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Highway ban: Stakeholders say move to result in Rs 2000 crore loss to Horticulture sector

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Srinagar, July 04 : Facing criticism from the political class, tour operators, industrialists, growers and the civil society, the State government’s ban on civilian traffic for 45 days on the Srinagar-Jammu highway is set to dent the Valley’s horticulture industry and tourism sector with those affected by the ban on vehicular traffic asserting that the step will result in losses to the tune of hundreds of crores.

“We have cherry stock in cold storages, which requires urgent transportation to various destination in the country. The crop will be hit badly by the ban. Besides, it will delay the chemical treatment of orchards.

The ban is unjustified and will make small-time farmers suffer,” Bashir Ahmad Basheer, chairman of the Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers-Cum-Dealers Association told a local news gathering agency.

 

He said from ending July, apple crop will also be harvested and packing will start and the Amarnath Yatra is ending on August 15. “So barring the travel of fruit laden and other vehicles for five to six hours on the highway stretch need to be looked into a broader perspective and that it is a move aimed to chocking Kashmir’s economy.

When fruit won’t reach the outside market on time, its demand will go down and quality reduces. So we expect losses to the tune of Rs 1000 to 2000 crore as far as horticulture sector is concerned.”

The ban order issued by the Governor’s administration has barred the movement of civilian vehicles, including trucks, from Nashri to Qazigund on the Srinagar-Jammu highway for 45 days, till the Yatra is over. Travel Agents Association of Kashmir president Ashfaq Siddiq Dug said.

“This will have serious implications for upcoming tourist season. It will only add to the woes of tourists and pilgrims.” Stating that Kashmir does not have any alternative road connectivity, Dug said, “It will result in huge economic losses in Kashmir.”

Talking with the news agency, noted Industialist Shakeel Qalander said that though Kashmir has only surface link where from goods and crops like apple, cherry, saffron, honey, almonds, walnuts etc are transported to national and international markets, the ban is all set to cast a shadow on the Kashmir’s economy.

“People associated with the fruit trade will have to maintain their inventories for months together instead of days, which is a difficult process and a sign of trouble. Five hour ban per day that will continue till August 15 is a dictatorial step aimed at targeting the Kashmir economy at a time when Valley was expecting some relief due to ongoing tourist season,” he said.

Qaiser Shahid Khan, senior vice president Industrialists Association Khamoh said that ban order is dictatorial in nature as it will not allow the Kashmiri products be that Cherry, apple, honey, almonds, saffron and other items to reach their respective markets.

“The cost of our products will miserably drop so will their life. Our products will rot due to the delay in transportation,” he said. “Vehicles involved in transportation will also have to spend more time to and fro as compared to their routine travel procedure. Expected losses are huge. Government must rethink on its order of banning the travel on the highway during Yatra period.”


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State

DGP calls Armed Police as backbone of J&K Police

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, July 23: Director General of Police (DGP), J&K, Dilbag Singh Tuesday said that Armed Police is the backbone of the J&K Police.

The DGP said this during his visit to Armed Police Headquarters (APHQ), Karan Nagar, Srinagar, where he was received by the ADGP (Armed) J&K S.J.M. Gillani and other officers of the Armed Police Headquarters.

The DGP in his address said that Armed Police is the backbone of the J&K Police with having highest number of personnel on its roll who are doing their duties at multiple places and are entrusted with multiple tasks.

 

Dilbag Singh complimented Armed Police for handling law & order, security and other multifarious jobs in the State and currently having huge deployment in Amarnath Yatra including the Mountain Rescue Teams (MRTs), and also praised the role of Armed Police in counter insurgency grid.

