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Journos protest against 100 days of internet blackout

Press Trust of India

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Srinagar, Nov 12: Journalists in the Valley took out a protest march here against the continued suspension of internet services which completed 100 days on Tuesday since the abrogation of the Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5.

Scores of journalists working with different media organisations assembled at the Kashmir Press Club here and took out a protest march against the snapping of internet services in the Valley on the night of August 4, hours before the Centre revoked the state’s special status under Article 370 and abrogated it into two Union Territories.

The journalists demanded immediate restoration of the services to facilitate the media persons to discharge their professional duties.

 

“We took out the protest against the suspension of internet services for 100 days now. Internet is a basic took for journalists to discharge their professional duties and we demand its immediate restoration,” senior journalist Pervez Bukhari told reporters after the protest.

The Centre’s August 5 decision led to an unannounced shutdown in the valley even as authorities imposed severe restrictions, including on communication, which were later gradually eased out.

Postpaid mobile services on all networks were restored in the Valley on October 14, 72 days after they were snapped. However, pre-paid mobile phones and all internet services continue to remain suspended since August 5.

The government has set up a ‘Media Facilitation Centre’ at a conference hall of a local hotel here for journalists to discharge their professional duties. But the media persons complain that it has not enough computers and they have to wait for hours for their turn.


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LG directs for restructuring of Tourism Dev Authorities

Monitor News Bureau

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Jammu, Dec 10: Lieutenant Governor, Girish Chandra Murmu Tuesday directed for rolling out the mechanism for the restructuring of Tourism Development Authorities across the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Lt. Governor passed these directions during a meeting he chaired to review the functioning of Planning, Development and Monitoring Department here at the Civil Secretariat.

 BVR Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary;  Arun Kumar Mehta, Financial Commissioner, Finance;  Atal Dulloo, Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education;  Bipul Pathak, Principal Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor; Rohit Kansal, Principal Secretary, Planning, Development and Monitoring;    Khurshid Ahmad Shah, Commissioner Secretary, Public Works(R&B); Ajeet Kumar Sahu, Secretary PHE, I&FC ; M Raju, Managing Director, J&K Project Construction Corporation; Manzoor Ahmad Lone, Secretary, Horticulture Department; Ms. Sheetal Nanda, Secretary, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj;  Sarmad Hafeez, Special Secretary , Youth Services and Sports and senior functionaries of concerned departments attended the meeting.

 

Principal Secretary, Planning, Development and Monitoring, Rohit Kansal gave a detailed presentation on the progress of various projects under Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) for J&K.

The Lt. Governor observed that there is a pressing need to revamp the tourism sector and directed the officers to assess the functioning of the Tourism Development Authorities in J&K and take necessary measures for restructuring the same.

Taking serious note of the delay in some of the Health Infrastructure projects, the Lt. Governor directed for fixing responsibility for the inordinate delays and initiating strict action against the erring officers. He further asked the officers to expedite the remaining projects under PMDP with clear timelines for their timely completion.

The Lt. Governor asked the officers to coordinate with Government of India regarding funds and submit the proposal to the concerned quarters for additional funds, if required, to complete the development projects in time.

Pertinently, Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) was announced for Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh in November 2015 with a total outlay of Rs 80, 068 cr with Rs 58, 625 cr allocated for Jammu and Kashmir for the completion of 54 major projects under the package, out of which 35 projects were to be executed by UT Administration and agencies while 19 projects were taken up by the Central Government.

It was further informed that a total of 15 projects under PMDP in J&K stand completed including projects like Chenani-Nashri Tunnel, Batote- Kishtwar-Sinthantop road, Jammu-Udhampur National Highway stretch. The meeting was also briefed that the upgradation work of MA Stadium is nearing its completion and the stadium is likely to be thrown open for the games within next few days.

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Machine based SMS resume

Press Trust of India

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Srinagar, Dec 12: Machine based SMS service messages, including ‘one time passwords’ (OTPs), resumed on Tuesday for 40 lakh subscribers in Kashmir following several requests from the public, particularly the business community, officials here said.

Though the Jammu and Kashmir administration allowed service providers to resume machine-based messages, subscribers will not be allowed to send any messages from their mobiles, the officials said.

The resumption of service messages will help the general public, especially business-persons, receive service messages from banks, they said.

 

Phones fell silent on August 5, when the Centre revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and reorganised the state into two union territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Mobile phones in Kashmir buzzed back to life after a gap of 72 days on October 14, but SMS facilities were stopped within a few hours after the Army claimed terrorists were using SMS services to mobilse people.

Over 25 lakh prepaid mobile phones and internet services, including WhatsApp, remain deactivated for now, the officials said.

On August 17, partial fixed line telephony resumed in the Valley. On September 4, nearly 50,000 landlines were declared operational.

In Jammu, communication was restored within days of the blockade and mobile internet restarted around mid-August. However, after its misuse, internet facility on cell phones was snapped on August 18.

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Fog disrupts air traffic for 3rd straight day

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Dec 9: No flights could operate from Srinagar airport for the third consecutive day due to poor visibility.

The Meteorological (Met) Department has warned that foggy conditions will continue for the next 48-hours.

“There will be a slight improvement in the foggy weather on Tuesday, and then the weather will improve from Wednesday,” said Sonam Lotus, Director, Met Department, Kashmir.

 

He said for the last ten days Kashmir has mostly seen dry weather with a slow wind speed, resulting in foggy conditions.

Lotus said there will be a significant improvement in the foggy conditions from Tuesday.

“Significant improvement (in visibility) is expected from Tuesday onwards,” he told The Kashmir Monitor.

The valley, he said, will witness light rains on December 11.

“Moderate to heavy snowfall is predicted between the intervening night of 12 and 13 December,” said Lotus.

“Below freezing temperature, calm winds (1 to 2 km per hour), more than 75% humidity, and suspended dust particles in the atmosphere are the reasons for such dense fog,” he added.

Lotus said that similar foggy conditions occurred back in November months of 2015 and 2016.

The Met Department has predicated snowfall in Kashmir from December 12 and 13 due to a fresh western disturbance.

According to a government advisory, an active western disturbance is most likely to affect the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and adjoining areas from December to 10-14, 2019.

“Under the influence of this weather system, widespread moderate rain/snow is expected at a few places of Kashmir on December 10, thereafter increase in intensity and distribution will happen.”

The weather advisory says the system is likely to cause heavy rain/snow mainly in Pirpanjal range of Jammu division (from Baderwah to Banihal), upper reaches of Kashmir (Gulmarg, Sonmarg, Baramulla and Kupwara, and Drass subdivision of Ladakh Union Territory.

“This may lead to disruption of surface and air transport including Jammu-Srinagar national highway. Srinagar-Leh National highway (Zojilla pass), Leh-Manali Highway, Mughal road and Sadhana pass and there would be a further dip in temperature.”

There has been a significant drop in temperature due to prevailing cold wave conditions in Kashmir.

The night temperature in Srinagar was recorded at minus 2.6 degrees and minus 4.2 degrees in the ski resort Gulmarg. 

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