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Issuance of PACs,: Power Revision in delegation of powers approved

Mediation, conciliation procedures approved;LAHDC (Amendment) Bill-2018 approved

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Srinagar, Sep 26: In order to simplify and streamline the process involved in the sanction of Power connections, the State Administrative Council (SAC), which met here on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Governor Satya Pal Malik approved revision/enhancement in the delegation of powers for issuance of Power Availability Certificate (PAC) and Power sanctions at various level.

Accordingly, Assistant Executive Engineer (E) will have the power to sanction power load connections upto 25 KW under domestic and commercial category and 25 KVA/HP under Industrial category, Executive Engineer (E) upto 50 KW under domestic and commercial category and 50 KVA/HP under Industrial category, Superintendent Engineer (E) upto 100 KW under domestic and commercial category and 100 KVA/HP under Industrial category.

Chief Engineer (E) will have the power to sanction Power load connection for all loads under domestic category and upto 500 KW under Commercial and upto 500 KVA/HP under Industrial category.

 

The Designated Committee headed by Development Commissioner (P) will have the power to sanction power load connection upto 1000 KW under Commercial Category and 1000 KVA/HP under Industrial Category.

Also, all the cases with load above 1000 KW in Commercial categories and 1000 HP in Industrial categories would be referred by the Designated Committee to the Government. In cases of extension of loads, the above limits would apply for the total load viz., sanctioned existing load and additional load. The above delegation would also apply to consumers like State Government, Central Government Department and other State and Central PSUs. However, no sanction would be processed for Industrial loads without valid PAC.

There had been no upward revision in the delegation of powers to sanction loads even though the financial powers of the field officers have been revised by the Government from time to time. The same had become imperative due to expansion in the consumption of power. Also, there had been a persistent demand from the Association of Industries to enhance the delegation of powers for sanctioning of power load connections at various levels for easing the process.

 

Mediation, conciliation procedures approved

Srinagar, Sep 26: The State Administrative Council (SAC), which met here on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Governor, Satya Pal Malik approved the draft ‘Jammu and Kashmir Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2018’.

Advisors to Governor, B B Vyas, K Vijay Kumar & Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, Chief Secretary, BVR Subrahmanyam and Principal Secretary to Governor, Umang Narula were present at the meeting.

The Bill seeks to provide for speedy disposal of the arbitration matters and for providing mediation and conciliation in pending arbitration matters before the court.

There is no provision in the Jammu & Kashmir Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1997 for mediation or conciliation during pendency of petitions under section 9 or section 11 of the Act or during the proceedings for setting aside of award or pendency of appeal.

New sections are being inserted to refer the pending matters to mediation or conciliation with the consent of both the parties and prescribing time-limits in arbitration proceedings. This will be an alternate way of dispute resolution and will speed up the conciliation and arbitration proceedings.

 

LAHDC (Amendment) Bill-2018 approved

Srinagar, Sep 26: The State Administrative Council (SAC), which met here today under the chairmanship of Governor,  Satya Pal Malik gave approval to the draft ‘Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (Amendment) Bill, 2018’.

The Bill is aimed at making Development Councils of Leh and Kargil highly empowered to exercise administrative and financial powers without any obstacles and to address the concerns, requirements and aspirations of the people living in the remote areas of Ladakh Region.

The amendments in the existing provisions of the Act gives more powers to the LAHDC to levy and collect local taxes and fee within the jurisdiction of the Council on the analogy of Local Bodies and deposit the same in the Council Fund to be operated by the Council. The amendment gives more control to the Council over the functioning of various departments in the districts and more administrative control over the staff. Besides, all such properties like public buildings, public roads etc constructed out of the Council Fund shall belong to the Council.

State Government shall allocate to the Council all funds of the districts under any Budget Head of the State, Revenue or Capex and of such Centrally Sponsored Schemes which do not involve direct and designated flow of funds to the executing agencies or beneficiaries to be deposited into the Council Fund. Moreover, allocations which remain unspent at the close of the financial year shall be carried forward as an additional resource available for the budget of the following year.

The amendments also provide for Panchayats to follow the directions of the Council and the Chief Executive Councilor to be the Chairman of all Tourism Development Authorities. The Councils will also have a Deputy Chairman for better functioning. All Government employees working in the area of the Council, in subjects transferred to the Council will be under the Administrative control of the Council including for disciplinary action.

With this amendment, LAHDC will be among the most autonomous councils in the country.


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JK’s liability swells

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Jan 17: Similar to previous years, Jammu and Kashmir has accrued a liability of over Rs 7,000 crore in the ongoing fiscal even as experts blame state’s political leadership for not finding a solution to the issue.

Official documents of the finance department reveal that the state is running a liability of Rs 7,531 crore so far this fiscal, a figure close to the annual build-up J&K witnesses every year.

