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Internet blockade hits social assistance transfers:3.5 lakh beneficiaries suffer in silence

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Sep 29:  For the last three months, Abdul Razak has been regularly visiting the bank with a hope to receive his old age pension. Suffering from various ailments, Razak has been unable to buy medicines after Social Welfare Department stopped transferring old age pension to his account.

“I am suffering from various ailments and I used to buy medicines by this money but for the last three months I could not purchase my medicines,” said Razak.

Razak is among 3.5 lakh beneficiaries who get monthly assistance of Rs 1000 under various social welfare schemes. Despite availability of funds, the beneficiaries have been left in the lurch as department has been unable to transfer money due to unavailability of internet.  

 

“I visit bank every week to check balance in my account, but every time I return disappointed. I used to get money every month, but for the last three months I have not received a single penny,” said Nabeela, a widow hailing from old city.

Social Welfare Department provides financial assistance to beneficiaries under two flagship schemes including Integrated Social Security Scheme (ISSS) and National Social Assistant Programme (NSAP).

Under ISSS, funds are provided to old aged people (OAP), women in distress (WID), and physically challenged people (PCP).  Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS), Indira Gandhi national widow pension scheme (IGNWPS), Indira Gandhi national Disability pension Scheme (IGNDPS), and National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS) are being covered under NSAP.

NajeebLateef, Assistant Director, Social Welfare department, told The Kashmir Monitor that they were not able to release the funds due to unavailability of internet.

Lateef noted that due to unavailability of internet, data of registered beneficiaries was not available and therefore electronic benefit transfers were affected.

“After the internet facility was made available at District Commissioner’s office, we have started the account validation. Funds will be transacted within a week,” he added.


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No power can stop KPs from returning to Kashmir: Rajnath

Press Trust of India

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Mangaluru, Jan 27: No power can now stop Kashmiri Pandits from going back to Kashmir, defence minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday, forcefully defending the NDA government’s decision to reorganize Jammu and Kashmir and abrogating its special status under Article 370.

In an address at a rally, the defence minister also sent a strong message to Pakistan and said India will not let anyone live in peace if it is harmed.

“We will not touch anyone, but if someone bothers us, then we are not going to let them live in peace,” he said.

 

Referring to the exodus of a large number of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in the late 1990s at the height of militancy, Singh said no power now can stop them from returning to their homes.

On the Citizenship Amendment Act, the minister said it is not a law to hurt the sentiments of any religion but to give relief to victims of religious persecution.

“Mahatma Gandhi had told Nehru to give citizenship to minorities like Hindus and Sikhs if they come to India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fulfilled that vision by bringing in the law,” Singh said.

On several non-BJP states refusing to implement the CAA, the defence minister said it it is a central law and everyone should follow it.

Accusing the Congress of misleading people on the issue, he said the party should not forget its duty towards the nation just because it is in opposition.

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More snow, rains from today

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Jan 27: The local meteorological department has predicted yet another spell of rains and snow in Kashmir from Tuesday, even as minimum temperatures settled above the freezing point on Monday, providing some relief to the people.

In a statement, the MeT department predicted widespread moderate rains and snow on Tuesday which will dwindle to scattered places by Wednesday.

“Generally cloudy sky to widespread light to moderate rain/snow from night of 27th January. Widespread moderate rain and snow for the next two days,” read the MeT statement.

 

On Monday, Srinagar recorded a minimum temperature of 0.6 degrees Celsius, up from the minus 0.2 degrees Celsius on Sunday, a MET official said.

He said the night temperature in the city was above the freezing point for the first time in recent days and it was 1.6 degrees above normal for this part of the season.

In Qazigund the gateway town to the valley in south Kashmir the minimum settled at a low of 0.8 degrees Celsius an increase of 1.5 degrees from the previous night’s minus 0.7 degrees Celsius.

The night temperature in Pahalgam tourist resort in south Kashmir settled at a low of minus 10.4 degrees Celsius down over seven degrees from the minus 3 degrees Celsius on Sunday and Pahalgam was the coldest recorded place in the Kashmir Valley, the official added.

The ski-resort of Gulmarg, in north Kashmir, registered a minimum of minus 10.2 degrees Celsius, the official added.

The night temperature in Kokernag in south settled at a low of minus 0.8 degrees Celsius, while Kupwara in north recorded a low of minus 4.4 degrees Celsius, the official said.

Leh in Ladakh Union Territory recorded a low of minus 18.4 degrees Celsius, he said, adding the nearby Drass registered a minimum of minus 27.8 degrees Celsius.

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Nixing Sher-e-Kashmir from awards political vendetta: NC

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Jan 27: National Conference Monday took strong exception to axing of the name of Sheikh Abdullah from various J&K police gallantry awards, saying the measure has taken vendetta to a higher level.

During a meet of party functionaries here, the NC leaders and workers unanimously condemned the axing of ‘Sher-e-Kashmir from J&K Police gallantry awards.

“It is a calibrated effort to trim every single symbol of J&K’s political individuality. The present ruling dispensation in Delhi heaving with subjective prejudices and complexes against ideals revolving around the Indian constitution and the spirits of its accommodative federalism hasn’t ceased its witch hunt against everything recognisable with sheikh Abdullah. The axing of Sher-e-Kashmir’s name from state gallantry awards should be seen in that direction. It is yet another glaring attempt of perversion aimed to distort J&K’s history, which has long been familiarized with Sheikh Abdullah even decades after his physically leaving the world,” said party spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar.

 

He said nixing Sher-e-Kashmir’s name from awards, and state holidays cannot erase him from J&K’s history.

“His persona is above petty recognitions, and awards. A conscious leader, he preached to his countrymen to overcome timidity and prejudices. He decried lack of courage as a biggest curse in achieving self-respect,” he said.

While rebuffing former deputy CM Nirmal Singh’s remarks on Sheikh Abdullah, Imran said: “We unequivocally condemn his uncouth remarks against Sheikh Sahib. Being lost into the obscurity he is hitting on the tallest political statesman and charismatic mass leader of J&K and Sub-continent to gain cheap publicity.”

Meanwhile party’s members of parliament Muhammad Akbar Lone and (Retd) Justice Hassnain Masoodi also condemned axing of Sher-e-Kashmir’s name from JK police gallantry awards, terming the move “vengeful and shocking”.

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