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In Srinagar, Modi says, ‘’will break backbone of militancy’

‘Surgical strike showed India’s new policy tradition’

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Feb 3: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that his government would “break the backbone of militancy” and eradicate it from the Valley.

Addressing a gathering at SKICC Srinagar after laying the foundation stone of various developmental projects, the Prime Minister said, “We will deal militancy in a befitting way. We will break the back of militancy and fight it with all our might. The militancy will be dealt strictly. We also conducted surgical strikes against militants.”

Hitting at gunmen over killings in the Valley, he said, “Those who kill dream of others are cowards but those who protect lives are real heroes.”

 

The Prime Minister also paid tributes to Nazir Ahmad Wani, who was last year killed in an encounter at Tral and was awarded Ashoka Chakra posthumously on January 26. “ Nazir including all other brave soldiers who sacrificed themselves to protect the nation and maintain peace are real heroes. Youth like him show the youth of J&K and the entire country to live for the nation,” he said.

Apparently referring to militants and separatists, the Prime Minister said, “Despite negativity and threats, people rushed to polling booths in recently panchayat and urban local bodies elections.”

Modi also spoke about former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s dreams about Jammu and Kashmir.“I must re-assure you that the dream of Vajpayeeji for J&K will be realized and we are committed to realize that dream. It is under that spirit of Kashmiriyat that displaced Kashmir Pandits will be rehabilitated by setting up transit accommodations,” he said.

Speaking in Kashmiri at the start of his speech, Modi said it was cold in Srinagar and the night temperature could drop below the freezing point. “I have come to light the fires of warmth and affection in this biting cold.”

He said that Kashmir is the land of saints and “we have to relive its glory”.

Modi who had digital interaction with college students from across the country said, “There are two realities today which make us proud. India is the fastest growing large economy in the world and, according to studies, India is also reducing poverty at the fastest pace in the world.”“Srinagar has hosted an educational interaction today that would in the past take place only in New Delhi. We have launched all landmark programmes like this from far off places in the country. There are many projects which were lingering for years have been completed,” he said.

He said that India has become the third biggest start-up country after the US and China. “When youths get top class institutions near their homes, they can excel better and realize their dreams.”

Modi congratulated the people for making Jammu and Kashmir for open defecation free since September.“J&K has also achieved nearly 100 electrification much before the deadline,” he said.

“It is the endeavour of my government that every drop of water that was wasted in the past is now used for developing the hydro power potential of the state. In healthcare sector every poor family is covered with Rs 5 lakh healthcare insurance. This includes lakhs of people in Jammu and Kashmir.”

From Srinagar, the Prime Minister digitally laid foundation of different projects and also inaugurated some development projects.

This includes the transit accommodation for migrant employees in Ganderbal district with 192 flats and in Bandipora district with 480 flats, the 400 KV double circuit Jalandhar-Amargarh electric transmission line and a business process outsourcing unit in Bandipora.

