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I&FC deptt yet to initiate Phase-II of Jhelum dredging

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Feb 10: The state government is yet to initiate the second phase of dredging on river Jhelum even though Centre had released Rs 399 crore for the project three years before.

After devastating 2014 flood, Centre in February 2016 sanctioned Rs 399 crores Jammu and Kashmir for dredging of rivers to enhance their carrying capacity and to prevent flood like situation.

The dredging of the River Jhelum was scheduled in two phases. Phase-I of the project was initiated in north and central Kashmir by a Kolkata based firm Reach Dredging Limited.

 

Irrigation and Flood Control Department (I&FC) paid Rs 20 crore to the firm, which later monitoring sub-committee disengaged from the project after failing to meet multiple deadlines including March 2018.

While department claims the first phase in Srinagar was completed and almost 80 per cent dredging work was covered in north Kashmir , the process to initiate Phase II has not been set into motion yet.

“The Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the project is in the process and phase II will hopefully start in mid-2019. We are currently on job for approval of the project,” Chief Engineer I&FC A K Sharma said.

He blamed the harsh weather condition in winters for delay in the completion of the project. “Due to the rains and snow, dredging cannot be done. We need to wait till this rainy season is over.”

For phase I, the deadline was initially set as January 2017 but the government later extended it to December 2017 after suspension of work due to 2016 unrest.

The incomplete project is being flayed by the experts who claim that many areas of the valley were still vulnerable to floods.
“Dredging was meant to remove deposition of sand and silt in the river, which still has not been done properly. Even normal rainfall can trigger flood like situation in the valley due to the less carrying capacity of the rivers,” Environmentalist Dr Arshid said.


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Kashmir

Crackdown launched on illegal selling of tobacco products in Srinagar

Crackdown launched on illegal selling of tobacco products in Srinagar

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Srinagar, Jun 25: The Srinagar administration Tuesday launched a city-wide crackdown on illegal sale of cigarettes among other tobacco products holding simultaneous inspections of markets in various areas.

The inspections were held in the wake of growing concerns about increasing prevalence of substance abuse in Srinagar and to verify adherence to the Cigarettes & Other Tobacco Products Act or COTPA 2003 which prohibits advertisement of and provides for regulation of trade and commerce in production and distribution of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Large number of stores and vendors situated at different places were found selling cigarettes without the mandatory pictorial warnings on packets thereof. Huge cache of such cigarettes was also seized from various markets during the inspections.

 

Some 50 stores and vendors including those found selling cigarettes among other tobacco products close to schools among other educational institutions in violations of COTPA and violating other provisions thereof were booked with several of them sealed during the inspections.

It is notable that the data suggests that the annual amount spent on tobacco consumption in Srinagar is a staggering Rs 131 crore which is the highest in the State. This among other forms of substance abuse involving both genders is growing into a serious cause of concern in the district.

Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary who has issued strict instructions to concerned officers to crackdown on violators and offenders said violations of COTPA account for serious offences and will be dealt with in the context of public safety.

Dr Shahid assured of sustained efforts to check substance abuse in Srinagar but also urged the general public and parents in particular to do their bit emphasizing their important role therein and to assist the administration in its efforts to curb prevalence thereof.

Last month a district level coordination committee comprising 15 members from different departments and organisations was constituted in the district for the implementation of COTPA.

Different members of the committee have been assigned different roles and responsibilities for ensuring effective and functional application of tobacco control in the district.

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Kashmir

Amit Shah should start process of dialogue with all stakeholders: Sagar

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Srinagar, Jun 25: Ahead of the visit of union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir, National Conference has hoped that the central government will begin dialogue on Kashmir to restore peace in the state.

National Conference General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar said that Kashmir valley is going through bloodshed, tension and arrests of youth on daily basis which further deteriorate the situation.

“Home ministers visit Kashmir, but this time we hope the visiting home minister will start process of dialogue with all stakeholders here which will help improve the situation,” he said.

 

He said that the daily pensive situation, ongoing bloodshed, and arrests of youth will stop only through initiatives of peace through dialogue.

“We hope the visit of home minister should make difference in Kashmir situation. If the home minister starts any dialogue process to which will improve situation here, we welcome it,” he said.

Expressing the displeasure with the Reservation Bill brought up the home minister, Sage said that NC is against the procedure which was adopted by the central government.

“The procedure adopted by the centre government to bring the bill violation of article 370. We are not against reservation for any particular section of people. We are against the procedure adopted by the government,” he said.

He said that Member Parliament of National Conference Dr Farooq Abdullah will take a stand over the bill in the ongoing session of Parliament.

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Kashmir

Amit Shah should inaugurate a new era of engagement in Kashmir: Faesal

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Srinagar, Jun 25: President J&K Peoples Movement Shah Faesal has said that on his maiden visit to Kashmir as Home Minister, Amit Shah should inaugurate a new age of engagement and reach out to people of the State.

In a statement issued, Shah Faesal said that Central Government led by PM Narendra Modi has an extraordinary opportunity to take bold decisions on Kashmir and bring peace to Valley while taking all stakeholders on board.

He argued for initiation of dialogue process, resumption of Cross LoC trade, freeing of political prisoners who are in jails for minor offenses, among other political initiatives needed at this hour.

 

Shah Faesal also called for immediate implementation of Universal Basic Income scheme for BPL households of the State, age relaxation of UPSC/JEE IIT aspirants from J&K State, improvement of inter-provincial road connectivity and four-laning if Srinagar-Salamabad, Srinagar-Teetwal roads.

JKPM President expressed hope that the Home Minister would facilitate creation of an environment of peace in which developmental activity and will pick up and Tourism potential of the State will be harnessed.

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