By Hirra Azmat
Srinagar, Apr 18: After remaining unimplemented for nearly two decades, the state government has finally decided to start water transport, initially for Srinagar city, on “scientific grounds”.
As per the sources, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Khan, chaired a meeting last week in which he sought restoration of the water transport under “logistic” and “scientific” methods.
The documents of the minutes of the meeting which are lying with The Kashmir Monitor said the facility would be made functional this year.
“The commissioner has asked various departments to take necessary steps to ensure prompt action and reply in this regard,” it reads.
Khan has directed the Irrigation and Flood Control Department to prepare a design from Pantha Chowk to Shahi Hamdhan Ghat.
He asked the Public Works Department to install lights on bund side of the Jhelum along with a mobile STP to facilitate it.
During the meeting, he also directed the tourism department to allocate locations for the setting up of signages, the documents said.
“The department has also been asked to fix rates for the water transport,” it said.
The water transport facility, envisaged in 1999, has failed to take off, courtesy the governments’ lackadaisical approach coupled with the lack of resources.
The government estimated a cost of Rs 25 lakh and even chalked out a route from Pampore to Chattabal in Srinagar.
After remaining confined to meeting and paperwork for a decade, in 2011-12 it again decided to revive this traditional means of transport.
The government at that time allotted the contract to Kashmir Motors Company and five motor boats were kept ready to ferry the passengers.
While former chief minister Omar Abdullah-led government made a trial run of the transport from Pantha Chowk to Chattabal, it again remained in doldrums for another seven years.
In 2017, the minister for PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control (I&FC), Sham Lal Choudhary, had also claimed that an over Rs 300-crore project was submitted to the government of India (GoI) for revival of the inland water transport.
Crackdown launched on illegal selling of tobacco products in Srinagar
Crackdown launched on illegal selling of tobacco products in Srinagar
Srinagar, Jun 25: The Srinagar administration Tuesday launched a city-wide crackdown on illegal sale of cigarettes among other tobacco products holding simultaneous inspections of markets in various areas.
The inspections were held in the wake of growing concerns about increasing prevalence of substance abuse in Srinagar and to verify adherence to the Cigarettes & Other Tobacco Products Act or COTPA 2003 which prohibits advertisement of and provides for regulation of trade and commerce in production and distribution of cigarettes and other tobacco products.
Large number of stores and vendors situated at different places were found selling cigarettes without the mandatory pictorial warnings on packets thereof. Huge cache of such cigarettes was also seized from various markets during the inspections.
Some 50 stores and vendors including those found selling cigarettes among other tobacco products close to schools among other educational institutions in violations of COTPA and violating other provisions thereof were booked with several of them sealed during the inspections.
It is notable that the data suggests that the annual amount spent on tobacco consumption in Srinagar is a staggering Rs 131 crore which is the highest in the State. This among other forms of substance abuse involving both genders is growing into a serious cause of concern in the district.
Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary who has issued strict instructions to concerned officers to crackdown on violators and offenders said violations of COTPA account for serious offences and will be dealt with in the context of public safety.
Dr Shahid assured of sustained efforts to check substance abuse in Srinagar but also urged the general public and parents in particular to do their bit emphasizing their important role therein and to assist the administration in its efforts to curb prevalence thereof.
Last month a district level coordination committee comprising 15 members from different departments and organisations was constituted in the district for the implementation of COTPA.
Different members of the committee have been assigned different roles and responsibilities for ensuring effective and functional application of tobacco control in the district.
Amit Shah should start process of dialogue with all stakeholders: Sagar
Srinagar, Jun 25: Ahead of the visit of union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir, National Conference has hoped that the central government will begin dialogue on Kashmir to restore peace in the state.
National Conference General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar said that Kashmir valley is going through bloodshed, tension and arrests of youth on daily basis which further deteriorate the situation.
“Home ministers visit Kashmir, but this time we hope the visiting home minister will start process of dialogue with all stakeholders here which will help improve the situation,” he said.
He said that the daily pensive situation, ongoing bloodshed, and arrests of youth will stop only through initiatives of peace through dialogue.
“We hope the visit of home minister should make difference in Kashmir situation. If the home minister starts any dialogue process to which will improve situation here, we welcome it,” he said.
Expressing the displeasure with the Reservation Bill brought up the home minister, Sage said that NC is against the procedure which was adopted by the central government.
“The procedure adopted by the centre government to bring the bill violation of article 370. We are not against reservation for any particular section of people. We are against the procedure adopted by the government,” he said.
He said that Member Parliament of National Conference Dr Farooq Abdullah will take a stand over the bill in the ongoing session of Parliament.
Amit Shah should inaugurate a new era of engagement in Kashmir: Faesal
Srinagar, Jun 25: President J&K Peoples Movement Shah Faesal has said that on his maiden visit to Kashmir as Home Minister, Amit Shah should inaugurate a new age of engagement and reach out to people of the State.
In a statement issued, Shah Faesal said that Central Government led by PM Narendra Modi has an extraordinary opportunity to take bold decisions on Kashmir and bring peace to Valley while taking all stakeholders on board.
He argued for initiation of dialogue process, resumption of Cross LoC trade, freeing of political prisoners who are in jails for minor offenses, among other political initiatives needed at this hour.
Shah Faesal also called for immediate implementation of Universal Basic Income scheme for BPL households of the State, age relaxation of UPSC/JEE IIT aspirants from J&K State, improvement of inter-provincial road connectivity and four-laning if Srinagar-Salamabad, Srinagar-Teetwal roads.
JKPM President expressed hope that the Home Minister would facilitate creation of an environment of peace in which developmental activity and will pick up and Tourism potential of the State will be harnessed.