Srinagar, Nov 28: Jammu and Kashmir Bank Officers Federation on Wednesday said they will hold protests to press for revocation of State administrative council (SAC) order to convert J&K Bank into a public sector undertaking (PSU).
Addressing a press conference in Srinagar, president of the Federation, Tassaduq Madni said a peaceful protest will be held on Thursday at the corporate office.
“We will hold a peaceful protest tomorrow (Thursday) at 9:30 am at the corporate office and another protest will be held at the zonal office of the bank on Friday,” he said.
He, however, said that the bank branches and ATMs will remain will function normally.
Madni said that they would be forced to continue protests if the order is not revoked.
“We will chalk out the further course of action as we are waiting for the final notification of the government about its decision,” he said.
The SAC which met in Jammu on November 23 approved the proposal for treating the J&K Bank as a Public Sector Undertaking.
While addressing media persons, Madni said that decision would be “destructive” and “disastrous” for the bank.
“J&K Bank right from its inception in 1938 has been laced with the challenges and difficulties. At the time of partition, in 1947 we lost Mirpur and Muzaffarabad branch to the other part,” he said.
Madni said that as far as the working of the bank is concerned, it witnessed huge turbulences and turmoil during its long journey.
“All the banks closed down their operations after militancy erupted in the valley. It was J&K Bank’s committed work force that continued to provide banking facilities to the business fraternity and people,” he said.
Stating that the employees have been working tirelessly for the betterment of the bank, he said that it needs to retain the stability at any cost.
“Due to September 2014 floods, business and infrastructure in Kashmir faced huge losses. It was J&K Bank which came to the rescue of the general public and the businessmen. We did everything possible to rehabilitate them,” he said.
Referring to the unrest of 2016, he said J&K Bank took a lead and restructured the business, wherever the support was deemed necessary to be provided to the business community.
“J&K Bank needs to maintain growth trajectory, whole banking industry received a huge setback during last many years. Many big banks vanished. Despite booking of loss of Rs 1632 after the closure of financial year 2016-17, J&K Bank came out with flying colours,”he said.
He said that “to stop the interference of the government, we are ready to handover the equity.”
“We were sure that government would hand over the loss making PSUs to J&K Bank. We had never thought that J&K Bank itself would be converted to a PSU. Government has 53.9% stake in the bank. What about others. How can we take them for granted,” he said.
Action plan for conservation, development of medicinal plant sector in JK discussed
Srinagar, May 23: Advisors to Governor, K Vijay Kumar and K Skandan today jointly chaired a meeting to discuss the potential of medicinal Plants sector in the state, action plan for conservation, development and sustainable management of Medicinal Plants and structural support required for development of the State Medicinal Plant Board.
The meeting also discussed the achievements already registered by SKUAST-Kashmir and other concerned agencies in the Medicinal plant sector.
Vice Chancellor SKUAST-K Prof Nazeer Ahmad, PCCF J&K Suresh Chugh, Chairman SPCB Ravi Kesar, CCF T Rabi Kumar, Regional Director RCFC Dr Sheikh Bilal, experts from SKUAST-K and other concerned officers attended the meeting.
VC SKUAST-K along with his team of experts gave a detailed presentation regarding work done already in the field of medicinal plants by the University and the activities that are being carried out to explore the potential of medicinal plants and their cultivation for demonstration purpose at present. Work done at Faculty of Forests and at Division of plant biotechnology of SKUAST-K was alsodiscussed in the meeting.
Threadbare discussions were held on the role of both the Agricultural Universities of the state in rendering their support to the State Medicinal Plant Board, research work being carried out by them to know more about the medicinal plants that are being available in the state and its strategy to cultivate these plants with a commercial point of view.It was informed that around 571 different kinds of medicinal plants are available in the state out of which some are high end plants having high commercial and medicinal value.
Role of Forest department in this sector was also reviewed and it was decided that the department would be playing a positive role in assisting the State Medicinal Plant Board in its activities and also providing every kind of support to get maximum benefits from the medicinal plant sector in the state.
While discussing the action plan, it was stressed that for making the medicinal plant sector of the state sustainable, State Medicinal Plant Policy needs to be framed. The Advisors asked SMPB to study the policies of other states and prepare a draft by taking out best practices from them also in consonance with the National Medicinal Plant Policy.
It was also decided that a database having details of the medicinal plants that are available in the state must be created along with the value assessment of the products to get its commercial value. Further, it was told that the cultivation of high end (commercially viable) plants and research oriented work would be taken care of by the Agricultural Universities of the state and Forest department also to take up cultivation of plants at their nurseries and other identified places.
