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Govt yet to outsource midday meals scheme in schools

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By Irshad Khan

Srinagar, Mar 31: The government has not yet outsourced the Mid Day Meals scheme in the schools in Kashmir to the non-governmental organisations, with even the ‘pilot project’ aimed to be started in two districts not having started.
To “relieve teachers” from the additional workload of executing it, the government in September said it would outsource the scheme to NGOs.
Despite the NGOs offering their services to the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK), which is the agency executing the scheme in the valley, the project is yet to take off.
Excluding Leh and Kargil, the insiders said, the NGOs have offered to take up the scheme across Kashmir.
A couple of such NGOs told The Kashmir Monitor that the scheme has not been outsourced to them as yet.
An official in the DSEK said that leaving the scheme in the hands of teachers affected the academic work in the schools.
“Instead of teaching the students, the teacher named to implement the scheme has to indulge in business,” he said.
Several teachers involved with the scheme admitted that their teaching was getting work, as they were compelled to keep a separate teacher for maintaining the accounts of the scheme.
With the DSEK withholding funds for “months together”, a teacher said that they had to experience humiliation at the hands of the shopkeepers for taking the food items on credit.
Over the government’s failure to outsource the scheme to the NGOs, Joint Director Planning, Education Department, Javed Iqbal Matoo, said they were checking the “pros and cons” of outsourcing the scheme.
“It is not that easy. The plan is not to outsource the scheme at once, but on pilot basis. The NGOs have to be credible,” he said.
Outsourcing the scheme has not yet started even on pilot basis in Samba and Jammu districts, Matoo admitted.
He said the project would be started in the districts in the next financial year.
“If it takes off in Jammu, we will accordingly extend it to Srinagar,” he added.
Over the teachers saying that the scheme in its present form affected the academic work, Matoo said, “They just have to skip one class for the scheme. It is a matter of 40 minutes.”

 
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ASI among three cops injured in Rajbagh grenade blast

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Srinagar, Jan 17: Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) of police and two traffic cop were injured in a grenade blast near Zero Bridge in Rajbagh area of Srinagar city in Central Kashmir on Thursday afternoon.
Reports said that suspected militants lobbed a grenade on police party near Zero Bridge in Rajbagh.
In the blast, three policemen including an ASI of police and two traffic policemen sustained splinter injuries and were evacuated to SMHS hospital for treatment.
The injured has been identified as Iqbal Singh (ASI of JKAP 14 Bn) and traffic policemen Haris Manzoor (SPO) and Sanullah (Head Constable).
While ASI Iqbal has sustained splinter injuries to both of his legs, Haris suffered an injury to the back side of his neck and Sanullah suffered injuries in his right leg.
SSP Srinagar Imtiaz Ismail Parray confirmed the attack and subsequent injuries to the ASI and two traffic cops.
Soon after the attack, the government forces cordoned off the area and launched a hunt to nab the attackers.
Security forces have launched a massive search operation in Rajbagh and adjoining areas near Zero Bridge after three police personnel including assistant sub-inspector were injured in a grenade attack by the terrorists on Thursday.
Homes and hotels in the area were searched frisking was also carried out. It was the first major terrorist attack in the Srinagar city this year. The injured cops are undergoing treatment at the hospital.
Meanwhile Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) has claimed responsibly of the grenade attack on the forces’ party at Raj Bagh area of Srinagar.
A JeM spokesperson Muhammad Hassan in a statement claimed that two forces personnel were killed and 6 critically injured in the attack.
An ASI of police and two traffic cops were injured in a grenade blast near Zero Bridge, Raj Bagh in Thursday afternoon.

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2018 has been remarkable year for forces: Army commander

Global News Service

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Srinagar, Jan 17: A top army commander on Thursday described 2018 as “remarkable year” for government forces, saying that more than 250 militants were killed, 54 others were arrested and four others surrendered in Kashmir Valley.
“The year 2018 has been a remarkable year for armed forces on the security front. As per the record of last ten years, army along with other forces have neutralized many militants. Many militants have surrendered under pressure and many others were arrested alive,” said Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, GoC-in-C Northern Command told reporters after inaugurating Kalai Bridge constructed by Border Roads Organization.
“More than 250 militants were killed, 54 others arrested and four others have surrendered,” he said, adding, “This speaks about the strength of our security establishment,” the officer said.
He said that the army was giving “befitting reply” to Pakistan army along the Line of Control whenever there were instances of any ceasefire violation or snipping.
“As per wireless and other intercepts, Pakistan army and militants suffered a huge loss in our retaliatory action.”
The Kalai Bridge spans over Suran River and connects Kalai area to Chandak area in Poonch district. During the inaugural function, the Army Commander addressed the gathering of Army, GREF and local residents and said that the Kalai bridge is an important milestone towards enhancing the road communication in the area.
“The bridge is an important strategic asset as it enhances the movement of military equipment and troops in a faster time frame,” he said. The Indian Army and BRO have been working towards infrastructure development in the remote and far-flung areas and improving the road connectivity, he said.
“The bridge will reduce traffic congestion in the city and ease out inconvenience caused to the people specially those moving towards Budha Amarnath Shrine in Mandi as it reduces the travelling time considerably.”
The Army Commander appreciated the contribution of the District Administration for their support and cooperation during the construction of the bridge.

 

Beg to differ: Omar Abdullah

 

Srinagar, Jan 17: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah on Thursday lashed out at the Northern Command Chief Lt General Ranbir Singh, on his “great year for security forces” remark.
Taking to Twitter, Abdullah wrote, the compulsion of killing militants/terrorists shouldn’t be treated as a cause for celebration.
“I beg to differ, a great year would be one in which no young man would join militancy, no terrorists would be killed & no security personnel would lose their lives in encounters. The compulsion of killing militants/terrorists shouldn’t be treated as a cause for celebration,” Abdullah wrote.
Abdullah was reacting to a statement by Gen Singh on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Kalai bridge in Poonch district. Gen Singh said 2018 had been a great year for the security forces as they had managed to kill 250 terrorists.

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Heartening to meet Kashmiri students in Bangladesh: Shahid Afridi

Agencies

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Srinagar, Jan 17: Star Pakistan cricketer Shahid Afridi on Thursday met Kashmiri students in Bangladesh and interacted with them.

Afridi said that it was heartening to see Kashmiri students in Bangladesh who are studying medicine.“Heartening meeting with some Kashmiri students who are in Bangladesh on scholarship, studying Medicine. Keep up the hard work and making your people proud!,” he tweeted.

Afridi in the past has been in controversies over Kashmiri over his support to the Kashmir cause. He has been vocal about letting the people of Kashmir decide their future.

 
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