Jammu, Nov 12: Lt. Governor, Girish Chandra Murmu reviewed the situation arising due to heavy snowfall in Kashmir and issued directions to the concerned officers for prompt action to alleviate miseries of people due to heavy snowfall in the Valley.
BVR Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary; Bipul Pathak, Principal Secretary to Lt. Governor; Hirdesh Kumar, Secretary PDD; Sanjeev Verma, Divisional Commissioner Jammu; Ajeet Kumar Sahu, Secretary PHE; Khurshid Ahmad Shah, Secretary PWD; Sh. Pandurang Pole, Secretary Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction and Alok Kumar, IGP Traffic, J&K participated in the meeting.
Through video conferencing, Baseer Ahmad Khan, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, briefed Lt. Governor about the status of the restoration of power supply, clearance of snow from the roads, adequacy of food items, fuel, water supply, availability of medicines and other basic amenities in areas of heavy snowfall in Kashmir.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir informed that machines have been put in place for snow clearance, Centres for relief facilities have been set up in 3 places on the National Highway with sufficient stocking of essential commodities including dry ration, heaters, blankets, and provision of water and toilet facilities. He added that these Centres have the capacity to accommodate 1500 people at a time.
It was informed that 602 winter dumping stations have been established in inaccessible areas of Kashmir with all the basic necessities stocked for 6 months, these areas are mostly situated in the districts of Kupwara, Bandipora, Baramulla, Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag and a few areas in Budgam district.
The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir informed that winter control rooms have been established at district and sub divisional level and their telephone numbers have been widely publicized. All officers/officials have been asked not to leave stations without proper permission. Besides officers are touring extensively in areas of their jurisdiction to oversee public facilities.
Khan informed that snow clearance from roads and restoration of electricity supply has been done in record time and train services in the Valley have again started working from today. It was informed that 100 % major roads and more than 95 % internal roads in every district of Kashmir have been cleared for traffic movement. 95 % of the electricity supply in Srinagar district, 78% in Pulwama, 73 % in Kulgam and 70% each in Shopian and Ganderbal has been restored. Provision of alternate electricity supply for Baramulla and Kupwara districts has been made from Lower Jhelum, Kishenganga and Dilena sub-station. This interim arrangement has been made till electric lines are restored in these districts.
As regarding water supply, Divisional Commissioner informed that 680 out of 859 water schemes are fully functional with 100 % water supply restoration in Srinagar, Anantnag, Bandipora, Kulgam and Ganderbal and more than 90 % in other districts. He informed that 80 stationary and 105 vehicle mounted pumps have been pre-positioned at vulnerable places to avoid inundation of low lying areas.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir further informed that 64,700 candidates appeared for 10th class examination today and adequate heating and lighting facilities were available at all the examination centres. He said that teams have also been constituted to check overcharging and hoarding of essential items by the traders.
Chief Secretary informed that Rs. 20 crore for Kashmir and Rs. 10 crore for Jammu have been provided and asked both the Divisional Commissioners to utilize the funds sanctioned under the SDRF.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir told that the SDRF teams have also been kept ready for carrying out rescue operations in upper reaches in case of landslides.
While reviewing the traffic management, Lt. Governor suggested for setting up kiosks wherever the space for traffic boy is not available. He directed deployment of adequate traffic personnel with provision of uninterrupted communication channels for smooth flow of traffic particularly along the Jammu-Srinagar Highway. He advised the PDD to ensure well designed towers for future including laying out of underground cables to protect the supply and directed the PHE Department for providing more vehicle mounted pumps.
Lt. Governor directed Divisional Commissioner Jammu to identify land for facilitating passengers who get stranded due to landslides on the Jammu-Srinagar Highway and create facilities for provision of food, water, toilets, tents and medicines.
Lt. Governor directed the administration to put in added efforts in mitigating the difficulties of the people and meeting their requirements. He advised constant monitoring and all out efforts for ensuring public convenience. He directed for providing immediate relief for damaged structures and in cases of death and those injured.
J&K govt to take call on release of political leaders, no interference from us: Shah
New Delhi, Dec 10: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday said the local administration of Jammu and Kashmir will take a call on the release of detained political leaders in the valley and the Centre won’t interfere in the process.
Shah said the government has no intention to keep any leader under custody for a single day more than required.
“..it is for local administration to decide when political leaders will be released. We don’t want to keep anyone (leaders) in jail even for a day more than what is required. As and when the local administration feels the time is appropriate, they will be released. There will be no interference from our side,” Shah said.
