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Int’l NGOs ‘fail’ Kashmiris in crisis

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Oct 8:  Prominent non-government organisations (NGOs) seem to have gone into sleep mode even as Kashmir lockdown has entered into its third month.

Kashmir is shut since August 5 when Centre abrogated Article 370 and divided the state into two union territories.

However, two international NGOs including ‘Save The Children’ and ‘Medicines Sans Frontiers’ are missing on the ground.

 

Sharif Ahmad Bhat, who is heading ‘Save The Children’ in Kashmir, said they “could not work” due to communication blackout in the valley.

“We have a role to provide relief to affected children. But we could not work properly because of financial constraints. Our office also remained closed for over two months,” Bhat told The Kashmir Monitor over phone.

Bhat, however, noted that they are “exploring options” to help children who have been detained since August 5.

“We are exploring options to provide relief to the children. We are discussing all these things,” he said.

‘Save The Children’ Kashmir chief also pitched for opening of schools in the valley. “We want immediate reopening of schools. Students’ education should not suffer,” he said.

Similarly, ‘Medicines Sans Frontiers’ (MSF), which is mandated to provide emergency medical aid to the needy, too is not visible on the ground.

The MSF has been claiming that it is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people in over 65 countries affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare.

However, the NGO has failed to provide any mental healthcare to the affected people in Kashmir.

Officials of MSF did not respond to repeated calls.

A doctor at SMHS Hospital said that NGOs could play a big role in providing relief to the affected in Kashmir.

“Unlike other parts of the world, these NGOs including MSF are not providing any trauma care in Kashmir in the crisis situation. People in Kashmir are suffering from mental health problems, but the reputed NGOs have failed Kashmiris,” he said.


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Govt directs DCs, SSPs to provide security to Panchayat members

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Oct 22: Waking up to militant threats, Jammu and Kashmir government has directed district development commissioners and district police chiefs to provide security cover to Panches and Sarpanches during their visit to respective constituencies. 

The Kashmir Monitor had broken the story about Panchayat members’ reluctance to visit their constituencies due to alleged militant threats.

A top source in the divisional commissioner Kashmir’s office said Sarpanches and Panches have told government that they are scared to visit their constituencies.

 

“They have told the government they live under constant fear and are unable to review the developmental works,” he said.

Sensing danger, the government directed district development commissioners and district police chiefs to make adequate security plan for Panches and Sarpanches during their visit to constituencies.

“Prior to their visit, they have to inform the concerned SHOs so that necessary security arrangements are put in place,” the source added.

Additional Director General of Police, Law and Order, and Security, Munir Ahmad Khan, said directives have gone to DCs and SSPs to ensure security of Panches and Sarpanches.

“Wherever they (Panches and Sarpanches) need security, they can approach concerned SSPs and DCs. They have been assured of security cover when they intend to visit their respective constituencies,” Khan told The Kashmir Monitor.

Centre has announced to release Rs 3700 crore for Panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir, of which around Rs 1000 crore stand released so far.  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently stressed for empowerment of Panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir.

 Panchayats, in addition to being involved in the selection of eligible beneficiaries for various government welfare schemes, can get Rs 50 lakh-80 lakh per year for implementation of key national schemes such as the National Health Mission, Samagra Shiksha, etc.

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ACB registers 60 cases in 2019: Top babus, politicians under investigation for graft

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Oct 22:  Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has gone whole hog against corrupt politicians and government officials and registered 60 cases under different anti-graft laws in 2019 across Jammu and Kashmir.

Official details accessed by The Kashmir Monitor reveal that the ACB has registered 29 cases in Kashmir and 31 in Jammu in 2019 so far. Some of the cases have been registered against top politicians and bureaucrats in the state.

Cases were registered against deputy mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, J&K Bank and government officials for “illegal appropriation of subsidy with inflated project cost for establishment of CA storage at Lassipora, Pulwama”.

 

The anti-graft has also registered a case against former chairman of the bank for allegedly misusing his position. A case has also been registered against former Director Archives and Archaeology Department for allegedly misusing his position by ordering enhancement of consolidated wages without authorization.  

A case has also been registered against former directors of Rural Development Department Jammu for allegedly misusing official position and causing loss to state exchequer. The anti-graft body has also registered a case against former Managing Director JAKFED for misuse of official position.  It has registered a case against a Naib Tehsildar in Srinagar for allegedly misuse of official position.

The anti-graft body has registered a case against former senior town planner and former commissioner municipal corporation Jammu.  They have been booked for alleged criminal misconduct, abuse and misuse of their official position as public servants.

The ACB has also booked Divisional Manager of State Forest Corporation (SFC) Udhampur in a graft case. A case has also been registered against former Assistant Commissioner Development, Rajouri on corruption charges.

Last year, Governor Administration set up ACB to combat corruption in Jammu and Kashmir.  Later The ACB was given more teeth to take on highly influential people.

An official of ACB said that there are complaints against several top government officials for their involvement in corruption. “Some are still at an initial stage and action would be taken in next few weeks,” he said

Governor Satya Pal Malik had said that “Anti-Corruption Bureau won’t spare anyone even those who are part of big political parties.”

Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam had said the establishment of ACB would do away with the shortcomings and multiplicity of roles in the existing anti-corruption mechanism operational in the state.

“The ACB has been empowered. It is as powerful as CBI. The government has strengthened the ACB so it acts against powerful people,” he had said.

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Govt employees of UTs of J&K, Ladakh to get all 7th CPC allowances from October 31

Monitor News Bureau

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SRINAGAR, OCTOBER 22: The Union government on Tuesday issued orders announcing that the employees of the new Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh — will get salaries and other benefits as per the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission from October 31.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has approved the proposal of payment of all 7th CPC allowances to the government employees of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh, which shall come into existence from October 31, 2019.

The move will benefit 4.5 lakh government employees who are working in the existing state of Jammu and Kashmir and will become the employees of UT of J&K and UT of Ladakh from 31 October 2019.

 

The annual financial implications of 7th CPC allowances like Children Education Allowance, Hostel Allowance, Transport Allowance, LTC, Fixed Medical Allowance etc in respect of 4.5 lakh government employees of existing State of J&K shall be Rs 4800 crore tentatively.

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