Approves Gulmarg Master Plan
Jammu, Nov 22:The State Administrative Council (SAC) which met in JammuThursday under the chairmanship of Governor, Satya Pal Malik approved the Gulmarg Master Plan – 2032, Phase-I, with Phase-II of the plan to be completed by end of June, 2019.
Advisors to the Governor, B B Vyas, K Vijay Kumar, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai and K K Sharma, Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam and Principal Secretary to the Governor UmangNarula were present at the meeting.
It is pertinent to mention that in absence of any Master Plan for Gulmarg and its surroundings, its ecological fragile ecosystem had suffered unstructured development, encroachment and conversion of green cover into impervious surfaces.
The Master Plan envisages developing Gulmarg into an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable ace tourist destination. The Master Plan envisages maximizing the contribution of Gulmarg and its surrounds to the State’s economy, preserve its rich natural and cultural heritage, and at the same time provide the best hospitality, excellent value for money and memorable experiences to every visitor, develop Gulmarg as one of the preferred all-weather international tourist destinations, ensuring community participation without compromising on its ecological balance. for all new constructions and reconstructions, the norms as laid down in Master Plan shall strictly be adhered to without any compromise
The main features of the Master Plan Gulmarg-2032 inter-alia include that Tangmarg Area in the vicinity of Gulmarg shall be developed as Satellite-Tourist-Township with flexible set of Development Control Regulations (DCRs) to attract developers for high end tourism infrastructure. This concept is aimed at reducing further foot print of development in Gulmarg which has very limited carrying capacity. Significant part of GDA especially Gulmarg, Khillanmarg, Botapathri and nearby areas included in the territorial jurisdiction of Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary/Biosphere reserve etc will not be used for any high built up infrastructure development other than what is proposed in view of ecological constraints and sensitivities involved. Instead such areas have been proposed for leisure- tourism, eco-tourism, and adventure tourism.
The expansion of existing footprints of tourism infrastructure shall be allowed in accordance with the norms laid down in the Master Plan document, besides it also provides for Facade control/design guidelines along with DCRs which are very important for imageability of the destination.
Bed capacity of Gulmarg has been further supplemented by extra accommodation in the form of tourist resort in the south-West of Bowl and hutments and Camping sites on the western end of Leopard Valley besides eco-tourism areas as per the proposals contained herein. The Master Plan also envisages development of tourist resorts in Tangmarg making it the night stay destination and limiting the bed capacity in Gulmarg below its holding capacity.
The Plan envisages designation and development of Botapathri, Khillanmarg and other areas en-route to Botapathri as model ecotourism sites in collaboration with the local communities, Wildlife Department, Forest Department and GD, development of Drung as heritage village with limited tourist activity through the development of guest houses with the urban design features of vernacular architecture and banning of any kind of compound walling in the area, development of Maahayeen, Qazipur, and Ferozpur as model villages with focus on country guest house accommodation and low intensity tourist activities, development of Baba Reshie area as heritage area with facilities for pilgrim tourism besides preserve villages in the region and facilitate the local communities to develop ecotourism and guest houses.
The Master Plan also envisages biodiversity parks of Kashmir Himalayan Flora in Gulmarg; separate entry and exit points to avoid traffic congestions and Pony Management to arrest horse dung posing a serious problem in the resort as most of it is littered creating unpleasant landscape.
The preparations of Master Plan-2032 were initiated pursuant to the orders of the Hon’ble High Court in PIL titled Mohammad Rafiq Zargar Vs. State and Others. The preparation of the Master Plan Gulmarg was preceded by Environmental Impact Assessment and GIS mapping of the Gulmarg part of the local area. The Draft Master Plan-2032 prepared by the Town Planning Organization, Kashmir has been extensively examined by the Tourism Department for the last 5 years with Hon’ble High Court closely monitoring its preparation.
Brings JK Bank under purview of RTI, CVC, Legislature
The State Administrative Council (SAC) which met in Jammu Thursday under the chairmanship of Governor, Satya Pal Malik in a significant decision approved the proposal for treating the Jammu and Kashmir Bank Limited as a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU).
The SAC approved that the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act, 2009 shall be applicable to the J&K Bank Ltd like other PSUs besides the Bank shall follow CVC guidelines.
