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Highway closure, exorbitant airfares knocking Kashmir tourism: KCCI

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Jul 12: The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has welcomed the state’s government’s move appointing senior bureaucrat Navin Kumar Choudhary as Secretary Tourism.
In a statement, Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad, President, KCCI appreciated the measures of the government for the promotion of the tourism sector by giving its charge to Navin Kumar Choudhary.
The transfer, as per the statement, has been widely welcomed by the travel and tourism sector, in view of Navin’s “positive and helpful style of working.”
“With the stakeholders having high expectations, the Government also needs to create an environment conducive for officers to deliver their best for the revival of this important sector of our economy,” read the statement.
The Tourism sector of J&K, the chamber said, has suffered the major brunt of vagaries associated with the prevailing situation in the state as also various policy changes including the implementation of GST.
“Despite the acknowledgement of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture about the manifold negative impact of GST on the Tourism Sector and recommending a review of the same, no tangible decision has been taken in this regard. The State has while declaring the Tourism Sector as an Industry has been very close-fisted in providing the incentives of the industrial sector to the tourism industry. The announcement of charging of power tariff at par with the industrial sector stands withdrawn within a year,” the statement read.
“…frequent closure of the road link and exorbitant airfares have dealt a serious blow to tourism,” it added.
J&K has not been able to take advantage of the huge potential of the tourism sector, the chamber said adding that the inbound figures of tourists in 2017-18 are dismal in comparison to other states.
“J&K has received only 73 lakh tourists in 2017-18 as against the tourist footfall in Bihar (3.35 Crores), Rajasthan (4.75 Crores), UP (23.70 cr), Tamil Nadu (33.83 cr), and Kerala (1.58 cr) during the same period,” KCCI said.
Out of the figure of 73 lakhs, only 13.1 lakh tourists have actually visited Kashmir and includes more than 2 lakh Yatris visiting the Amarnath Cave.
Around sixty lakh visitors are pilgrims visiting the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine and around 2-3 lakh visitors have visited Ladakh.
“So, around 10 lakh tourists have visited Kashmir in the year 2017. Around the same number were visiting Kashmir even more than thirty years ago. While most of the States have been witnessing a steady double-digit percentage growth in the number of inbound tourists, Jammu and Kashmir has been witnessing a downslide. Even the number of pilgrims visiting the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine has witnessed a steady drop. From a peak in the year 2012 of around 103.9 lacs, the year 2017 only attracted 57.40 lacs pilgrims to Katra,” the statement read.
“The government would also need to consider the sensitive nature of the tourism business and customize security considerations accordingly. Tourism cannot survive if tourists are made to undergo frequent frisking and travel restrictions,” it added.
The state government, KCCI said, has indicated its seriousness about the focus on Tourism by making several changes in the Department of Tourism.
“The KCC&I urges that, in view of a large number of people associated with the Tourism Sector, major policy changes are required for the revival of this sector. The Government would need to provide stability by assigning responsibilities for longer durations to efficient and competent officers and also to provide budgetary support at par with other tourist destination states,” it said.


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Kashmir

Talks with Hurriyat not possible as they are not real stakeholders: BJP

Kashmir News Service

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Srinagar, Jul 16: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tuesday said that talks with Hurriyat leaders were not possible as they are not the real stakeholders of Kashmir. The party also said that it will not forge any pre-poll alliance in Jammu and Kashmir.

BJP’s State General Secretary (Organization), Ashok Koul said that the talks should and will be held on Kashmir but only with those who are the real stakeholders of Kashmir. “Hurriyat is not any stakeholder as their kith and kin are enjoying outside but those who have suffered and lost their properties including youth, traders and others are the real stakeholders and talks with them will be held,” he added.

He further stated that the government was working on initiating a dialogue and the talks with many people from different communities were being held at present.

 

Koul further stated that the threat of BJP among the people was no more as they are knowledgeable about the facts that Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government was working for their welfare. “Today, I was shocked to see that the youth in large number kept me busy in taking selfies with them for half an hour after a meeting today, which shows that people have faith in BJP,” he added.

Referring to a query, Koul said that its people who are behind the decline in stone pelting incidents in Kashmir besides forces and police. He said that BJP from the day one is against the wrong impression against the Kashmir. “We have been raising our voice that any incident taking place in single portion of Kashmir should be not be highlighted like the way it is,” he said, adding that wrong perception against Kashmir will also be curbed soon.

