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JKSWRRA authorities visit filtration plants, Jhelum banks, mining sites

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Feb 23: Jammu and Kashmir State Water Resources Regulatory Authority (JKSWRRA) under the chairmanship of Pramod Jain undertook here a comprehensive review of implementation of various provisions of J&K Water Resources (Regulation and Management) Act.
The chairperson was accompanied by Kaneez Fatima, Ravi Magotra, ErMuzzafarLankar and other members of JKSWRRA.
The authority observed that there was slackness on the part of utilities in the implementation of provisions of JKSWRRA Act and called upon the Chief Engineers of PHE and I&FC to work in close association with other departments like Agriculture, Command Area, Geology and Mining, Health, Education, Sports, Ecology and Environment, Agriculture Universities in this regard.
They observed that Divisional Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners can facilitate in providing the desired coordination platform.
The authority reiterated its concern over non-submission of Quarterly Progress Reports by the utilities with regularity. It observed that QPRs are to be submitted in a consolidated manner to JKSWRRA as per the devised proforma, by the Chief Engineers of PHE and I&FC departments and Superintending Engineers of Hydraulic Circle, Leh and Kargil. Chairperson made it clear once again that the authority will not entertain these QPRs if submitted directly by the Executive Engineers.
JKSWRRA also felt that the communication and capacity Development Unit (CCDU) of PHE Department will have to redouble its effort in imparting training and communication skills to different layers of functionaries of utilities at all levels and also carry out campaign on water issues for public awareness in a much bigger way by aggressively using the medium of radio channels which have a far wider reach to the general public more particularly in the rural areas. TV talks with experts and responses in between to callers, issues online should also be slotted for generating water awareness.
Chairperson while reviewing working of CCDU in detail called for a better design and well-planned approach rather than doing things in bits and pieces which can create hardly any impact. CCDU should work out a well thought of calendar of events in the beginning of the year and plan their activities to accomplish the mandated role accordingly.
The Authority felt that besides NGOs, the Village Water Sanitation Committees headed by Junior Engineers can play an added role in this direction and as such their revival and purposeful engagement would need to be fast-tracked. They called for engaging children, mothers, students, teachers, women folk, Ashas, Anganwardi workers, Research scholars and other experts in the field in a meaning full manner to make ‘World Water Day’ ‘World Water Week’ a resounding success.
CCDU was instructed by authority to rejig their world water day celebration plans and programmes with focus on this year’s declared theme ‘Nature for Water’. Impact assessment studies should also be done for a continued improvement in the CCDU activities and plans.
The authority also visited site of ongoing restoration works of Jhelum embankment at Lasjan that caved in a month back and expressed satisfaction over the pace and content of the work being executed. The authority advised that there was need for identifying other vulnerable patches and take timely preventive action.
Winding up its 2-day visit to valley, the authority went around filtration plants and test labs at Tangnar, Nishat and Rangil filtration plants.
The authority also visited sites in Ganderbal district to take stock of the extent of damage where illegal mining of riverbed material in Sindh Nallah was going on. Authority issued instructions to Chief Engineer I&FC, Kashmir and Executive Engineer, FC division Ganderbal to take strict action under section 81, 87 of the act and provision of rule 42 of the J&K Water and Resources (Regulation & Management) rules, 2011 and ensure that further damage of the nallah bed is stopped forthwith.
Authority also implored heads of utilities i.e Chief Engineers of PHE and I&FC to devote sufficient time for management and water governance aspects and not remain mostly engaged with the execution aspects of projects and schemes.


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Kashmir

Caged Mehbooba gets new winter home

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Nov 15: Ending speculations, detained Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti was shifted from Cheshmashahi hut to a ministerial bungalow at Moulana Azad Road Srinagar on Friday.

The development comes 10 days after her daughter Iltija Mufti tweeted a letter she had written to district development commissioner Srinagar urging him to shift her to “suitable location” in view of her falling health.

“As you are aware, my mother Ms Mehbooba Mufti, former CM of J&K has been jailed since August 5. A doctor recently ran multiple tests on her as she wasn’t keeping well. As per those tests, her Vitamin D3, haemoglobin and calcium levels are low,” Iltija had written in her letter.

 

Waking up to Mehbooba’s falling health, J&K government decided to shift her to a location equipped with proper heating arrangements.