The J&K Bank Ltd shall be accountable to the State Legislature like other State PSUs. The Annual Report of the J&K Bank Ltd shall be placed before the State Legislature through the State Finance Department.
The Finance Department will issue appropriate directions in respect of these to the J&K Bank Ltd for observance.
The J&K Bank Ltd established in 1938 is the only State Government promoted bank in the country, with State Government currently having 59.3% shareholding.
As the State is a major shareholder in the J&K Bank Ltd, a need was felt that it should have a character of a PSU which is subject to general supervision and access for enhanced transparency in the transaction of its business to promote public trust.
The purpose of the SAC decision is not to question the day to day activities of the Bank management but a step towards strengthening better corporate governance.
Approves J&K Aadhaar Bill
The State Administrative Council (SAC) which met here in Jammu on Thursday under the chairmanship of Governor, Satya Pal Malik approved the ‘Jammu and Kashmir Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2018’.
The Act provides legal and statutory backing to the use of Aadhaar and would address privacy and security concerns of the residents, who have to use Aadhaar identity created on the basis of their unique biometrics and demographic details, to avail the benefits of various schemes of the Government.
The primary purpose of the Act will be to make sure that biometrics of the residents are used for unique Aadhaar number generation which can further be used for authentication of identity of targeted beneficiaries of various public services and subsidies accruing out of public funds. This in the process will obliterate the chances of leakages and siphoning of public funds.
Under this Act, the Unique Identification Authority shall generate Aadhaar, ensure security, confidentiality of identity information and authentication of records of individuals. The Authority shall also take all the necessary measures to ensure that the information in the possession or control of the Authority, including information stored in the Central Identities Data Repository, is secured and protected against access by the adoption and implementation of appropriate technical and organizational security measures. Like the central act, the State Aadhaar Act restricts data sharing, search and download. This Act rules out the possibility of the surveillance, as well as the possibility to identify people for some collateral purpose.
The Bill takes into consideration the judgment of Supreme Court in the case titled Justice K. K. Puttaswamy and another V/s Union of India and others. The Bill has been modelled primarily on the Central Act, however, certain provisions have been added to address state specific issues.
It has been specifically provided in clause (9) of the Bill that Aadhaar number shall not be an evidence of citizenship or domicile, or being a permanent resident of the State.
Creates 48 posts for ICPS, JJBs, CWCs
The State Administrative Council (SAC) which met in Jammu on Thursday under the chairmanship of Governor, Satya Pal Malik accorded sanction to the creation of 48 posts in various categories for the Mission Directorate, Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS), Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs)/Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) and Selection cum Oversight Committees established for the implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act in the State.
The posts include 1 post of Mission Director for the Mission Directorate, 1 post each of Private Secretary, Junior Stenographer and Junior Assistant for the Selection-cum-Oversight Committee and 22 posts of Senior Assistants & 22 posts of Welfare Officers for the 22 Child Welfare Committees.
The provision of staff will strengthen the implementation of Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2013 and also end adhocism in the matter of appointment of Mission Director, ICPS.
ICPS a Centrally Sponsored Scheme is a promoter for the effective and meaningful implementation of Juvenile Justice Act/Rules. The scheme which runs on 90:10 pattern, contemplates an independent arrangement and architecture for the welfare of juveniles and their protection, both for children in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection.
The existing apparatus was insufficient and not aligned to meet the growing challenges encountered by the Social Welfare Department particularly in respect to staffing which is not provided under the ICPS scheme or structure existing in the state which is the institution of Juvenile Justice Board and Welfare Committees formulated under the Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice Act/Rules.
The Social Welfare Department will outsource or engage on part time basis, contingent paid workers for the services of Peons or SafaiKaramchiaries for these units.
Approves JK Right to Info (Amendment) Bill
The State Administrative Council (SAC) which met in Jammu on Thursday under the chairmanship of Governor, Satya Pal Malik approved enactment of the ‘Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2018.
The Amendment will facilitate appointment of State Chief Information Commissioner and State Information Commissioners during the Governor’s Rule or Presidents Rule.
Presently, the position of State Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and State Information Commissioner (IC) are lying vacant in the three-member Commission. The Commission has been facing difficulties in absence of the requisite strength.
