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Kashmir civil society group appeals for India-Pak dialogue

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Srinagar, Mar 25: Civil society group Kashmir Center for Social & Development Studies (KCSDS) Sunday said it was deeply distressed at the “unmitigated spilling of human blood within the State of Jammu & Kashmir and on both sides of the LOC”.

In an official statement made public on Sunday, the KCSDS Chairperson Hameeda Nayeem said that of late, “indiscriminate heart rending killings of civilians, including women and children young boys who pick up guns to fight, police personnel and soldiers on both sides of the LOC and within the State has agonized us a great deal”.

“Apart from horrendous deaths, the civilians within the State and on both sides of the LOC suffer crippling injuries and irreparable damage to their properties and psychological trauma due to heavy exchange of fire on a routine basis,” the statement read.

 

KCSDS said that the “heartfelt response” to the unnecessary avoidable killings, maiming and destruction of property of civilians is imbued by a grave human concern.

“Apart from taking a heavy toll of the civilian lives within the State and on both sides of the LOC, unrestrained exchange of fire on the LOC results in death and maiming of the armed forces on both sides,” the statement said.

The civil society group said they wanted attention of concerned authorities to the fact that in the last six years, 700 soldiers have committed suicide owing to “unbearable stress of disturbed conditions” in the State.

“One could only imagine how much toll it has taken on civilian populace over the past three decades in every respect Comparable figures on the other side is not known.”

The group said it would like to invite the attention of the governments of India and Pakistan to the fact that continuous spilling of human blood is no answer to the  raging Kashmir dispute.

“The non-resolution is causing colossal misery all around, not only to the people of the State but to the entire subcontinent and threatening the security and stability of the entire region. It is high time that sanity is restored to relations between India and Pakistan. Humanity and morality must override narrow considerations of politics and ideology. Both the governments must prioritize the protection of human life, which is the primary duty of any govt and take appropriate measures to save and honour it without succumbing to the narrow, inhuman considerations of religion, ethnicity, nationality or language.

“We fervently appeal to all the parties to promote an immediate Ceasefire within the State and on the LOC. Saving human life must be the paramount concern and duty to start with, followed by a sincere and serious effort to resolve the problem, like civilised human beings, over the table.”

“We also appeal civil societies of both the countries to impress upon their respective governments to enter into a sustained and serious dialogue to resolve the issue that has already generated colossal tragedies on both sides and hampered their growth and development,” the statement read.


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Kashmir

Action plan for conservation, development of medicinal plant sector in JK discussed

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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.

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Dearth of NEET SS centres in Kashmir: Candidates in fix, urge Guv to intervene

Hirra Azmat

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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.

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City areas waterlogged, again; SMC, works dept in slumber

Bisma Bhat

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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.

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