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JK Congress to boycott BDC polls

Press Trust of India

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The Congress on Wednesday decided to boycott the Block Development Council (BDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir, citing “indifferent” attitude of the state administration and continued detention of senior party leaders.

The BDC polls is scheduled to be held in Jammu and Kashmir on October 24. These will be the first elections to be held in the state since its special status was revoked under Article 370 on August 5.

“The Congress believes in strengthening of democratic institutions and never shied away from any polls. But today, we are compelled to take a decision to boycott BDC polls due to indifferent attitude of the state administration and continued detention of senior party leaders in the valley,” state Congress president G.A. Mir told reporters in Jammu.

 

Mir, who was himself under house arrest in Jammu and was recently released, charged that the state administration deliberately created hurdles for mainstream parties in order to facilitate the win of the ruling BJP.

“They have kept leaders and cadres under detention and did not allow the political atmosphere and political activity to take place and the Congress was deliberately targeted in this exercise,” the PCC leader charged.

Despite expressing its reservation on the timing of the polls and ongoing security situation, the Congress along with the National Panthers party had last week decided to take part in the BDC elections.

Mir said the Congress had approached the State Election Commission to facilitate smooth movement of its leaders after deciding to take part in the exercise.

“We had issued letters to candidates for taking part in BDC polls so that we could contribute to the democratic exercise and some of our candidates also filed their nominations,” he said.

However, since today was the last day for filing of nomination papers by candidates, “we have decided to stay away from polls which should have been deferred taking into consideration the prevailing situation in the state as was demanded by all opposition political parties.”

Mainstream political leaders in the valley, including former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have been either detained or placed under house arrest since the government announced dilution of provisions of Article 370 over two months ago.

The state administration said last week that political leaders under house arrest in Kashmir will be released in a phased manner after proper analysis of every individual.


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Kashmir

Court directs registration of FIR against members of SIT that probed 2018 Kathua gangrape-murder case

Press Trust of India

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Jammu, Oct 22: A court in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday directed the police to register an FIR against six members of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) that probed the 2018 rape and murder of an eight-year-old nomadic girl in a Kathua village for allegedly torturing and coercing witnesses to give false statements.

Judicial Magistrate Prem Sagar gave the direction to senior superintendent of police (SSP) of Jammu on an application by Sachin Sharma, Neeraj Sharma and Sahil Sharma, who were witnesses in the case, saying cognizable offences are made out against the six.

 The court directed registration of FIR against the then SSP R K Jalla (now retired), ASP Peerzada Naveed, Deputy Superintendents of Police Shetmbari Sharma and Nissar Hussain, Sub-Inspector Urfan Wani and Kewal Kishore of crime branch of police and asked the SSP Jammu to report compliance by next date of hearing on November 11.

 

“From the gist of the complaint cognizable offences are made out against the non-applicants herein. Therefore, application of the applicant under section 153 (3) CrPc is allowed with the direction to SSP Jammu to register FIR against the non-applicants under relevant provisions of law and report compliance by next date of hearing on November 11,” it said.

In June this year, District and Sessions Judge Tejwinder Singh sentenced to life imprisonment the three main accused, while awarding five years in jail to three others for destruction of evidence in the case that had sparked nationwide outrage.

The trial was shifted to Pathankot on orders of the Supreme Court after some cabinet ministers of the then PDP-BJP government in the state came out in open support of the accused while lawyers in Kathua attempted to prevent submission of the charge sheet in court.

Advocate Ankur Sharma pleaded the case for the applicants.

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CAMPA recommends mitigation plan for Kishtwar High Altitude National Park

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Oct 21: A meeting of executive committee of Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) under the chairmanship of Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, J&K, Dr. Mohit Gera was held here today.

Chief Conservator of Forests, Jammu Sameer Bharti informed that 9.39 Lakh plants have been planted in monsoon areas of Jammu region during the current financial year.

Preparations for winter planting in Chenab Valley and Kashmir Region were also discussed. PCCF directed both the Chief Conservators of Forests Jammu / Kashmir Region  to ensure that targets for winter planting of the current financial year are fully achieved.

 

Chief Wildlife Warden, Suresh Gupta made a detailed presentation on the proposed mitigation plan for Kishtwar High Altitude National Park in respect of which money has been received from Chenab valley power project for Pakaldul Hydro Electric Project.

The activities proposed in the Action Plan include boundary delineation, habitat improvement, strengthening of wildlife protection and eco-development activities. The DPR shall be prepared on the basis of studies conducted by specialized institutions.

Conservator of Forests, Chenab Circle presented the biodiversity conservation plan for conservation of rare, endangered and threatened plants of Marwa and Kishtwar Divisions.

CF Chenab also presented a comprehensive compensatory afforestation plan in the catchment of Pakaldul, Kiru and Kewar Hydro electric Projects.

After approval of steering committee all the projects discussed shall be executed in a project mode in five years time. DPR of Biodiversity Park at Harran Shallbugh, Ganderbal was also discussed. NGO Nazir Benazir urged early completion of the works of biodiversity park at Ganderbal.

In addition modalities for preparation of Annual Plan of Operations of 2020-21 were also discussed and the implementing agencies were asked to prepare the APOs as per the prescribed guidelines within a stipulated timeline.

Among others the meeting was attended by Dr. Neelu Gera Director Social Forestry, Suresh Kumar Gupta Chief Wildlife Warden, Sarvesh Rai CEO CAMPA, Sameer Bharti CCF Jammu, Farooq Gillani CCF Kashmir, T. Rabi Kumar CCF Working Plan, Praveen Raghav CCF Projects & Planning and other senior officers of the Forest Department.

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‘Bridges in Srinagar being facade lighted to enhance their appearance’

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Oct 21: Bridges in the capital city of Srinagar are being facade lighted aimed at their beautification and enhancement of their overall appearance.

Of the three bridges being taken up for facade lighting in the ongoing first phase of the project the work on the Abdullah Bridge has been completed and that on the remaining two including Lal Mandi Footbridge and Budshah Bridge which is in progress will be completed in about a month’s time.

The facade lighting of bridges involves facade formation through light that falls on them and its direction and colour with the appearance of a facade altering with changing components of diffused and direct light.

 

It uses programmable luminaries to enhance facades in a creative manner using seamless linear panels on the sides of bridges to create golden scene and RGB lights which wash on pillars to create different kinds of scenes.

It was informed that a 21 KV power backup which lasts for up to 10 hours will keep the lighting up and running during power outages.

The project is being taken up under the Srinagar Smart City project.

Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said another nine bridges in the city are being taken up for facade lighting in the second phase of the project which he said will start soon after inauguration of facade lighting of three bridges being done in this current phase.

Facade lighting is designed to highlight special features of a structure’s architecture enhancing its aesthetic appeal and overall appearance. It is aimed at beautification of historic structures such as monuments and bridges.

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