Stress was also laid on re-generation of the species which are rare so that the fear of extinction of such plants can be taken care of.
With regard to the awareness programme, the Advisors asked VC SKUAST-K to organize a Seminar/Workshop on the topic soon involving experts from other states, faculty/students from Agricultural Universities, Forest Officers, Forestry Scholars/Graduates and other stakeholders so that participants can share their expertise on the subject with others and make value addition to their existing knowledge.
Dearth of NEET SS centres in Kashmir: Candidates in fix, urge Guv to intervene
Srinagar, May 23: Hundreds of doctors appearing in the upcoming National Eligibility cum Entrance Test Super Speciality (NEET SS) examinations from Kashmir are in a fix as the dearth of examination centres in the valley will force them to choose a centre outside the region or state.
NEET SS 2019 is a Super Speciality national-level exam being conducted by National Board of Examinations to offer admission in DM/MCh courses.
The exam is scheduled on 28 June in online mode and the registration has already started from 8 May.
The candidates from Kashmir, however, are unhappy by the “lackadaisical attitude” of the authorities in failing to get sufficient number of examination centres allotted to the valley.
A doctor who is appearing in the exam said that last year almost 90 percent of the candidates were accommodated in examination centres in Kashmir but this time hardly 15 percent have been allotted valley-based centres.
“They have allotted only one centre for DM/MCh candidates here. Not more than 15 percent have got the examination centre in the valley. Majority of the candidates will have to travel outside the valley to sit in the exams,” the doctor said wishing not to be quoted by name.
He added that as most of these candidates are working in the various hospitals of the valley, they will have to take at least three days’ leave to travel out of Kashmir and sit in the exams.
“As a result, the hospitals will face a deficiency of staff,” he said.
The doctor appealed the J&K Governor to take up the issue with the NEET SS organisers.
Last week, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) too had taken note of this concern and had urged Governor Satya Pal Malik to take up the matter with the appropriate authorities.
“It is very unfortunate that every time we are made to beg to authorities to get sufficient number of examination centres to Kashmir so that our candidates are not made to suffer but it seems that our demands are falling to deaf ears,” Dr Suhail Naik, president DAK had said in a statement.
Atul Dulloo, Principal Secretary Health and Medical Education told The Kashmir Monitor that the doctors “should have informed the authorities about it when they were applying for the courses.”
“Now, they are coming up at the eleventh hour. We will still raise the issue with the concerned authorities and see what can be done,” he said.
City areas waterlogged, again; SMC, works dept in slumber
Srinagar, May 23: Once again a short-spell of rain submerged several city roads, exposing the faulty drainage system in Srinagar.
As predicted by the local meteorological department, the majority of the plains in Kashmir, Thursday witnessed a heavy downpour.
Soon, roads in Srinagar including the city-centre Lal Chowk and its adjoining areas were clogged with rainwater as the drainage system gave up within an hour or so of the rainfall.
Neither Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) nor Public Works Department has, in recent years, been able to resolve the issue which, time and again causes inconvenience to commuters and the business community.
Apart from Lal Chowk and its surrounding areas, those that witnessed water-logging included Karanagar, Nawabazar, Jahangir Chowk, Hari Singh High Street, Gogji Bagh, Bemina, Mehjoor Nagar, Residency Road, Hazuri Bagh, Rambagh, Shalteng, and Batamaloo.
Pedestrians were seen saving their clothes from water splashed on them whenever any vehicles drove through the flooded roads.
Abdul Ahad, a pedestrian while walking near Hari Singh High Street was so annoyed that he started abusing the authorities for failing to permanently resolve the public issue.
Bikers were seen holding up their legs while driving through several inches of water on the intersection between Residency Road and MA Road here.
Rains had also made driving dangerous as the depth of water-filled potholes was impossible to predict for the motorists.
The overall public movement in the city was hindered to a large extent.
No employee of SMC or the Works Department was seen on the field.
Even after repeated attempts to contact them, no officer from SMC or Works Department was available for their comments.
In February, the then Executive Engineer Drainage, SMC, Muzaffar Kakroo had claimed to complete 80% of drainage infrastructure.
He had even said that “complete infrastructure of drainage system across Srinagar along with the water disposal infrastructure will be completed in the month of May-August 2019.”
Seeing the state of drainage on Thursday, it was safe to say that the same had not been achieved.