Jammu, Dec 14: To arrest the trend of traffic accidents and ensure effective traffic management in the state, the State Government for the first time released Rs 8 crore under Road Safety Fund.
This information was given at a high-level meeting chaired by Principal Secretary Transport, Dr Asgar Hassan Samoon.
The initiative is in tune with the directions of the Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety which has called for establishment of non-lapsable Road Safety Fund in the States.
Threadbare discussion was held in the meeting regarding the effective utilization of fund for different activities and purchase of equipment for road safety measures.
The meeting decided to release Rs 2.5 crore for establishment of traffic and design wings in Transport Commissioner’s office at Srinagar and Jammu for effective planning of traffic management in Kashmir and Jammu regions.
For mobile checking of pollution standards of vehicles, Rs 1 crore has been earmarked for purchasing smoke meters/ gas analyzers, tyre depth gauges, route survey etc.
To create awareness regarding traffic rules, Rs one lakh has been released to each Regional Transport commissioners, Assistant Transport Commissioner for conducting activities and programmes regarding road safety in their respective areas.
For enforcing traffic discipline and checking violations on the roads, Rs 1 crore has been earmarked for fabrication of interceptor on a vehicle. The other accessories and equipment which would be part of the vehicle include roof light bar with siren, cordless mike, One KVA with light bar with siren, cord less Mike, Speed hunter -III plus-speed laser gun, breath alcohol analyzer and others.
Stressing on the digitization and promptness of law enforcement, Dr Samoon called for equipping traffic and MVD personnel with latest gadgets for checking violators. He called for including heavy duty torches/ warning lights, reflective jackets, breath analyzers, speed guns, Pollution checking mobile man, portable weigh bridges and other items.
He also directed for release of Rs 12.8 crore to IGP traffic for purchase of Hill recovery cranes for use at Zojila, Jawahar Tunnel, Banihal-Ramban, Ramban- Nashri, Nashri-Udhampur, Rajouri-Poonch, Mughal Road, Leh and other places.
For effective regulation, traffic management in Srinagar, Jammu cities Dr Samoon also directed for hiring sufficient number of towing cranes, e-challaning machines, interceptive vehicles fitted with modern gadgets.
He also reviewed the construction of RTO and Transport Commissioners office in Srinagar and called for speeding up the works.
During the meeting Dr Samoon called for enhancing the capacity building of transport department besides strict enforcement of traffic rules to minimize the road accident deaths.
Expressing concern over the deaths on the highways, DrSamoon called for survey of vulnerable spots on these roads and directed for measures to avoid accidents at these places.
Dr Samoon was also informed that 20 engineers have been trained on construction of roads keeping in view road safety.
It is pertinent to mention that Governor’s administration has recently notified the rules for operationalization of the Road Safety Fund to ensure effective implementation Jammu and Kashmir State Road Safety Council Act-2018.
Road Safety Fund has provision for allocation of expenditure for implementation of road safety related schemes, programmes, projects, purchase and installation of equipment and devises connected with road safety, conduct of studies, projects and research on matters relating to road safety, trauma-care programmes or activities, etc.
Not holding simultaneous elections will impact voter turnout in LS polls: Experts
Srinagar, Mar 19: Not holding Assembly and Parliamentary polls together is likely to impact the overall voter turnout in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in the valley, claim valley based experts in politics.
This year many new parties have come to the fore and the Centre is likely to enhance its deployment of forces in Kashmir to ensure “violence free elections.”
However with spontaneous disturbance across the valley coupled with delaying of the Assembly elections by the Centre, the experts claim a major proportion of the people are likely to keep away from casting their votes.
“Parliamentary election in Kashmir usually invite low voter turnout. Had it been both Lok Sabha and General Assembly elections held together in the state the voter turnout could be expected higher. As of now, we don’t see chances of any major turn out in voting ahead especially in Kashmir,” said Prof Gul Muhammad Wani who teaches Political Science at Kashmir University.
