Srinagar, May 15: A delegation of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry led by Nasir Hamid Khan, Senior Vice President held the first meeting of the Joint Economic Monitoring Group (EMG) constituted under the directions of the J&K Governor.
The spokesman said that Group has been constituted to monitor the regular redressal of economic issues and follow-up on the decisions of the Government taken from time to time.
The Group is headed by the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir and has all major Head of Departments including Chief Engineer I&FC, PWD (R&B), PDD, Director Srinagar Airport, representative of Municipality, SDA, LAWDA, Horticulture, Tourism, Handicrafts, and other enforcement agencies of the Government. Meeting was held in the office chambers of the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir. The Divisional Commissioner has directed the holding of weekly meetings of the Group for speedy disposal of pending issues.
The agenda of the meeting was mainly regarding the Air/Road Connectivity, revival of Carpet/Handicraft Sector, problems faced by the Entrepreneurs like non-availability of land and procedural constraints like Pollution Clearances, Power Tariff issue of the Tourism Industry, Conservation of the Dal Lake, Crop Insurance Scheme, Prevention and Management of Floods and the restoration of the Cross-LOC Trade.
Khan reiterated the suggestion made by the KCC&I with regard to connectivity problem and stated that the transportation charges for vehicles had skyrocketed due to the road problem.
It was brought to the notice of the administration that transportation charges of goods per truck from New Delhi to Srinagar had touched 85,000/-, Jammu-Srinagar Rs 28,000/-, Punjab-Srinagar Rs 55,000/- in some cases and transporters were not willing to ply their vehicles on this sector. As a consequence, the prices of commodities had also increased.
Due to the intervention of the administration, around 3000 stranded vehicles had been cleared which had brought a measure of relief. The Divisional Commissioner briefed the participants about the various measures taken to resolve the road linkage problem.
He informed the KCC&I members that urgent meetings had been scheduled in this week with the National Highway authorities who had assured that the road position would be stabilized within a week. He also informed the members that the administration was working towards providing an alternative corridor from the Mughal Road for transportation of goods and passengers.
The KCC&I members apprised the Divisional Commissioner about various impediments on this road link and suggested for follow-up on the Governments decisions to declare the Mughal Road as an National Highway. The KCC&I delegation also urged for bringing the Jammu-Srinagar air-link under the UDAN Scheme of the Civil Aviation Ministry.
The scheme is for the un-served and under-served airports under the Civil Aviation Policy aimed at making air travel affordable for the common man. It would bring a big relief to the Tourism Sector and the general public as the per ticket cost comes to around Rs. 1250/- for this sector. The Divisional Commissioner requested the Director, Srinagar Airport for getting a report on the UDAN Scheme and it’s applicability for the Jammu-Srinagar sector.
With regard to inter-city connectivity, the KCC&I members informed the Divisional Commissioner that the developmental plans for connecting the North and South areas of Srinagar City were stuck up due to unwarranted interferences of some lobby groups having vested interests in the area. The North-South Corridor approved in the year 1981 which envisaged construction of new roads and bridges over River Jhelum had been a non-starter.
This had resulted in a major traffic bottleneck being created at Rajbagh. The KCC&I members urged for re-conversion of all the three foot-bridges to motorable bridges for proper ventilation of traffic. The Divisional Commissioner assured the members that the matter was already under active consideration of the Government and would be decided upon in the coming days.
For decongestion of the Central Business District, the KCC&I members urged for clearance of encroachments and addressing the problem of footpath vendors. The members were informed that whereas only about 2500 footpath vendors were registered with the SMC, and a majority of them were given alternate places, the position on the ground was different. All open spaces stood encroached upon by unauthorized stands and footpath vendors. T
he Divisional Commissioner informed the members that the Government had stopped fresh registration of foot-path vendors. He further asked the SMC representative to bring details in this regard in the next meeting.
Regarding the revival of the Carpet/Handicraft Sector, the Divisional Commissioner informed the members that with the view of effective promotion and marketing, BVR Subramanyan, Chief Secretary J&K, had directed the dovetailing of multiple economic sectors like Tourism, Handicrafts, Horticulture etc. This was aimed at boosting of multiple sectors through focused attention.
The KCC&I members raised the issue of non-availability of land for intending entrepreneurs and also procedural impediments which delayed projects by years. In this regard, special mention was made of delays due to time-consuming procedures of the Pollution Control Board.
The Divisional Commissioner informed the members that the Government had considered the issue of non-availability of land for industrial use and in this regard had decided upon many measures to make land available.
Amongst these measures, mention was made of the Government’s decision to go for smaller Satellite Industrial Estates of around 40 kanals, retrieval of unused plots in existing estates and shifting of security force units from Industrial Estates.
Regarding Tourism Sector, the KCC&I members informed the Divisional Commissioner about the charging of power tariff on industrial rates as earlier decided by the Government. The Divisional Commissioner informed the members that the Hon’ble Governor had been apprised about the issue and a decision in this regard was expected soon. The KCC&I members also brought the problem of renewal of Tourism Registration License due to online glitches to the attention of the Divisional Commissioner. The Divisional Commissioner directed the Dy Director Tourism to issue manual licences till the problems with online registration is sorted out.
