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Inside Secretariat: Cats, rats populate corridors where records carried from Jammu lie untouched

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, July 20: The concrete six-storey building with white-washed windows of Civil Secretariat Srinagar
might appear to be in a good state but once you step inside, it turns out to be the opposite.
The smelly corridors are littered with dusty steel trunks and rusty wardrobes that contain confidential files
and documents. The files lie tied in dusty bundles, as sheaves of paper peek out listlessly.

The smell of stale paper hangs uneasily in the air, and occupies the building entirely.
Whatever little space is left from these bundles and trunks, it is occupied by hapless people who wait with a
resigned air to get their files opened and addressed.
The story of chaos doesn’t end here.
Moreover, to make the matters worse, cats and rodents are also a common sight. One can spot stray cats
sniffing at the trunks in the hope of a rat, or occasionally a whiskered mouse scurrying through the lanes.
“At times, you come across the cat faeces and rat droppings inside the official chambers. The wardrobes are
a breeding ground for insects and endless cobwebs,” an official of Industries and Commerce Department in
the Civil Secretariat, said.
He added, “The rat-to-human infections aren't merely a horrific possibility; they are a reality. There are full
chances that such infections can spread here.”
Another official said, “More than two months have passed and several departments are yet to take out files
from boxes. To add to the present mess, stray cats have found their shelter on the unmoved trunks.”
According to officials, apart from lurking around the jam-packed corridors, cat sightings in the building are
also common outside their chambers.
“We can’t leave the door open even for a minute as a feline is always sitting on the door-mat and comes in
the moment we open it,” the official said.
It was on May 7 when Durbar was shifted to Srinagar, but the files are still unopened, resulting in the work
getting stalled.
“If this is the condition inside the Civil Secretariat, what will one expect in other government offices?
Moreover, the rusty boxes in the corridors act as an eye-sore. Anyone could steal the important files, which
are lying scattered on the floor,” the official said.
The apathy of the officials has left the people fuming with many complaining of having lost their documents.
Bashir Ahmad, a resident of Kupwara, said that he was told by the officials of Finance Department they were
yet to trace his file.
“An official told me that I should visit after two weeks to get addressed my problem as the many files are
lying in steel wardrobe,” he said.
He rued, “Looking at the mess prevalent here, I am fully convinced that they won’t be able to spot it.”
Civil Secretariat, the highest seat of the Jammu and Kashmir government was opened in Srinagar on May 7,
after functioning in the winter capital for six months as part of the nearly 150-year-old practice known in the
state as ‘Darbar Move’.
However, in the ongoing Governor’s Rule, only three advisors can be seen nowadays available at the Civil
Secretariat. However, the limited number of officials is unable to meet the huge rush of people.
This results in great inconvenience to the visitors especially those who come from remote areas.

A resident of Pampore, Shakeel Ahmad, who stood waiting outside the chamber of advisor Khurshid Ahmad
Ganai, said, "I have been standing in the queue for the last three hours, but so far, I didn't get my turn to
meet the advisor.

 

 


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Life comes to standstill for the cross-LoC trade workers

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, May 19:  Tragedy befell 50-year-old labourer, Noor-ul-Amin three years ago when he was grievously injured while unloading the goods from the cross-LoC truck at the Salamabad Trade Facilitation Centre in Uri.

Unable to work, Amin has been bed-ridden at his home nursing the injury. With no money left to bear the medical expenses, it was his fellow Cross-LoC trade workers who joined in to help Amin in meeting the medical expenses.

Enter the government decision to suspend the Cross LoC trade, the workers, who were not only eking out their living but also helping workers like Amin, were left jobless.  With no money coming, Amin accompanied by his family members can be seen in mosques seeking alms from the people.

 

“For the last one month we couldn’t pool money for Khan. He is now seeking donations from the people at mosques in order to meet his daily expenses of medicines. These labourers would meet expenses of five ill workers who earlier were injured at the facilitation centre”,  said Mohammad Yusuf, a labourer who used to work at Salamabad Trade Facilitation Centre.

Last month, Centre suspended cross LoC trade from both routes –Salamabad (Uri) and Chakan-da-Bagh  (Poonch)– citing its ‘misuse’ by Pakistan.

Started in October 2008, Cross-LoC trade was considered as mother of all confidence building measures (CBMs) between India and Pakistan. However, the trade could not grow beyond barter system. Lack of proper banking and communication facilities added to the woes of the traders.

