Railways conducted the trial run of the service on the stretch on Monday for the first time in over three months since the unannounced shutdown in the valley.
The official said the Srinagar-Banihal stretch of the railway line would resume in a few days after checking track safety and conducting trial runs.
The train service in the valley was suspended due to security reasons on the morning of 5 August – hours before the Centre announced its decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and to bifurcate the erstwhile state into two Union territories.
The Centre’s decision led to an unannounced shutdown in the valley – which completed 100 days on Tuesday — even as authorities imposed severe restrictions which were later gradually eased out.
Markets have been following a new pattern of functioning, opening early morning till around the noon and then downing their shutters to join the protest against abrogation of the special status of the state, officials said.
They said miscreants are using fear mongering to put down any resistance to unannounced shutdown by threatening shopkeepers and businessmen.
The officials said two grenade attacks in the city’s busy Goni Khan market and Kaka Sarai areas were an indication that there were concerted efforts to keep the shutdown going.
Pre-paid mobile phones and all internet services continued to remain suspended since 5 August.
Most of the top level and second rung separatist politicians have been taken into preventive custody while mainstream leaders including two former chief ministers — Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti — have been either detained or placed under house arrest.
The government has detained former chief minister and sitting Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar Farooq Abdullah under the controversial Public Safety Act.
Militant killed in Ganderbal gunfight
Srinagar, Nov 12: A militant was killed and an Army soldier injured in an encounter between militants and security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ganderbal district on Tuesday, police said.
Security forces launched a cordon-and-search operation in Kulan area of the central Kashmir district in the morning following inputs about the presence of militants.
During the search, the hiding militants fired upon the security forces, who retaliated, according to an officer.
A militant was killed during the gunfight. An army soldier was also injured and rushed to a medical facility for treatment, the officer said.
The identity and group affiliation of the slain militant is yet to be ascertained. The operation is on and further details are awaited, the officer added.
The incident comes after the encounter where two militants were killed in an encounter with security forces in Bandipora district of north Kashmir on Monday morning, police said.
While one militant was killed on Sunday during a gunfight between security forces in Lawdara village, about 55 km from Srinagar, another was killed on Monday, police further said. The security forces started a search operation on getting information about the presence of some militants in the area which led to the encounter between the security forces and the militants.
The streak of encounters continues as the state of Kashmir remains under an unprecedented lockdown after the abrogation of article 370.
Unscheduled power cuts affect research in KU
Srinagar, Nov 05: Unscheduled power cuts have severely hit the research work in the University of Kashmir.
“I am doing research on plant ecology and most of my work depends on high definition equipments which work on electricity. I collected plant samples twice from Gulmarg and kept it in freezer for further examination. For four days there was no electricity and with the result my samples became unusable,” said a research scholar.
Another research scholar in Kashmir University said due to frequent power cuts their research work is getting affected. “My equipment developed errors due to power cuts. With the result, it started displaying false readings”, he said.
An official in the Kashmir University said over Rs 25 crore have been sanctioned for 50 different projects in the department of biotechnology, clinical bio-chemistry, botany, zoology, nanotechnology, pharmacy, environmental science, physics, electronics and chemistry.
“The high definition equipment, which works in -80, -20, -120 temperature, are imported from abroad. Regular power cuts are affecting these equipments,” the official said.
Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, Chief Engineer PDD, Qazi Hashmat said Kashmir University being a premier institute should install a backup power system to meet exigencies.
“PDD has proposed to provide dedicated power supply from 33 KV line. Once the university credits the amount, we will start work on installation of the line,” Qazi said.
Spokesperson of Kashmir University, Professor Shahid Rasool said the issue has not been brought into hid notice. “I will check with the department heads and resolve it as soon as possible,” he said.
Sources said Kashmir University had signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the PDD to provide 24*7 power supply. Sources said two kanals of land was also earmarked for establishing receiving station for uninterrupted power supply. Sources said Kashmir University is paying Rs 4.2 lakh as monthly electricity tariff to the PDD.