Earlier, there were speculations that she might be shifted to Jammu.

However, on Friday government bit the bullet and shifted her to a new location in Srinagar.  “The Cheshmashahi hut where she was under detention is not equipped with adequate heating arrangements. She has been shifted to a posh bungalow which served as an official residence of former deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh. It is equipped with adequate heating arrangements,” a source said.

Mehbooba was detained few hours before Centre abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated the state into two union territories on August 5.

The PDP chief earlier refused to meet her party leaders last month fearing it might be projected as normalcy by Centre.

Mehbooba is among three former chief ministers including Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, who have been jailed since August 5. While Farooq, who was slapped with Public Safety Act, has been detained in his home, Omar is lodged at Hari Niwas guest house, which has been designated as sub jail.

Government has also decided to shift political detainees from Centaur Hotel to a private hotel at Shivpora Sonawar.

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Kashmir

Detained politicians refuse to sign bonds

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Nov 15:  Centre’s fresh overtures have failed after incarcerated political leaders refused to sign the bonds to secure early release from jails.

At least 31 leaders of National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party, Peoples Conference and Jammu Kashmir Peoples Movement are under detention at the Centaur Hotel on the banks of Dal Lake since Centre abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated the state into two union territories.

Sources said authorities approached detainees several times in recent past to persuade them to sign a bond for their release. “Farooq, Omar, and Mehbooba have also been approached several times by authorities. They however have refused to sign the bond. These leaders are adamant and they won’t budge an inch from their stand on Article 370 and bifurcation of state,” sources said.

 

Officials said leaders will face prolonged detention and won’t be released unless they sign a bond. “Political leaders will be shifted from Centaur Hotel to a hotel in Sonawar or MLA hostel Srinagar,” they said.

Mehbooba’s daughter Iltija Mufti confirmed that government made several attempts to get her mother sign a bond, which she refused. “I don’t know when exactly she was recently approached for signing on bond”, she said.

National Conference MP from Anantnag, Justice (retd) Hasnian Masoodi said detention of political leaders was “unjustified without any legal grounds”.

“Why should political leaders sign bond to secure their release?  Signing bonds will mean that were against peace. Government should understand what position they (political detainees) have held and their detention is unjustified,” Masoodi said.

Detainees are supposed to deposit Rs 10,000 as surety. And in case they breach the bond, they have to pay Rs 40,000.  Under Section 107, the bail bond asks detainees “not to commit a breach of peace” or “do an act that may probably occasion a breach of the peace”.

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Kashmir

PDD to issue curtailment schedule next week:More power cuts in offing

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Nov 16: Valleyities have all reasons to worry as darker nights are in the offing with Power Development Department (PDD) issuing electricity curtailment schedule in next four days. 

Kashmir has been facing abrupt power cuts since November 7, when valley received season’s first snowfall.

An official of Power Development Department said there would be further reduction in power supply from next week.

 

“There will be at least 6-hour power curtailment in metered areas and over 8-hour load shedding in non-metered areas of Srinagar district,” the official said. 

In other districts, the official said, there will be 6 to 8 hours power curtailment in metered areas and over 8-hours in non-metered areas.

As per rules, metered areas are bound to get round the clock power supply.

Chief Engineer, Power Development Department, Kashmir, Hashmat Qazi  told The Kashmir Monitor hat there is a need for power curtailment schedule in view of the increase in demand.

“We did not curtail power this year till snowfall hit Kashmir on November 7. The load has increased now. We are framing power curtailment schedule which will be issued within three to four days,” he said.          

On chances of any improvement in power supply this year, he said it all depends on the people. “If they use electricity judiciously, then there will be improvement in power supply. We have to optimize things from available resources.”

The PDD has 1200 MWs of electricity available. However, during winters, the demand reaches over 2000 MWs.

Centre has been allotting additional 700 MWs of power to Jammu and Kashmir in view of higher demand in winters.  However, PDD has failed to augment existing infrastructure to receive additional electricity from the central grids.   

At the same time, PDD is yet to restore electricity in various parts of Kashmir since November 7.

 “Towers have collapsed at various places resulting electricity could not be restored in Magam, Beerwah, Arizal and Khaag areas,” Qazi said.

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