He was responding to a question by Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir and detention of political leaders.
Taking on the Congress, Shah said, Farooq Abdullah is in custody for six months but the Congress had kept his father in custody for 11 years.
“Farooq Abdullah’s father was kept in jail for 11 years by the Congress. We don’t want to follow them and as soon as the administration decides, they will be released,” he said.
He further said all leaders should be concerned about political leaders in the valley, he is also concerned but if leaders are more worried about people of Kashmir it will send a better message.
Underlining that the situation is completely normal in the valley, Shah said, “99.5 per cent students of the eleventh class sat for exams there, but for Adhir Ranjan Ji this is not normalcy, seven lakh people availed OPD services in Srinagar, Section 144 removed from everywhere. But for Adhir Ji the only parameter for normalcy is political activity.”
Earlier Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy, responding to a supplementary question by Sridhar Kotagiri, said stone-pelting incidents have decreased substantially in 2019.
In 2018, 802 such incidents were reported which reduced to 544 in 2019, while only 190 stone-pelting incidents were reported since August 5, Reddy said.
All leading English, Urdu newspapers and TV channels are working in the valley, he said.
Committee to examine academic arrangement system
Srinagar, Dec 10: Government has constituted a five-member committee to examine all the aspects related to the hiring and remuneration of academic arrangements in various departments.
The committee, as per an official order, will be chaired by Financial Commissioner of Finance department with Secretary Higher Education Department as its Member Secretary, and Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education Department, and Secretaries School Education and Technical Education departments as its members.
The committee has been asked to look into all aspects of academic arrangements made in various departments from time to time.
“It shall inspect the mode of hiring teaching faculty and their duration for the academic year and what will be their source of funding,” reads the order.
Government has directed the committee to suggest a common approach to address the challenges faced by the departments on account of academic arrangements.
“The committee shall be authorized to co-opt any expert in its deliberations,” the order says.
The committee, the order says, will function under the higher education department and shall submit the report and recommendation, observed during the inspection of the department, to the government by January 10.
Each year, the government hires services of hundreds of teachers on academic arrangement basis in higher education department.
In most of the colleges in Kashmir, these teachers outnumber the permanent staff members.
Last week, Lt. Governor, GC Murmu reviewed the functioning and problems prevailing in higher education department.
Besides, the Lt. Governor asked the concerned department to frame a comprehensive recruitment policy to rationalize the recruitment process.
“The higher officials have been directed to resolve all the seniority and recruitment issues in the Higher Education Department at the earliest to remove the entire bottleneck prevailing in the department,” Murmu had directed.
Life in times of fog:Zero visibility, no flights
Srinagar, Dec 10: For the fifth straight day, dense fog and poor visibility forced the cancelation of all 27 flights at Srinagar International Airport.
With this, the total number of flights cancelled due to poor visibility has crossed 116 in the last four days.
Twenty eight flights were cancelled on Monday. On Sunday, Saturday and Friday, poor visibility at the airport led to the cancellation of 26, 24 and 11 flights, respectively.
An official at Srinagar airport said there was zero visibility at the airport on Tuesday and with the result all flight operations were suspended.
“Unfortunately, all the flights got cancelled today as well. The prevailing conditions didn’t suit the operation of flights as the visibility recorded on Tuesday was zero,” he said.
Director Airport Authority of India (AAI) Santosh Dokay told The Kashmir Monitor, visibility at the runway was less than 50 meters due to the dense fog.
“At least one kilometer visibility is required for flight operation but currently we have a visibility up to 50 meters. Even zero visibility was recorded in the morning. It could lead to accidents if a plane lands or takes-off under these conditions,” he said.
What has compounded the problem is that despite upgrading Instrumental Landing System (ILS), flight operations continue to remain hit.
“We do have an ILS, which was upgraded recently and an Approach Lighting System (ALS) was also installed. The visibility range at the runway has been improved to 1000meters from two kilometers. But the kind of fog witnessed this year hasn’t been witnessed before. It is unprecedented and persists through the day,” Dokay said.
Due to frequent cancellation of flights, scores of the passengers had to return their homes on the fourth consecutive day. “Every year we have to face the situation when flights get cancelled for weeks together. Many among us have to visit outside state for medical reasons. Every time flights don’t take off,” said Aijaz Ahmad Ganie, who had to take her mother for a checkup to New Delhi.
Meteorological Department (MeT), has forecasted dense fog till Wednesday across the valley.