Launches several devt projects in JK

LEH/JAMMU/SRINAGAR, FEB 03: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched several development projects in Jammu and Kashmir during his day-long visit to the State. He laid foundation of prestigious AIIMS in Jammu and Srinagar.
Beginning his J&K visit from Ladakh this morning, Prime Minister laid foundation of New Terminal Building of Kushak Bakula Rinpoche Airport at Leh.
The New Terminal Building of KBR Airport Leh is coming up over 11.8 acres of land at a project cost of Rs 480 crore. It shall have 18 check-in counters, two arrival baggage carrousels, three passenger boarding bridges with parking facility for 200 cars. The new airport terminal will be upgraded to handle A320 and B737 aircrafts.
Prime Minister also dedicated to the nation 220 KV Single Circuit, Srinagar-Alusteng-Drass-Kargil-Khaltsi-Leh Transmission System to connect Ladakh with the National Grid for assured power supply. The foundation of this project was laid by the Prime Minister in August 2014. The transmission system has been completed by the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd at a cost of Rs 2361.60 crore.
Prime Minister also inaugurated 9MW Dah Hydroelectric Project in Ladakh. The project has been completed at a cost of Rs 95 crores and it will provide electricity to around half a dozen villages in the area.
Prime Minister also launched the University of Ladakh established under University of Ladakh Act 2018. It will be a Cluster University comprising Degree Colleges of Nubra, Leh, Zanskar, Kargil, Drass and Khaltsi. The University shall have administrative offices both at Leh and Kargil.
The Prime Minister also declared open several new tourist and trekking routes in Ladakh region to facilitate more tourist footfall in the area.
In addition, Protected Area Permit’s validity has been increased to 15 days in Ladakh region. Now tourists will be able to enjoy their journey in Ladakh for a longer time.
Prime Minister also addressed a gathering at the auditorium of the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies (CIBS) Leh.
Governor Satya Pal Malik, Minister of State in PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh, Chairman Legislative Council Haji Anayat Ali, Chairman/CEC, LAHDC, Leh Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, Chairman/CEC, LAHDC Kargil Feroz Ahmad Khan, Legislator Chering Dorjay, Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam, Director General of Police, Dilbag Singh, DC Leh Avny Lavasa and other senior civil, police and Army officers were present on the occasion.
Earlier on his arrival at Leh, Prime Minister was received by Governor Satya Pal Malik, Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam and senior officers from civil, police administration and the Army.
At Jammu, Prime Minister laid foundation of AIIMS Jammu at Vijaypur, Samba.
AIIMS Jammu is coming up at a cost of Rs 1661 crore under PMDP. Around 2000 kanals of land have been transferred to the Health and Medical Education Department at Vijaypur for the AIIMS Jammu project.
AIIMS Jammu shall have 750 bedded state of the art super-specialty hospital with a Medical College and Nursing College.
Prime Minister also laid foundation of a Bridge over River Chenab at Sajwal (Pargwal-Indri Pattian), Jourian in Jammu. The 1640 m (39 spans) double-lane bridge would provide alternate connectivity between Sajwal and Indri Pattian areas reducing the travel distance from existing 50 KMs to 3 KMs. The bridge will be completed by March 2021.
Prime Minister laid foundation of Pollution Abatement Project on Rivers Devika and Tawi. The project is being implemented under National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) at an estimated cost of Rs 186.74 crore involving development and beautification of 25.29 sq kms of rivers Devika and Tawi in Udhampur district.
Prime Minister laid foundation of the Northern Regional Centre of Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) Campus Jammu coming up over 15.25 acres of land at Kerian in Jammu at an estimated cost of Rs 16.40 crore. He also inaugurated University Institute of Engineering & Technology Janglote, Kathua. He also launched entrepreneurship and career development hub at Jammu University.
Prime Minister also laid foundation of 624 MW Kiru Hydroelectric Project to be constructed over River Chenab in district Kishtwar by Chenab Valley Power Projects Private Ltd (CVPPPL). The project cost is Rs 4708.60 crore and it is to be completed in 54 months. J&K will get free power from the project as per the norms besides 1% additional free power will be provided towards Local Area Development Fund.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was also exchanged, on the occasion, between J&K Power Development Department (JKPDD) and NHPC Ltd for execution of 850 MW Ratle Hydroelectric Project on river Chenab in Drabshalla area of district Kishtwar.
On the last leg of his visit, Prime Minister laid foundation of various projects in Srinagar including AIIMS Kashmir coming up at Awantipora, Pulwama at a cost of Rs 1828 crore over 207 acres of land.
AIIMS Kashmir shall have 750 bedded state of the art super-specialty hospital with a Medical College and Nursing College.
The Prime Minister dedicated to the nation 400 KV Double Circuit Jalandhar-Samba-Rajouri-Shopian-Amargarh (Sopore) Transmission Line. The project has been completed at a cost of Rs 3000 crores and would bring additional 1000 MW of electricity to the Kashmir valley.


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Biz leaders of JK, PaK meet in Tashkent

Appeal India, Pak to resume cross LoC trade

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Jun 24: For the first time since the Cross LoC trade was suspended, the business leaders of Jammu and Kashmir and Muzaffarabad met in Tashkent and decided to approach the respective governments for early resumption of the trade.

The decision was taken in a three-day conference of the business leaders of both sides of LoC, which is currently underway in the Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent. Six business leaders representing Chambers of Commerce of Kashmir and Jammu are participating in the conference, which started on Sunday. 

Trade leaders from Mirpur Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) and Traders Union Rawalakot are representing the business community of Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PaK) in the conference.

 

The three-day meet has been organized by Muzaffarabad-based Centre for Peace, Development and Reforms (CPDR), which works to “promote peace and development at all levels through dialogue, reconciliation and reforms.”

On the second day of the conference on Monday, the traders resolved to convey to their respective governments the need for early resumption of cross LoC trade.

President Kashmir Chamber (KCC&I), Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad, while speaking to The Kashmir Monitor over the phone from Tashkent, said the traders held threadbare deliberations on the resumption and strengthening of the Cross LoC trade.

“It was resolved that all the Chambers will take up the matter related to the reopening of Cross LoC trade with the respective governments,” he said.

On April 18, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) suspended the Cross-LoC trade in J&K, saying that it was being used for “funneling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency” into the state.

More than 280 traders were hit by the decision. Figures reveal that goods worth Rs 6,900 crore were traded on both sides since the inception of the trade in 2008.

On the alleged transporting of incriminating material through the route, Ahmad said the traders pledged to push their respective governments for framing Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) for ensuring greater transparency in the trade.

“We are for the transparency of the trade. Both the countries should frame SOPs wherein necessary measures should be taken to check such activities. It was made amply clear that the traders should concentrate on the trade while as the government must ensure transparency,” he said.

The participants also realised that the suspension of the Cross trade was causing huge losses to the business community on both the sides.