Spontaneous shutdown, clashes in Kashmir parts
Srinagar, Feb 23: Spontaneous protests and shutdown was observed in parts of Kashmir against the detention of
hundreds of Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) and Hurriyat leaders during dozens of nocturnal raids.
National Conference too took out a protest march from the party headquarters against the harassment to Kashmiris in various Indian states.
They were shouting slogans against the attacks on Kashmiris.
The march was led by party’s General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar, who said that Kashmiris were being targeted across the country.
“The harassment to Kashmiris seems to be a part of political conspiracy,” he said.
“They don’t treat us as citizens of India. Is it being done to help some win the elections as Jammu and Kashmir is the only Muslim-majority state in the country?” he asked.
He claimed that Centre can’t suppress the sentiments of Kashmiris.
He also criticized the government for stopping advertisements to two local dailies. He also took on the government for arresting Jamaat-e-Islami leaders.
“We might have ideological differences but government can’t suppress their voices,” he said.
The police on late night Friday also detained JKLF chief Yasin Malik.
Nearly 150 people, mainly from the Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir including its chief Abdul Hamid Fayaz, were detained during the intervening night of Saturday as tension gripped the Valley ahead of a hearing by the Supreme Court on Article 35-A. Maisuma, and its adjoining areas observed a complete shutdown.
Most shops in Srinagar’s Lalchowk remained closed.
There was a heavy deployment of forces on the streets. The old city Srinagar also observed a shutdown.
Clashes were witnessed in Soura, Zaldagar, and Karanagar areas of Srinagar, and south Kashmir’s Anantnag district against the detentions and harassment to Kashmiris.
In a statement, a JeI spokesman said the police and other forces launched a “mass arrest drive” during the intervening night of February 22 and 23 and arrested dozens of its central and district-level leaders.
“Those detained include Ameer Jama’at Dr Abdul Hamid Fayaz, Advocate Zahid Ali (Spokesperson), Ghulam Qadir Lone (Former Secretary General), Abdur Rouf (Ameer Zila Islamabad), Mudasir Ahmad (Ameer Tehsil Pahalgam), Abdul Salam (Dialgam), Bakhtawar Ahmad (Dialgam), Mohammad Amin Wani (Tral), Bilal Ahmad (Chadoora), Ghulam Mohammad Dar (Chak Sangran) and dozens more,” said the spokesman.
Condemning the detentions, he said the move seems a “well designed ploy and that there was something fishy when the state’s special position is listed in Supreme Court.
“Article 35(A) which grants special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, is being heard within days and the way forces personnel unleashed the spree of mass arrest and detained dozens of Jama’at members prior to the hearing seems something is hatching behind the curtains,” said the spokesman, adding: “Any attempt of eroding or tempering Article 35(A) is unacceptable for people of Jammu and Kashmir.”
Interestingly, 100 companies of paramilitary forces including CRPF, ITP SSB, and BSF have been airlifted to Srinagar.
The overall security drill in Kashmir has resulted in a tremendous panic in the Valley with people trying hard to inquire about the exact situation.
Meanwhile, non-local labourers who are living and earning in Kashmir also staged a protest demonstration at Srinagar’s press enclave against the mob attacks on Kashmiris outside the valley.
They were holding placards and banners “Stop harassment of Kashmiris in India”.
The protesting non locals requested the governments of all the states to provide protection to all Kashmiris who are studying or doing their business outside the Valley.
While SMC Mayor Junaid Azim Matoo and his Deputy Sheikh Imran along with corporations also held a protests at the premises of Srinagar Municipal Corporation against any tampering with Article 35-A.
Joint Hurriyat calls for shutdown today
Srinagar, Feb 23: The Joint Hurriyat Leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik has called for shutdown on Sunday (today) to protest the mass arrest, censorship and any tampering with Article 35-A.
In a statement issued on Saturday, Joint Hurriyat said the “arbitrary” arrest of JKLF chairman Yasin Malik and the “mass crackdown and illegal detention” of more than 150 Jamat-e-Islami cadre and leadership including its Ameer Abdul Hamid Fayaz in nocturnal raids across the valley looks to be not only part of the continued policy of “suppression of pro-self-determination leadership and narrative, but in the case of hearing of 35A in Supreme Court most likely on Monday, an indication of what may be expected.”