Regarding the preservation of Dal Lake, the KCC&I members urged for making functional the Common STP’s for controlling pollution around the lake. The Divisional Commissioner informed the members that the preservation of the Dal Lake was being regularly monitored by the Hon’ble High Court. Common STP’s and other measures to check pollution were being shortly discussed in a special meeting. He invited the KCC&I members to participate in the meeting as stakeholders for getting updated on the current status and also to give their suggestions for protection of the Lake.
The problem of non-availability of Crop Insurance Scheme for Kashmir was raised by the KCC&I members. The Divisional Commissioner directed the concerned department to furnish the present status of the proposal for consideration of the Group.
The Divisional Commissioner also gave a detailed account of measures taken to prevent and manage floods and improve the water absorption capacity by augmentation of the drainage system and construction of storm drain network in the city. For beautification of the Central Business District, the KCC&I members suggested underground cabling of power lines. The Chief Engineer, PDD Hasmat Qazi said that the proposal could be considered for main business areas.
Police seeks adjournment of Kathua rape, murder trial, says ‘accused being major or minor still undecided’
Jammu, Jul 15: Jammu and Kashmir police’s crime branch Monday moved a plea before a juvenile justice board hearing the case of an accused in the gangrape and murder of a young girl in Kathua, seeking deferment of the trial as the state high court is yet to decide whether he is a minor or not.
Appearing before the board, the special public prosecutor of the crime branch submitted that the high court is yet to pronounce its decision on an application moved against the decision of a Kathua court which accepted the accused’s claim that he is a minor, officials said.
The board, after framing charges against the accused who played a key role in kidnapping, rape and murder of the eight-year-old nomadic girl, had fixed Monday for examining prosecution witnesses and commencing of trial.
The board, after examining the plea of the crime branch, however, made it clear that there was no stay by the high court on holding the trial and gave prosecution two weeks to produce evidence and its witnesses in the case.
The crime branch had filed a petition in the high court against the accused’s claim of being a juvenile and said that the then chief judicial magistrate in Kathua had erred in accepting it.
The crime branch had also annexed a report of the medical board of Government Medical College, Jammu, which said the accused was “not less than 19 and not more than 21” years of age
However, the case has seen repeated adjournments last year.
The juvenile justice board had framed charges on July 8 following which it issued a notice to the crime branch, asking them to bring in their prosecution evidence and witnesses for the trial.
According to the notice, “the next date of hearing has been fixed on July 15”.
“The case has been fixed for prosecution evidence… Kindly arrange the presence of public prosecutor appointed in the case so as to examine the prosecution evidence/ witnesses,” it said.
The trial in this case was shifted to the Pathankot Sessions Court on the directions of the Supreme Court last year.
The Pathankot Sessions Court had on June 10 this year sentenced Sanji Ram, dismissed special police officer Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar to life imprisonment, while sacked policemen Anand Dutta, Tilak Raj and Surender Verma were handed five years in jail.
The verdict came 17 months after the girl was brutally gang-raped inside a ‘devisathan’ (local temple) and later killed. She was kidnapped on January 10 and her body was found on January 17.
Four arrested for thrashing teachers, students in Budgam
Srinagar, Jul 15: Under pressure, Jammu and Kashmir police have arrested four people involved in the attack on school picnickers at Raiyar village in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Saturday evening.
Six people including two girls and a teacher were injured when a group of youth armed with rods and canes attacked school picnickers at Raiyar village. The incident occurred on Saturday evening when the students and teachers of Hanfiya Model Higher Secondary School (HMHSS), Kreeri in Baramulla district, were returning from Doodpathri after a daylong picnic.
Police swung into action immediately and registered a case of attempt to murder under section 307 Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) against the unknown attackers.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Budgam, Amod Nagpuri told The Kashmir Monitor that four persons have been arrested and further investigation was going on.
“Yes, four persons have been arrested from Raiyar, where the incident took place. They have been booked under section 307 RPC,” Nagpuri said.
Jehangir Ahmad, a teacher at HMHSS, said photographs of eight people were sent (by police) to school authorities for identification.
“After going through the photographs, we identified four persons,” he said.
Ahmad said the injured physical teacher continues to be under observation in Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS).
“Patient was referred from SDH Khan Sahib as a case of assault with head injury. NCCT head showing parietooccipital EDH with parietotemporal contusions,”read the SKIMS report issued on Sunday.
Police sources said that during investigation statements of the injured were also recorded and on that basis four attackers were later arrested
470 militant attacks took place in 2017, 2018: Goel tells RS
New Delhi, Jul 15: As many as 470 militant attacks took place in the country in 2017 and 2018, the government informed Rajya Sabha on Monday.
In a written reply to a question by BJP MP Vijay Goel, Minister of State for Defence said in 2017, 131 militant attacks occurred in Jammu and Kashmir, eight in Manipur and one in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh each
In 2018, 318 militant attacks took place in Jammu and Kashmir, eight in Manipur and three in Nagaland.
The minister told the House that 235 militants were killed in various counter-insurgency and counter-infiltration operations in 2017. In 2018, the number of militants killed stood at 265.
The Army lost 85 soldiers in these two years – 42 in 2017 and 43 in 2018.