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Ladakh to get all-weather road connectivity soon






Leh, Nov 27: Ladakh region has got one more connecting axis with the rest of the country, that too an all-weather road giving more strategic advantage.

The cold desert will now be accessible by a double lanned motorable road from Manali in Himachal Pradesh via Zanskar of Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir, which cuts through the Himalayan Mountains.

The road will be an advantage strategically in the Kargil region.


Project Vijayak of Border Roads Organization has constructed the road network while cutting through tough mountains into a motorable road which will enhance interstate connectivity with the Himachal. The new road connectivity shall bring socio-economic benefits for the local population besides providing a strategic advantage for the country. This will be the third axis to Ladakh region after Srinagar-Leh and Manali via Leh routes

Giving details of the project, BRO officials said that the initial trekking path connected Jammu and Kashmir at Padum in Kargil’s Zanskar to Darcha in Lahaul valley of Himachal Pradesh through Shinkula pass 16600 fts in Lahaul valley has been widened and converted into a motorable road by the relentless efforts of the BRO men by using modern machinery.

Nimmu-Padam-Darcha axis is a strategically important road being developed by 126RCC and 81 RCC of 762 BRTF of Project Vijayak to extend the this connectivity to Leh.

Darcha lies 32 kms ahead of Keylong on the Manali-Leh highway. The distance from Darcha to Padum is 148 kms. Officials said connectivity between Padum and Darcha was achieved in October this year due to relentless efforts of BRO personnels when machinery and men from both sides met at Lakpan village, about 12 kms ahead of the Shinku La, achieving a significant milestone.Officlas said in the first phase of work, connectivity was planned between Padam to Shinkula- a total distance of 104 km. Col Rajeev Lohani Commander 762 BRTF pointed out that Inspite of the limited working season and difficult terrain, formation cutting was completed by October this year. The only task remaining was a 160 ft Bailey bridge near Purnia village at the junction of Phutkal and Tshrap River.

Col Rajeev Lohani added that with early snowfall this year and temperatures dipping down to -15°C, the construction of bridge was a major challenge, which was overcome by the determination of Bro personnel’s in Padam Sector.

Despite the challenges posed by low temperatures and rarified air reduce the efficiency of machines and material, rock faces and surface as high as 15 meters was cut, he said adding that these areas have no telecommunication facilities available making things even more difficult.

He said that 126 RCC successfully launched 160ft Bailey Bridge which now connects the villages of Char, Purnia, Kuru, Kurgiak with the mainland population in this sector. “This connectivity will go a long way to assist in socio-economic development of Zanskar and Kargil regions and BRO will always live upto it’s task and motto of connecting the remotest areas to the mainland,” Chief Engineer Vijayak, Brig Amit Sohal said and applauded the men working in these hostile and inhospitable conditions. He said that the Darcha-Padum link will be further improved to wider formation width in next summer when work will be resumed.

While referring to the construction of tunnel Chief Engineer said a proposal to construct a tunnel under the Shinku La pass is under consideration to provide all-weather connectivity between the two states amid hilly terrain.



Srinagar Admn to replicate Delhi model for establishing Smart Schools

Bisma Bhat



Srinagar, May 22: After Moholla clinics, the Srinagar district administration is all set to replicate Delhi model for establishing Smart Schools in the summer capital city.

The government has framed a list of 25 schools from the entire district to be identified in the smart school project in a bid to improve the education in the primary and middle schools in the Srinagar city.

 “After a study of Delhi model, we’ve taken up 25 Govt schools for a smart school project. Made good use of #BudhaPurnima holiday in gathering the first-hand survey of needs. Students, teachers contributed brilliant ideas. More local suggestions are welcome”, tweeted Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, district development commissioner Srinagar,


Later speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, Choudhary said they earlier had sent a team to Delhi where they studied two to three model school both from government and private sector.

“The Idea is to improve the infrastructure in the identified school and the academic part. We are currently focusing on the soft skills including the proper training of teachers and involvement of the community,” he said.

Shahid said that they are going to enhance the capability of students and whatever it will cost they are ready to bear the expenses. “Initially we are starting with Rs five crores for the project,” he said.

Deputy Commissioner noted that they are going to focus on primary and middle schools. “We already have smart higher secondary schools in place but students while reaching to that level have little knowledge of the smart appliances”, he said

“The student-teacher ratio in government school is 1:5 which is quite good while that of private school is 1:22. All we have to do is to make good use of human resource and provide quality education in the government school,” he said.