Joint Hurriyat strongly condemns this “dictatorial policy” of cracking the whip and arbitrary arrests against Kashmiris by those calling the shots in J&K, the statement said.
The leadership said that deployment of additional 100 companies of paramilitary forces on an urgent basis also indicates that “something is cooking in this regard.”
The leadership said that challenge to heredity state subject law is an extremely important issue for the people as it is akin to our very existence as a people and directly linked to the Kashmir dispute.
“Leadership said the spontaneous shutdown and protests across the valley against even the thought of tempering with the law should leave no doubt in the minds of those who have left no stone unturned to choke and muzzle the voice of Kashmir and are breaking records in repression, that the people of Kashmir will never allow it. Joint Hurriyat said entire people and pro people leadership of J&K are one on this,” the statement said.
The Joint Hurriyat also denounced the “pressure tactics” being used by the authorities on certain media houses reporting in Kashmir.
“The standard of factual reporting maintained by our journalist is highly commendable,” it added.
Arrests, addt’l forces ‘part of poll exercise’: Police
Srinagar, Feb 23: Arrival of more forces and arrests of leaders and activists of separatist groups including those of Jamaat-e-Islami is purely part of an election exercise undertaken to ensure free and fair elections along with other parts of country, reports quoting police officials said on Saturday.
News agency KNS quoted a top police official said that “the arrival of Central forces and arrests of leaders and activists of separatist groups including Jamat-e-Islami is part of election exercise undertaken to ensure free and fair elections in the state along with other parts of the country,” adding that “anti-election campaign won’t be allowed and all such people including separatists will be detained to ensure incident free fair and transparent elections in the state.”
He also said that the central forces deployed for Amarnath Yatra and municipal and panchayat elections last year are also returning which is a routine practice.”
The rumours panicked the people in valley after news about the deployment of hundred companies of central forces including 45 companies of CRPF, 35 companies of BSF, 10 companies of SSB and 10 companies of ITBP spread on social networking sites as union home ministry in a communication to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary and Jammu and Kashmir Home Secretary informed them about the additional deployment of the central forces for coordination with operational wings of all the state and central forces in the state.
He regretted that rumour mongering on several issues is panicking the people while there is nothing new in the deployment of central forces and arrests of separatists in connection with the election exercise for the ensuing General elections.
Crackdown ‘arbitrary’: Mehbooba
Srinagar, Feb 23: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday questioned the legality of the crackdown on Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir leaders, saying the “arbitrary” move would only “precipitate matters” in the state.
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister was reacting to the government crackdown on separatists and Jamaat-e-Islami which began on Friday night.
JKLF chairman Yasin Malik and dozens of Jamaat leaders, including its chief Abdul Hamid Fayaz, have already been detained.
“In the past 24 hours, Hurriyat leaders & workers of Jamaat organisation have been arrested. Fail to understand such an arbitrary move which will only precipitate matters in J&K,” Mehbooba tweeted.
“Under what legal grounds are their arrests justified? You can imprison a person but not his ideas,” she said.
The Centre has rushed 100 additional companies of paramilitary forces to Kashmir without assigning any reason for the heavy deployment.
Shabir Shah’s bail plea deferred till Apr 2
New Delhi, Feb 23: A Delhi court on Saturday deferred the hearing on the bail plea of Hurriyat leader Shabir Shah, arrested in a decade-old alleged money-laundering case, till April 2.
Shah’s bail plea came up for hearing before Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora.
The court had on February 18 sought response from the Enforcement Directorate on Shah’s bail plea.
The application was moved before the court on the ground of parity after the Delhi High Court recently granted bail to co-accused and alleged hawala dealer Mohammad Aslam Wani in the case.
The application submitted that the accused was wrongly and falsely implicated in the case, which was registered in 2007 for the alleged offence committed in 2005.
Shah was arrested on July 25, 2017, in the case in which the Special Cell of Delhi Police had also arrested Wani. It claimed that Rs 63 lakh was recovered from Wani, out of which Rs 52 lakh was allegedly to be delivered to Shah.
Shah is in judicial custody and lodged in Tihar Central Jail.