Jammu, Jun 08: Union Minister for Home Affairs, Rajnath Singh Friday rolled out string of relief and employment initiatives for border residents.
Addressing border residents at series of interaction sessions here in R S Pura, the Home Minister said that centre is committed to provide every possible relief to the people living along the border areas. “We are abreast with your problems, you are facing tremendous hardships,” the union Home Minister hailed border residents while acknowledging their problems as recurring.
The participants at the interaction sessions held at Krishi Vigyan Kendra, SKAUST and Chakroi in Tehsil R S Pura included shelling affected Border residents and youth from C-BYTE Trainees (Centre for Border Youth Training & Empowerment).
Also present were Deputy Chief Minister, Kavinder Gupta, Union Minister of State for PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh, Minister for PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control, Sham Lal Choudhary, Vice Chairman SC Advisory Board, Bhushan Lal Dogra, Member Parliament, Jugal Kishore Sharma, MLA Gagan Bhagat, Union Home Secretary, Rajiv Gauba, Chief Secretary, B B Vyas, Principal Secretary Home, R. K. Goyal, DGP SP Vaid, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Rohit Kansal, Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Hemant Kumar Sharma, Rajeev Ranjan, IGP Jammu Dr SD Singh, DIG Jammu Samba Kathua Range Rafiq-Ul-Hassan and Deputy Commissioner Jammu, Kumar.
Assuring more welfare programmes, Home Minister said government knows there is much to be done to solve the problems of border residents. Rolling out the employment initiatives, the Home Minister announced 2 Border Battalions especially for exclusive recruitment of border area population.
Giving further details, he said the government has decided to keep 60% posts reserved for border youth in the proposed 5 IR battalions. He also announced about the government’s plan to raise 2 Mahila Battalions, one for Jammu and one for Kashmir to give due representation to females in the security forces.
Announcing relief for shelling victims, the Home Minister said that the centre has decided to pay Rs 5 lakh to the Next of the Kin (NoK) of those killed in the cross border firing. He further announced enhancement of compensation for loss of each milch animal in border shelling from Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000.
He also announced that the fixed depositing of the ex-gratia will be done away and the Rs 5 lakh compensation will be deposited directly into the bank account of the beneficiaries.
The Home Minister also assured to expedite the work of construction of individual and community bunkers proposed in border areas.
He also announced 5 bullet proof ambulances for border areas.
Earlier, DC Jammu, Kumar Rajeev Ranjan gave a power presentation- the Border Profile of the Jammu District- in which he gave a brief view of shelling affected villages, loss of human lives and damage to property from January 2018, relief provided to the affected families, implementation of central assistance scheme, houses re-constructed under PMAY, Relief Camps and bunkers constructed, remedial classes facilitated for students from border areas and other major concerns of the Border residents.
Meanwhile, the Border residents submitted a memorandum to the Home Minister demanding permanent rehabilitation at safer places, One job to for every border household and assured income for every family, enhancement of compensations, ambulances, compensation for land affected due to fencing, age relaxation in government jobs for border youth, reservation in jobs and many alike issues.
Later, the Union Home Minister also addressed the media persons at a crowded press conference here at Hari Niwas.
5 dead, as many missing as avalanche hits Khardung La pass
Srinagar, Jan 18: Five persons were killed and five others missing after their truck came under an avalanche in the Khardung La area of the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday, officials said.
The avalanche hit the truck carrying 10 persons at the Khardung La pass in the Ladakh region at 7 am, an official of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) said.
The BRO pressed into service its men and machinery to rescue the passengers of the truck, who were believed to be trapped under the debris, he added.
The police, Army and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel had also reached the spot, the BRO official said.
“So far, the bodies of five persons have been recovered from the avalanche site, while a search is on for the other missing persons,” he added.
A bulldozer driver posted at the Khardung La Pass said two tippers and a Scorpio vehicle carrying about 12 persons left towards K-top area early morning to load snow to Leh.
“One tipper was already loaded with snow. However, the mishap occurred when they were loading another vehicle. Suddenly, an avalanche hit them and 10 people in a tipper were buried under the snow,” he said.
A senior police official said, “At least 10-12 people were trapped under the snow and a body of a local resident from Leh has been recovered from the area. Fresh snowfall took place in the area on Thursday and they had gone to collect snow in a vehicle.”
Rescue teams of police, Border Roads Organisation and Jammu and Kashmir Disaster Management Force reached the spot.
A high alert for avalanche was sounded on Thursday by the administration following adverse weather advisory by the Met department.
Guv expresses grief, announces Rs 5 lakh compensation
Jammu, Jan 18: Governor Satya Pal Malik has expressed grief over loss of precious lives due to snow avalanche at Khardung La in Leh district, Friday morning.