The DGP while complementing the role of MRTs in rescuing hundreds of the yatries said that Governor Satya Pal Malik and Advisors of the Governor have hailed the role of these MRTs. Their role has been highlighted by the national media and Yatris, he added

The DGP also expressed his satisfaction for safe and smooth conduct of Yatra from both sides for which Armed Police is deployed along with district police of South Kashmir and Central Kashmir. The DGP also underlined the Armed Police for making significant contribution during the Panchayat, Urban Local Bodies and Parliamentary elections. During his address the DGP advised the officers to focus on skill development of the police personnel to further improve their efficiency. The DGP also impressed upon regular welfare measures for the officers/jawans.

While congratulating the Armed Police personnel SgCt. Nazir Ahmad and SgCt. Falil Singh for scaling the Mount Everest and also other personnel who have brought laurels to the Police by winning medals, the DGP impressed that more and more attention must be given to the Central Sports teams.

Earlier, on his arrival the DGP was given a ceremonial guard of honour. Thereafter DGP chaired a meeting which was attended by senior police officers and reviewed the functioning of the Armed Police wing. The meeting which was attended by ADGP CID, J&K Dr. B. Srinivas, ADGP (Armed) S.J.M. Gillani, ADGP Law & Order/Security Munir Ahmad Khan, IGP Armed Kashmir Vijay Kumar, IGP (Pers.) PHQ J.P. Singh and IGP Kashmir S.P. Pani.

ADGP (Armed) J&K S.J.M Gillani briefed the DGP regarding functioning and deployment of the different battalions of the Armed Police. He projected the requirements and plans with regard to the Armed battalions to which the DGP said that they would be sympathetically looked into. ADGP (Armed) J&K during his briefing highlighted that the training, welfare and equipment needs of the force will be taken care of. The ADGP also put forth certain requirements with regard to the body gears of the law and order personnel for their day to day duties.

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License to kill corrupt ‘ridiculous’: Geelani

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar July 23: Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Tuesday said that the license to kill corrupt people is a “ridiculous” option to weed out the menace.

In a press statement issued here, Geelani said that the ‘arrogance of power, whether individually or collectively, makes one to lose his wits and cross every moral, human, ethical, democratic and constitutional limits.’

He was commenting on the recent statement made by the governor where the latter had suggested militants that instead of killing SPOs and PSOs, they should kill corrupt politicians who have looted the State from so many decades.

 

 “License to kill corrupt people is a unique and ridiculous option to weed out this menace. This is unfortunate that a country, claiming to believe in ‘non-violence’ and proudly labeling itself world’s largest democracy, its official representatives openly encouraging violence only unmasks the real face of proud killers of Gandhi,” Geelani said.

“Although it is a fact that our political vultures/brokers have time and again mortgaged their conscience and honor for their petty personal perks and privileges, but if one goes down the lane in history, they have been encouraged to loot the national assets, in the form of vandalization, political arrogance, executive highhandedness and electrical malpractices,” he alleged.

He said that only and best way to check and root out corruption is to respect the sentiments of the people and ensure their basic and fundamental rights, “otherwise force and might help in thriving these social evils without any accountability.”

The Hurriyat (G) chairman strongly condemned the “venomous and immoral statement of Dogra progeny about 13 July martyrs and said that killer of lakhs of Muslims of Kashmir can’t have a better heir than his own grandson.”

Blaming noble souls, who sacrificed their lives to uphold their faith, Geelani said that it is nothing but outburst of that genetic hatred that his ancestors were proudly symbolic of.

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CB probe against Akhtar: Mehboob Beg distances himself from party statement

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, July 23: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehboob Beg on Tuesday distanced himself from the recent statement sent from the party headquarters over the probe by Crime Branch against Naeem Akhtar.

Earlier, Beg was quoted in a statement issued by PDP, in which the party defended its senior leader and former minister Naeem Akhtar Andrabi, saying the probe initiated against him by the Crime Branch was baseless and motivated.

“I have no idea about the statement. I wasn’t even consulted before issuing this statement in press,” Beg however said while talking to media.

 

He added that he has also talked to party leaders in this regard and asked why a statement has been issued without taking him into the consideration

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