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Insurance scheme for employees faces legal challenge

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Srinagar, Oct 10: The High Court on Wednesday sought the response from the state government following a petition challenging the recently introduced medi-claim health insurance scheme.

The group medi-claim health insurance scheme rolled out by Jammu and Kashmir government last month for employees, pensioners, and accredited journalists has been challenged in the High Court on the grounds that it has been done to a particular corporate company.

Gulbadin Ahmad Mir of Shopian through advocate Lone Altaf has submitted a petition claiming that it was introduced to benefit a particular insurance company.

“The said policy is introduced out of malice and of nepotism without bothering the welfare of the petitioner, therefore the impugned policy smells discretionary approach on part of respondents as such deserves to be quashed,” the petitioner has said.

Since the e-tendering is mandatory and every tender nowadays to give it vide publicity through online. However, the petitioner has claimed that it was not adopted in the instant case.

The government in September rolled out the group medi-claim health insurance scheme for employees, pensioners, and accredited journalists in the state.

The scheme has been made mandatory for government employees including employees of PSUs, autonomous bodies and universities while it will be optional for pensioners and other categories of employees and accredited journalists.

The petitioner has claimed that the contract has been awarded to the company, which has least presence in Jammu and Kashmir wherein the most of the stakeholders reside.

There are five lakh employees serving both in rural and urban areas.  The main purpose and the object of the scheme was to provide and cater to the health needs of employees of JK.

“Unfortunately just two hospitals from Srinagar (not hospitals in strict sense as the same are just clinics) and 18 hospitals (most of them are just clinics) from Jammu have been empanelled and rest of the hospitals is out of state with most of them in southern and eastern India like in Telangana, Tamil Nadu Westbengal, which are practically inaccessible to the stakeholders,” the petitioner said.

The petitioner said that there should have been empanelled hospitals in every district headquarter.

Hearing the petition, Justice M K Hanjura has sought the response from the state government in a week. The case has been listed on October 17.


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Schedule for 9-phase panchayat polls issued

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Oct 22: Two days after announcing the municipal poll results, the Chief Electoral Officer, Shaleen Kabra, on Monday announced the schedule for the nine-phase panchayat elections beginning November 17.

Addressing a press conference, the Chief Electoral Officer said the elections would be held for 316 blocks in 4,483 Panchayat Halqas comprising 35,029 Panch constituencies.

“The polling will be held on November 17, 20, 24, 27, 29, December 1, December 4, December 8, and December 11,” he said.

The dates of notification would be October 23, 26, 29, December 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, and 14, respectively, he said.

The dates of scrutiny of nominations will be October 31, and November 3, 6, 9, 12, 14, 17, 20, and 24.

Kabra said the last dates for withdrawal of candidature would be November 2, 5, 8, 12, 14, 16, 19, 22, and 26.

The number of electorate in panchayat polls, he said, would be 58,54,208.

He said the counting of votes would be done on the day of polling and in some cases, if required, the counting would take place the next day.

The Chief Electoral Officer said the voting would be done with ballot papers.

“In view of recent amendments making direct election to sarpanch, the electors shall cast their votes for panch as well as sarpanch, for which two separate coloured ballot papers will be used,” he said.

He announced that poll timing would be from 8 am to 2 pm and entire polls process would be completed by December 17.

Asked about the reduction in polling time, he said there would be less voters in panchayat polls than the urban local body elections.

For the panchayat polls, he said that ballot boxes are being brought from Haryana.

About the apprehensions about security being raised by the aspiring candidates, he said, “Appropriate security arrangements are being put in place to ensure peaceful elections.”

 

CEO admits media barred from entering polling booths

Monitor News Bureau

Srinagar, Oct 22: Chief Electoral Officer, Shaleen Kabra, on Monday said media was barred from entering the polling booths in the recently concluded municipal elections to not put the voters to “unnecessary disadvantage”. 

Kabra said special cards were issued by his office for the media men to cover the elections.

“The media people can visit any polling booth. But sometimes, they are barred not to put the voters into unnecessary disadvantage,” Kabra said.

In the urban local bodies elections, the media personnel were not allowed to go inside the polling booths at various places.

Chief Electoral Officer said 178 wards were left vacant in the urban local bodies.

“Separate elections will be held for the vacant wards,” he said.

Asked about low voter turnout, he said he was not the appropriate person to put this question to.

“We made all the arrangements and asked people to vote. Why people did not turn up should not be asked to me.”

The four-phase urban local body elections were held on October 8, 10, 13 and 16.

The overall poll percentage of all phases across the state has been 35.1 percent.  Jammu recorded a voter turnout of 68.4 per cent, while in Kashmir it did not cross double digits in any of the phases.

 

 

 

Model code of conduct to continue

Monitor News Bureau

Srinagar, Oct 22:The Chief Electoral Officer, J&K, Shalin Kabra has said that the model code of conduct that came into effect since the start of Local Body Polls will continue till the completion of the Panchayat Polls.

An official order said, consequent to the above, the following instructions are hereby issued for strict compliance by all the Administrative Secretaries, Heads of Departments, District Development Commissioners and District Superintendents of Police:

(i) There shall be a ban on the transfer of officers/ employees who are connected with the conduct of Panchayat Elections – 2018 till the completion of the electoral process. However, in cases where the transfer of an officer/ official is considered absolutely necessary in public interest, the concerned Administrative Secretary may approach the Chief Electoral Officer, J&K with full justification and obtain prior clearance before issuance of any such order.

(ii) All officers/ officials involved in the conduct of Panchayat Elections including Designated Police Officers shall be under the administrative control of the Chief Electoral Officer, J&K for superintendence and discipline.

Further, all the District Election Officers (Deputy Commissioners) and District Superintendents of Police are enjoined upon to strictly adhere to the instructions issued by the Chief Electoral Officer, J&K from time to time in order to ensure free and fair elections.

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Traffic not allowed on Lal Chowk stretch today

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Srinagar, Oct 22: Traffic will not be allowed between Regal Chowk and Amira Kadal on the residency road in Srinagar tomorrow in view of proposed Joint Hurriyat march, officials said on Monday.

In view of security restrictions in Srinagar on 23rd of October, 2018, traffic will not be allowed to ply on Regal Chowk-Amira Kadal Bridge Road stretch,” said SSP Traffic city Tahir Gilani.

He requested the commuters to use the alternate routes to reach their destinations.

“Any inconvenience caused is highly regretted,” he said.

Joint Hurriyat Leadership has called for a march to Lal Chowk tomorrow to protest against killing of seven civilians in Kulgam on Monday.

 

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Home Minister visiting JK today, all pol parties expected to meet him

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Srinagar, Oct 22: The State’s mainstream political parties are meeting union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on his visit to Jammu and Kashmir Tuesday and will submit their memoranda on different issues to the visiting minister.

Top placed sources said that National Conference, Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will meet Singh Tuesday afternoon here.

Sources said that NC will be represented by its State General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar, PDP by its vice president Abdul Rehman Veeri and JKPCC by its state president Ghulam Ahmad Mir.

The three political leaders will meet Singh separately on behalf of their parties.

Sources said that CPI (M) State Secretary and MLA Kulgam M Y Tarigami, and PDF chairman and MLA Khansahib Hakim Yaseen have not been invited yet to meet the home minister.

Home minister Rajnath Singh is visiting the state following conducting security situation of the state and will attend a high-level meeting with Governor Satya Pal Malik and top civil, and security forces officials.

 

 

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