Wani expressed doubt over the participation of newly formed parties in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
“I am not sure if these smaller parties will field their candidates. Even if their leaders file nomination, people won’t vote for them in huge proportion compared to the two main political parties of Kashmir (NC and PDP),” Wani said.
“Many parties will use this election to mobilise people for the upcoming assembly elections,” he said.
In 2014 LS polls, 49.7 per cent voter turnout was recorded in Jammu and Kashmir. Barring Jammu, people mostly in Kashmir prefer to choose boycott over ballot as only 11.46% voter turnout was recorded in summer capital.
In 2017 by-polls, the turnout in Srinagar dipped further to only seven percent as violence and killing gripped the valley on poll day.
Prof Noor Ahmad Baba, another expert in politics, claims the parliamentary elections in Kashmir won’t be a “bigger affair” as he believes that there are less “reaction” votes from the valley.
“In other states people vote to express their dissent, which is not in case of Kashmir. Some people will vote here positively. The turnout is expected to be higher in Assembly polls ahead,” he said.
Prof Baba said the emergence of new parties too won’t woo many people to cast their vote for them.
“These new parties won’t have much impact immediately. Sajad Lone has no appeal outside Baramulla and Shah Faesal too can’t make a bigger difference. However, if NC and Congress form an alliance then some may come out to vote,” he said.
Slow repair work halts cross-LoC trade in Uri
Traders fear losses in crores
Srinagar, Mar 19: The Cross-LoC trade in Uri has hugely suffered due to snail-paced repair work on the Kamaan Post Bridge, traders rued on Tuesday.
As per them, around 116 trucks are stuck at Uri road in north Kashmir while 24 others are stranded at Traders Federation Center Salamabad. The stranded trucks are carrying delicate items including fruits and vegetables which cannot be preserved for long course of time.
Aggrieved over the losses, the Cross-LoC Traders Association claimed that the delicate goods in stranded trucks have been damaged due to the delay.
Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, Hilal Turki, chairman, Cross-LoC Traders’ Association, said the items in the trucks have almost “perished” as around two weeks have passed since the repairing work started.
“The losses might be in crores as there are 140 trucks stranded. We have written to the Director General of Police to seek the intervention for speedy repairing of the bridge,” he said.
In a letter to government authorities, the association stated: “Our traders mostly deal with fresh items and the value of those items is in millions of rupees, here we would like to bring in your kind notice that most of the products come from all over the country and as such our loaded fresh trucks remain in transit for a week or more due to this uncomfortable situation our traders are desperately waiting for speedy repairing of Kamaan Pull so that heavy losses can be saved.”
Earlier on March 9, police communicated to the concern authorities that due to the sustained use of Kaman Aman Setu for cross-LoC trade for a long period, the bridge has suffered some damages which requires immediate repair to prevent further deportation.
“Inspection of the bridge was carried out on March 8, 2019, which indicated that the bridge needs urgent repairs and maintenance to ensure its longevity. The repair would require minimum 10-15 days,” he said.
However, around two weeks after, the repair work is still on at a very slow pace.
Riyaz Malik, SDM, Uri told The Kashmir Monitor that the resurfacing work in Kamaan Post bridge is going on. “Trade is suspended since then as work is going on and it will take 10-15 more days to allow traffic on the bridge. We have advised the traders to get the items down some where in Srinagar,” Riyaz said.
Cross-LoC trade and the bus service between India and Pakistan were suspended last month too, in backdrop of the Pulwama suicide attack in which 49 CRPF personnel were killed.
Centre misusing NIA to target Kashmiris: Soz
Srinagar, Mar 19: Alleging that Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre was misusing National Investigation Agency (NIA) to target Kashmiris, senior Congress leader Prof Saifuddin Soz on Tuesday said this will be useless and counter-productive.
The former union minister supported chairman of Hurriyat (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who has asked NIA to question him in Srinagar as he cannot travel Delhi for security reasons.
In a statement here this afternoon, Prof Soz said, “I give credence to Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s stand that he should be questioned anywhere in Srinagar and not asked to travel to NIA headquarters in Delhi”.