In his message, a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said, the Governor prayed for eternal peace to the departed souls and strength to the bereaved families in their hour of grief.
Governor has announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 5 lakh for the next of the kin of those killed in the avalanche.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and vice president Omar Abdullah too expressed deep sorrow over the loss of lives in the avalanche.
The party spokesman in a statement said that the duo has urged the administration to expedite the rescue operation and ensure all support to the families of the deceased.
Both Farooq and Omar urged the governor administration to gear up its men and machinery to meet any eventuality in wake of heavy snowfall as predicted by the local MeT officials.
Impressing upon the administration to ensure that people don’t have to suffer due to the vagaries of weather, the duo urged the administration to ensure all arterial and other routes are kept open to avoid any suffering to people.
Kashmir braces for heavy snow spell from today
Srinagar, Jan 18: As the meteorological department has predicted another spell of moderate to heavy snowfall in the Kashmir region from Saturday onwards, people in Kashmir are readying themselves by keeping ample stock of food and ensuring proper heating arrangements are put in place.
With the western disturbances likely to affect the region, the officials have also warned of disruption of road, rail and air traffic from Saturday afternoon.
“The western disturbances are most likely to affect the state and its adjoining areas from January 19 to 25, with the main activity between January 20 and 23 and gradual decrease thereafter,” Sonam Lotus, director Meteorological department said.
He said moderate to heavy snowfall and rain was expected at widespread places of the Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions.
“Some places may receive very heavy rain and snow during this period,” he said, adding that light snowfall would begin at a few places in Kashmir on Saturday morning and increase in intensity and distribution thereafter.
On Friday, Kargil recorded the night’s lowest temperature at minus 19.2 degrees Celsius while neighbouring Leh recorded a minimum temperature of minus 15.6, Met office said.
Drass town was the coldest in the Jammu and Kashmir at minus 27.1.
Srinagar, the summer capital of the state recorded a low of minus 0.7 while the mercury in Qazigund in south Kashmir settled at a low of minus 0.7 degrees Celsius.
Gulmarg, the famous skiing resort in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 10.0 degrees Celsius while night temperature in Pahalgam – the famous health resort settled at a low of minus 10.3 degrees.
Kokernag town recorded a low of minus 2.0 degrees Celsius while Kupwara town in north Kashmir registered a low of minus 2.8 degrees Celsius last night.
Jammu city recorded 5.3 degrees Celsius, Katra 6.3, Batote 2.5, Bannihal 0.7 and Bhaderwah minus 0.8 degree Celsius.
Twin grenade attacks in city-centre, Shopian
Srinagar, Jan 18: Less than 24 hours after the Rajbagh grenade attack, militants on Friday carried out two more grenade attacks on government forces in Kashmir, including one in the city-centre Lal Chowk here.
Militants lobbed a grenade at a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) bunker at Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) in Lal Chowk in the afternoon, a police official said.
The grenade exploded on the roadside, he said, adding that no one was hurt in the attack.
A private car parked on the roadside was partly damaged due to the explosion, the official said.
Window panes of a few shops on either side of the road were also damaged because of the blast.
This was the second such attack on government forces in Srinagar within 24 hours.
Earlier on Thursday, militants had hurled a grenade on police personnel at Zero Bridge here, resulting in injuries to three policemen.
In another incident on Friday, militants lobbed a grenade at a police camp in Gagran village of Shopian district of south Kashmir. However there was no report of loss of life or damage to property.
A police spokesperson came out with the following statement later in the day: Police had to attend two “terror” crime spots today following the reports of grenade attack by militants at Srinagar and Shopian. Officers from the local police units immediately reached to both the crime spot this (Friday) afternoon to initiate the investigation in the matter.
“While attending the crime spot, officers did not receive any report pertaining to the loss of life or property. Police has registered cases for both the incidents. Officers from the local police units are at work to establish the full circumstances which led to these incidents. If you have any information that can assist police in its investigation, you may kindly contact Police,” the spokesperson said.
The three attacks come days ahead of the Republic day and is likely to push government forces for taking even more stringent ‘security’ arrangements, especially in and around the city.
Later in the day, militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed the responsibility of the grenade attacks in Srinagar and Shopian.
A spokesperson of JeM Mohammad Hassan in a statement to news agency GNS claimed that three forces personnel were injured in the attack at City Centre Lal Chowk.
He also claimed that several forces personnel were critically injured in the attack at Gagran in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.
The Kashmir Monitor also received a phone call from one Hamza Rashid, who said he was the spokesperson of Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front, and claimed the responsibility of the Lal Chowk grenade attack.