The total liabilities for the state have now swelled up to over Rs 68,000 crore.“The three fiscal parameters–revenue deficit, fiscal deficit and outstanding liability–indicate the extent of overall fiscal balance in the finances of the state government during the specified period. The nature of deficit is an indicator of the prudence of budgetary policy of the state government. Another useful measure of the deficit-base in a state’s fiscal policy is the State’s Own Deficit (SOD),” the documents reveal.

 

Noted economist, Professor Nisar Ali said the state’s expenditure and revenue system has been “mismanaged”.“The power purchase has been an important factor for swelling liabilities. The GST has further increased the mismanagement between expenditure and tax revenue,” he said.

Prof Ali also blamed J&K’s political leadership for increasing liabilities.“The annual liabilities increase due to power purchases despite the state having huge hydro resources. The state’s leadership has failed to fight for the return of power projects.

“It also depends upon the government of India how it wants to find a solution to this problem,” he added.

Endorsing Prof Ali’s views, a senior official of the finance department said that little or no use of revenue generation avenues, increasing power purchases and bulging expenditure on salaries are the main contributors to the escalating liabilities of the state.“There is a steep rise in salary and pension bills, power deficit, rising interest liabilities, loan repayments, and deficit on account of non-tax revenue,” the official said.

 

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Conducive atmosphere inevitable for dialogue: Farooq

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Srinagar, Jan 17: Former Chief Minister and National Conference (NC) president, Dr Farooq Abdullah on Thursday said that the favourable atmosphere is inevitable for dialogue, which is the only way out to settle the issues.
Addressing party workers in Jammu, Dr Farooq said that the dialogue is the only way out to resolve the issues but there is a need of conducive atmosphere which is inevitable. He added that “under the shades of gun, no dialogue process is possible. We have to stop bullet culture for lasting peace in the region.”
“NC has also given priority to the people. When I became Chief Minister in 1996, I fought with many things as the school were shut, no bridge was there, no office was functioning as the people were frightened by the turmoil then, but I stood up to fight against the forces who were inimical to peace.”
About 35 percent reservation in other states, Dr Farooq said that the incumbent Chief Minister of Odissa, Naveen Patnayak has written to him, suggesting there should be reservation of 35 percentfor women in Jammu and Kashmir also. “We will implement the law, which will ensure 35 percent reservation to women in the State once getting into the power,” he said.
However, he said that it is not easy to take such decisions as when his government took a decision to make 50 percent reservation for girls in Medical College then some people knocked the door of Supreme Court to put halt over the decision.
Dr Farooq also appealed the party workers to work hard and ensure the win of NC leaders who will be contesting the elections.

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Abundant snowfall in January makes Gulmarg the perfect winter-destination for tourists

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Jan 17: Unlike last January, the abundant snowfall so far this month has attracted a lot of tourists to Gulmarg as the destination is brimming with over 90 per cent occupancy these days.

The valley has received at least four moderate to heavy snowfalls this year with an even stronger wet spell predicted from January 19 to 23.
Tourists from across the world are cherishing this and making their way to Gulmarg, whose slopes offer a perfect destination for skiing.

Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, CEO Gulmarg Development Authority, Syed Hanief Balkhi said that most of the hotels are fully occupied as people are heading to Gulmarg to enjoy the charismatic scenery offered by the snow-covered hills.“Gulmarg is under 4-5 feet snow and is looking like a playground these days. Tourists from India and abroad enjoy skiing, snow cycling, ice skating, snow-sculptor activity, sledge-racing and other games here,” he said.

 

Apart from the hoteliers, the rush of the tourists, Balkhi said, has provided good workdays for sledge keepers, skating guides, local cab drivers and many others associated with tourism.

In 2018, as per the official figures, Gulmarg received 5.76 lakh tourists as compared to 5.69 lakh in the preceding year.

The tourism players also expressed satisfaction over the rush of tourists heading to the valley.

President Hotel and Restaurant Owners Federation, Wahid Malik said that snowfalls have pushed up the number of tourists visiting the valley.
“Gulmarg saw lesser arrival when winters begun, however, now the snow has ensured all the hotels and resorts are booked,” he said adding that Gulmarg hotels are running on 90 per cent occupancy so far this season.

Gulmarg is declared the ‘heartland of winter sports in India’ by the Winter Games Federation. This year too, Gulmarg Tourism Authority is going to organise winter sports carnival starting from the first week of February.

Additional Director Tourism Department, Nasir Khan said that Gulmarg is “rocking these days as it has received 34,712 and 35,022 tourists in the month of November and December”.

“We are going to organize the winter carnival from the next month to make the place more attractive,” he said.

He added that night market and cultural shows will also be arranged by the department.

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