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.
Youngest pellet victim, Hiba likely to regain eyesight
Srinagar, Dec 14: Nineteen-month-old Hiba Nisar is likely to regain her eyesight after second surgery.
Twenty days after Hiba was hit by pellets in her right eye on November 25, she went through a second surgery at the SMHS Hospital here.
Hiba was operated upon for two and a half hours by a team of senior ophthalmologists at the hospital.
One of the senior doctors said, “We have successfully removed pellets from her right eye which gave us hope that her eyesight will regain very soon.”
Another ophthalmologist said Hiba had suffered haemorrhage in her eye.
“Now, her chance of recovery is very good,” he added.
“In a month or two, with medication and regular check-ups, she will be fine.”
Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, Nisar Ahmad, Hiba’s father, said, “She is feeling better since yesterday (Thursday) as the pellet was removed by the team of doctors.”
“Doctor has advised us to take good care of Hiba and prevent dust from entering her eye.”
“Since yesterday, Hiba is not able to open her right eye properly. Her eye is reddish and swollen which lingers for some time after surgery.”
After undergoing two surgeries, Hiba’s behaviour has changed, he said.
She has become very aggressive as she loses her temper on small things, said Nisar.
“We have to visit hospital again on Monday for her regular check-up,” added Nisar.
Hiba was hit by multiple pellets, when she was in her mother’s arms in her home at Batgund.
Father Nisar is a labourer, and packs apples in an orchard not owned by him.
The family has received Rs 1 lakh as the treatment expenses from the state government.
She is the youngest pellet victim in the current phase of the violence in Kashmir.
Since 2016, SMHS hospital has received at least 1750 pellet victims who were completely or partially blinded.
JK releases Rs 8 cr for Road Safety
Jammu, Dec 14: To arrest the trend of traffic accidents and ensure effective traffic management in the state, the State Government for the first time released Rs 8 crore under Road Safety Fund.
This information was given at a high-level meeting chaired by Principal Secretary Transport, Dr Asgar Hassan Samoon.
The initiative is in tune with the directions of the Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety which has called for establishment of non-lapsable Road Safety Fund in the States.
Threadbare discussion was held in the meeting regarding the effective utilization of fund for different activities and purchase of equipment for road safety measures.
The meeting decided to release Rs 2.5 crore for establishment of traffic and design wings in Transport Commissioner’s office at Srinagar and Jammu for effective planning of traffic management in Kashmir and Jammu regions.
For mobile checking of pollution standards of vehicles, Rs 1 crore has been earmarked for purchasing smoke meters/ gas analyzers, tyre depth gauges, route survey etc.
To create awareness regarding traffic rules, Rs one lakh has been released to each Regional Transport commissioners, Assistant Transport Commissioner for conducting activities and programmes regarding road safety in their respective areas.
For enforcing traffic discipline and checking violations on the roads, Rs 1 crore has been earmarked for fabrication of interceptor on a vehicle. The other accessories and equipment which would be part of the vehicle include roof light bar with siren, cordless mike, One KVA with light bar with siren, cord less Mike, Speed hunter -III plus-speed laser gun, breath alcohol analyzer and others.
Stressing on the digitization and promptness of law enforcement, Dr Samoon called for equipping traffic and MVD personnel with latest gadgets for checking violators. He called for including heavy duty torches/ warning lights, reflective jackets, breath analyzers, speed guns, Pollution checking mobile man, portable weigh bridges and other items.
He also directed for release of Rs 12.8 crore to IGP traffic for purchase of Hill recovery cranes for use at Zojila, Jawahar Tunnel, Banihal-Ramban, Ramban- Nashri, Nashri-Udhampur, Rajouri-Poonch, Mughal Road, Leh and other places.
For effective regulation, traffic management in Srinagar, Jammu cities Dr Samoon also directed for hiring sufficient number of towing cranes, e-challaning machines, interceptive vehicles fitted with modern gadgets.
He also reviewed the construction of RTO and Transport Commissioners office in Srinagar and called for speeding up the works.
During the meeting Dr Samoon called for enhancing the capacity building of transport department besides strict enforcement of traffic rules to minimize the road accident deaths.
Expressing concern over the deaths on the highways, DrSamoon called for survey of vulnerable spots on these roads and directed for measures to avoid accidents at these places.
Dr Samoon was also informed that 20 engineers have been trained on construction of roads keeping in view road safety.
It is pertinent to mention that Governor’s administration has recently notified the rules for operationalization of the Road Safety Fund to ensure effective implementation Jammu and Kashmir State Road Safety Council Act-2018.
Road Safety Fund has provision for allocation of expenditure for implementation of road safety related schemes, programmes, projects, purchase and installation of equipment and devises connected with road safety, conduct of studies, projects and research on matters relating to road safety, trauma-care programmes or activities, etc.
Modi invincible notion dispelled: Omar
New Delhi, Dec 13: The recent assembly poll results have demonstrated that the BJP is not invincible as there is “anger” among people over several of the Centre’s policies, including on agriculture, rising fuel prices and demonetisation, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said Thursday.
Abdullah said the results made it clear that there is anger and a feeling of alienation among the people and the Centre has been unwilling to accept this reality. He also took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he should listen more and talk less.
“Modi ji talks a great deal, which is not wrong, but people who talk more, listen less.
“The prime minister does not listen as much as he should. Otherwise, the mass anger due to agrarian distress, demonetisation or rising fuel prices among others will not have led to humiliation for the BJP in the assembly polls,” Abdullah said at an event here.
The BJP lost the assembly elections in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
“The general notion that the PM is a powerful speaker and party president Amit Shah is a master strategist and both have a magic wand and will always lead the BJP to victory, has been dispelled by the poll results. We know now that (Congress chief) Rahul Gandhi can lead the Congress to victory,” he said.
“We now know that it is not impossible to beat the BJP. Everything they were known for, from Shah’s great management, money power and Modi’s capability to galvanise masses has come a cropper,” he said at a national conclave organised by ‘Lokmat’.
The National Conference leader said the political mood in the country had already changed and it will not be easy for the BJP to arrest it very soon and take it into its command.
“The winds of change have begun, the atmosphere has altered. And it is not in the BJP’s favour anymore,” he said.
Abdullah said Gandhi should get the credit for his party’s success as he is the man who faced the flak for the Congress’ poor performance in the past elections.
He said the regional parties will play a key role in the upcoming general election, highlighting the results of Telangana and Mizoram.
He said his party decided to support the rival PDP recently to “save the state” of Jammu and Kashmir.
“We are all worried about the situation in the state. We are also concerned that the special status of Jammu and Kashmir granted under articles 370 and 35A needs to be defended in the Supreme Court. The next hearing is in January and we wanted an assurance from Government of India that it will be defended in a right manner, but haven’t got it so far,” he said.
Abdullah, however, lauded Modi for reaching out to Pakistan initially to normalise ties between the two countries.
“The prime minister made sincere efforts initially. He invited former (Pakistani) Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to his swearing-in ceremony at a time when nobody would have imagined and then paid a surprise visit to Lahore, but Pakistan hasn’t acted on our concerns…The perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attack have not been brought to book and are roaming freely in Pakistan,” he said.
“Imran Khan has to walk the talk and dispel the apprehension here in our country that he has been installed by the Army and is Army’s man,” he said.
Abdullah said Pakistan would have to do something to win India’s confidence so that New Delhi can forget the past experiences and trust Islamabad again