Around 20 agencies from outside are involved in this project like one who delivers capsules on moral values and skill development.

“We will start career counseling on the primary and secondary level also. Initially 120 schools were selected and undergo certain competition out of which 52 students were selected and out of 52 only 25 were selected,” he said.

The schools selected for the project include Boys Middle School, Gagribal, Boys Middle School Drugjua, Middle School Allochibagh, Girls Midle School Panzinara, Middle School Cheki Mujigund, Middle School Khojabagh, Girls Middle School Boatman Colony, Middle School Kothi Bagh, Middle School ApparPora Balhama, Primary School Gundabal, Middle School Chatterhama, Girls Middle School Buchpora, Middle School Panjkarwari, Boys Middle School Habak, Boys Middle School Hazratbal, Boys Middle School Zakura, Middle School Pamposh Colony, Girls Middle School Ahmad Nagar, Middle School Saida Kadal, Middle School Saderbal, Middle School Daribal, Girls Middle School Soura, Middle School Taploo Muhalla, Hawal, Middle School Khan Muhalla Iddgah, Middle School Q D Pora, Zaldagar.

“The project will be completed within six months of the time period”, Shahid said.

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Authorities fail to check the skyrocketing prices of essentials

Firdous Hassan



Srinagar, May 22: Much publicized market checking teams constituted by the Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (DFCSCA) have failed to control the steep price-rise of the essential commodities in the holy months of Ramzan.

A kilogram of cabbage is selling at Rs 80 and before Ramzan the vegetable used to sell at Rs 30-40 per kilo. Beans, in most of the valley markets is selling at Rs 100, which is Rs 40 more compared to pre Ramzan days. Prices of rest of the vegetables including tomatoes, potatoes, brinjals and green collard ranges between Rs 40 to Rs 50.

Mutton and chicken rates are no different, which too are sold Rs 10-20 higher than the prescribed rates by the Department of Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs.


In Lalchowk, a kilogram of chicken sells at Rs 160, 10 Rs more than the prescribed rate. The rates vary as one heads towards north or south Kashmir where a kilogram of chicken cost up to Rs170.

Being a mutton consuming region, a kilogram of mutton sells at Rs 520-530 throughout the valley. The government prescribed rates stand at Rs 450 per kilogram.

The sudden hike in essentials is leaving the consumer furious, who question the outcome of frequent raids by the authorities.

“This has become a norm for the traders during Ramadan. The concerned department often tours markets but fail to permanently control the prices of essential commodities,” said Muhammad Yaqoob a customer from Srinagar’s Barbarshah area.

Expressing helplessness to control the price hike, Director DFCS&CA, Muhammad Qasim Wani said the closure of the highway mostly paves way for the hike in the essential commodities in Kashmir.

“We charge the offenders who don’t follow our rates. Actually highway has mostly remained closed due to which the vehicles coming from markets of New Delhi and Punjab remain stranded for days together,” he said.

Wani said the department has its teams in the city and almost 15 members in every district to check rates of the essential commodities.

“The local production will be also available in market by next week,” he added.

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Family of slain Pattan driver appeals police to speed up probe

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani



Srinagar, May 22: Family of slain driver Jan Mohammad from Mamoosa village, whose body was retrieved from a stream under mysterious circumstances, has appealed the police to speed up the investigation.

Jan Mohammad of Mamossa in Pattan had left for Srinagar on March 22 to collect the money from the owner of the car.  Since then, he was missing and eventually his body was retrieved from a stream in Chaenbal area of Pattan on April 4.    

Staging protest at Press Enclave, the family members said that police have so far not been able to bring the culprits to book. Jan’s brother, Shabir Ahmad said that the family wants to know who killed their son.


Seeking intervention of Governor Satya Pal Malik and Director General of Police (DGP), Dilbagh Singh, Shabir demanded stern punishment to the killers of his brother.

“We even protested on Srinagar –Baramulla highway. It was after Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Baramulla’s assurance that we called off the protest. He told us that 70% of the investigation has been completed,” he said.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Baramulla, Abdul Qayoom said that the investigation was on.

“The Special Investigation Team (SIT) under the supervision of Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO), Pattan is probing the case. It would reach to the conclusion, within few days. Jan Mohammad has been murdered, initially a missing report was lodged at Police station Pattan, later that was converted into an FIR,” he said.

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