More than 600 traders are registered for the cross LoC trade and 21 items are on the approved export and import list from both routes. Some of items to be traded include Rice, Carpets, Precious Stones Wall Hangings, Gabbas Shawls and Stoles, Namdas, Peshwari Leather Chappals, Medicinal Herbs Embroidered Items, Honey, dry and fresh fruits etc.

Official figures reveal that goods worth 1274.43 crore traded out and Rs 1093.39 crore were traded in from 2014-15 to 2016-17 from Uri-Salamabad cross LoC route. Similarly  goods worth Rs 402.34 crore were traded out and Rs 662.78 were traded in from Chakan da Bagh crossing in Poonch from 2014-15 to 2016-17.

Haneef, a 28 year old postgraduate working as a labourer for the last eight years is equally worried with the suspension of the trade. Like him, many educated youth were working as labourers to earn their livilhood.

“This was the only means to earn bread for our families, which too has been snatched now. There are no good avenues of employment in Uri and we fear our families will have to starve ahead,” he said.

Data reveal that there are at least 100 labourer whose livelihood have got impacted due to the closure of cross LoC trade in Jammu and Kashmir. “The trade was a source of hope to earn livelihood for many families. We have no other option than to look for other sources, which is becoming harder now” Haneef said.

Scores of labourers have now moved to the other districts for work as hopes fade for the early resumption of cross LoC trade. “Earlier our work station was near to our homes. But now we have to travel to other towns in search of work. Majority of the labourers here have moved to Srinagar, Baramulla or either in Uri town. Our livelihood has been affected as all of us have been rendered jobless,” said Shabir Ahmad another labourer

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Bhaderwah man’s killing: Magisterial probe ordered, curfew continues for 4th day

Press Trust of India

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DODA, MAY 19: Authorities Sunday ordered a time-bound magisterial probe into the killing of a man in firing and subsequent violence here, which prompted imposition of curfew in the communally-sensitive town.

The curfew continued to remain in force without any relaxation for the fourth day on Sunday even as a total of seven persons involved in incidents of stone-pelting were arrested. The Army, which was called out following the violence, was withdrawn, officials said.

The Doda district administration had earlier refuted reports that “cow vigilantism” was the reason behind the killing of Nayeem Shah and said some people were trying to give a communal colour to the incident to flare up the situation.

 

“A magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the killing of Shah and subsequent stone-pelting episode. Sub-divisional Magistrate, Thathri, Mohammad Anwar Banday will conduct the inquiry and was asked to submit his report within seven days,” Deputy Commissioner, Doda, Sagar Doifode said.

He said the officer is supposed to give a detailed report on the killing of Shah, reasons thereof and probable causes, besides the reason for stone-throwing and the perpetrators because the administration is of the idea that the stone throwing was well collaborated and needs a thorough investigation.

Doifode said the situation in the curfew-bound areas is well under control and there was no report of any untoward incident from anywhere.

“We are monitoring the situation and considering to relax curfew in a phased manner for a few hours later in the day,” he said, adding that the mobile internet services, however, will remain suspended in the town till further orders though the services have been restored in the rest of the district.

The official said the Army was withdrawn from the curfew-bound areas of the town, but the CRPF and police remained deployed in strength especially in the sensitive localities to maintain law and order.

On Saturday, police constituted a five-member special investigation team (SIT) headed by Superintendent of Police, Bhaderwah, Raj Singh Gouria to probe the killing of Shah at village Kachi Nalthi on Thursday.

The SIT visited the site of the incident and also seized a 12-bore gun which is believed to have been used in the killing and sent it to FSL Jammu for examination.

Eight persons have been arrested in connection with the killing so far and are being questioned, Gouria said, adding that seven more persons were arrested for their involvement in violent protests.

The relatives of the deceased alleged that he was victim of cow vigilantism and was targeted as he was involved in cattle trade.

However, the residents of Kachi Nalthi village told police that two to three persons were found moving under suspicious circumstances in the area which led to the firing.

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PDP worker shot dead in Kulgam

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Kulgam, May 19  : Suspected militants on Sunday evening shot at a civilian in Zangalpora area of South Kashmir’s Kulgam district 

Reports said a PDP worker namely Mohammed Jamal resident of Zangalpora Kulgam was shot at his home. 

He was shifted to district hospital Kulgam for treatment where doctors him dead. 

 

An official confirmed  that PDP worker has been shot dead in Zangalpora.. 

“Whole area has been cordoned off and search operation has been launched to nab the attackers,” the official said.

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