“Traders on both the sides of LoC are incurring huge losses. The Cross LoC trade was the biggest Confidence Building Measure between the two countries. It should be resumed immediately,” said the president, KCC&I.

He said the conference was aimed at exploring all options to ensure hassle-free trade across the border. 

Before suspension, the Cross LoC trade was being carried out for four days a week on both routes—Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakote.

Started in October 2008, Cross-LoC trade was considered the mother of all confidence building measures between India and Pakistan. However, the trade could not grow beyond the barter system.

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Mehbooba welcomes Hurriyat’s readiness for dialogue

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Srinagar, Jun 24: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti Monday welcomed the Hurriyat Conference willingness to hold talks with the Centre saying it was ‘better late than never’.

“Dair aye durust aye [better late than never]. The underlying purpose of the PDP-BJP alliance was to facilitate dialogue between the GoI & all stakeholders. Tried my best to make it happen in my tenure as Chief Minister but relieved that Hurriyat has finally softened their stand,” former Chief Minister Mehbooba said in a tweet.

Mehbooba Mufti was referring to Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s call for a tripartite talk between the Kashmiri leadership, New Delhi and Islamabad for resolution of all issues, including Kashmir.

 

Besides touching on the need for a dialogue during his Friday sermons at Jamia Masjid, the Mirwaiz in his Eid-ul Fitr sermon earlier this month had sought confidence-building measures between India and Pakistan that could facilitate the revival of talks between the two countries.

Governor Satya Pal Malik, while addressing a function in Srinagar on Saturday, had said the Hurriyat had softened its stand and were ready for talks after he took charge of the state in August last year.

“The Hurriyat Conference was not willing to talk. Ram Vilas Paswan was standing at their door (in 2016) but they were not ready to talk. Today, they are ready for talks and want to hold dialogue. There is change in everyone,” Satya Pal Malik said.

The governor’s statement has given rise to speculations that the Centre might be opening dialogue channels with the separatists in Kashmir in near future.

Talks must be held with them: Farooq

Srinagar, Jun 24: Two days after Governor Satya Pal Malik said that Hurriyat leaders were ready for talks with the Central government, National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah on Monday asserted that talks must be held.

“The Governor says Hurriyat has agreed to talks. Then, talks should be held with them,” Abdullah told the media persons.

Contending that situation in J&K “is changing”, Governor Malik had on June 22 said that Hurriyat leaders were ready for talks with the Centre.

“The ones who turned back Ram Vilas Paswan from their door, they are now ready for talks. The stone pelting after ‘namaz’ is almost over. We do not like it when a youngster dies,” Malik had said at a function.

“But when a bullet is fired, bullets will be fired in retaliation. That is the reality and this change in stance by them is a welcome sign,” Malik had further added.

He had also acknowledged Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq for his statement in which he had expressed concerns over the growing drug crisis in the state.

Within ‘ambit of Constitution’: BJP

Srinagar, Jan 24: BJP’s JK Affairs in-charge Avinash Rai Khanna has said that the Government of India was ready for talks with the Hurriyat ‘within the ambit of the Indian Constitution.’

Khanna also said that this was being done to win the trust of every individual in the state.

“We are open for talks. Hurriyat leaders are own people, they are the residents of J&K so they are most welcome to talk to us including the Prime Minister Narendra Modi but within the ambit of Indian constitution,” Khanna said.

Earlier, PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti said that she is relived that Hurriyat has softened their stand regarding talks with the Government of India.

Recently, Governor Satya Pal Malik’s said that Hurriyat is ready for talks.

In response, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has said that if Government of India initiates ‘meaningful dialogue’, there will be a ‘positive response’.

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J&K Reservation Bill introduced in LS

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Jun 24: People living along the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir will get benefits of reservation in direct recruitment, promotion and admission in professional courses on par with those living along the Actual Line of Control (ALoC), according to a bill introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2019 will replace an ordinance issued by the previous government.

The Bill was introduced by Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy on behalf of Home Minister Amit Shah who was present in the House.

 

Some members from the Opposition wanted to oppose introduction of the bill but speaker Om Birla rejected their demand, saying they had not followed the procedure for doing so.

The bill seeks to provide relief to people living in areas adjoining the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir. They can now avail benefits of reservation in direct recruitment, promotion and admission in different professional courses.

The bill once passed by Parliament will amend the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 to bring persons residing in areas adjoining the IB within the ambit of reservation, on par with those living in areas adjoining the ALoC.

The rules provided for reservation in direct recruitment, promotions and admission in different professional courses to various categories, including residents of areas adjoining ALoC.

Those living in areas adjoining the IB in Jammu and Kashmir were not  included in the ambit of the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 and Rules, 2005 and were deprived of benefits.

Due to continuous cross-border tensions, people living along the IB suffer from socio-economic and educational backwardness. Shelling from across the border often compels residents to move to safer places, which adversely impacts their education as schools and colleges remain closed for long periods.

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