About possibility of pre-poll alliance ahead of the assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, he said that like every party, the party will make every effort to emerge victorious with majority and to form the government on its own. “We will not forge any pre-poll alliance but in case the need arises, the party will deliberate upon the post-poll alliance,” he added.

He further stated that at present the party is focusing on winning the elections with pre-poll alliance and to form the government on its own.

About Article 370 and Article 35 A, the BJP leader said that these were the core issues of the party and it has also mentioned in its manifesto. “I can’t say when it will be abrogated but it is up to the central government to decide when it will be abrogated,” he added.

Asked about the ongoing membership drive, BJP leader said that the membership drive was going on smoothly. “We have started a process in this regard. In charges and co-incharges have been appointed. We have set a target of 4.5 lakh members in Kashmir and 1.25 lakhs in three zones including central, southern and northern Kashmir. We have formulated a procedure in this regard.”

He added that they are expecting that at least 2.5 lakh members will join in the ongoing drive. “People are showing good response especially in far flung areas. The youth are showing their response and raising their concerns as well. People are joining the party wholeheartedly,” he added.

Koul said that ahead of the elections in Jammu and Kashmir, BJP has decided to strengthen party at grassroots level as it will help the party in the upcoming elections.

About JK Bank issue, Koul said people may face hardships for time being but it will ensure the transparency in the end, which would benefit the people here. “The people also faced hardships during demonetization. Similarly, the people may face hardships today but it will benefit the people,” he said.

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Rotavirus vaccines important step for health, wellbeing of children: Dulloo

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, July 16: State Level Workshop for introduction of Rotavirus Vaccine was organized at Banquet Hall, Srinagar.

Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education, Atal Dulloo was the chief guest on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Financial Commissioner said India’s decision to introduce the rotavirus vaccines as part of its routine program marks an immensely important step for the health and wellbeing of the country’s children. He said that Rotavirus kills approximately 453000 children of less than five years of age globally every year and is a major threat to the health of children across the WHO South-East Asia Region. “Every year, approximately 127 000 children aged less than five years die of the disease in the SEA Region, around 98000 of whom are in India,” he said.

 

The workshop was attended by Dr. Arun Sharma Director Family Welfare, MCH and Immunization J&K, Bhupinder  Kumar MD NHM J&K , Dr Kunzes Dolma Director Health Services Kashmir, Head of the Department Paediatrics GMC Srinagar, Dr. Muzaffar Jan, Head of Department Social & Preventive Medicine GMC Srinagar , Dr. Mohammad Saleem Khan and other officers.

The workshop was also attended by HOD and Faculty members from GMC associated Hospitals of Kashmir Division, Chief Medical Officers, Deputy Chief Medical Officers, District Immunization Officers, District Mass Media and Education Officers and other officials of the department.

Dr Arun Sharma Director Family Welfare, MCH and Immunization J&K while speaking on the occasion said a series of trainings will be conducted in all districts and blocks and every field level worker will be trained for Rota vaccine introduction before the launch.

State Immunization Officer, J&K Dr. Qazi Haroon said that there is a need for Social mobilization, Advocacy and robust IEC for making any campaign or new vaccine launch successful. He informed that the State is receiving one lakh doses of Rotavirus vaccine, 50000 each for Jammu & Kashmir. He also said that the State has excellent and adequate cold chain facility for storage of vaccines and the State is ready for its launch.

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PSC fast tracking recruitment process;around 2000 vacancies in various stages of selection process

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, July 16: The Jammu & Kashmir Public Service Commission (PSC) is expediting the process of recruitments for the vacancies referred to it by the Government from time to time.  The Commission has already taken many initiatives to fast track the selection process.

The Commission has also paced up the process of seeking clarifications from the individual Departments in respect of eligibility and qualifications in respect of certain vacancies, if need be and address the issues in the shortest possible time.

At present, around two thousand vacancies pertaining to different Departments are at various stages of selection process with the Commission. With Higher Education topping the list with 743 vacancies, vacancies of Departments like 451 from Health & Medical Education,  349 from General Administration Department, 200 from Animal/Sheep Husbandry, 81 from Law Department, 66 from Forest Department, 57 from School Education Department, 49 from Agriculture Production Department, 33 posts from Public Works (R&B), 15 from Power Development Department, eight each from Industries and Commerce Department and Home Department, seven from Technical Education, five from  Housing and Urban Development Department, four from Culture Department and two from the Transport Department are at various stages of selection process in the Commission, a statement from the Commission said today.

 
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