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Mismanagement on Jmu-Sgr highway: Ill planning causes crippling losses to state economy, says KCCI

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Apr 25: The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry has expressed serious concern at the lack of proper infrastructural planning and mismanagement of traffic which is causing crippling losses to the economy and suffering to the general public.

The frequent closure of the Jammu-Srinagar road link due to landslides and shooting stones, unscheduled declaration of one way movement, the two days closure for movement of Security Forces and the harassment of travelers due to multiple check points has resulted in the development of an abnormal situation of people being dissuaded from using the Highway.

A spokesperson of KCC&I today said that although the Jammu- Srinagar highway suffered from minor problems earlier also but the condition since last year has been unprecedented. The journey from Udhampur to Srinagar a mere distance of around 200Km- has turned into a nightmare. Vehicles laden with goods have been stuck at various places for weeks together. Documents submitted by members of the KCC&I show that some trucks have been stuck at Udhampur since 10th of April.

 

Transportation of livestock including poultry and sheep towards Srinagar and movement of fruits from Srinagar to outside the valley has also been severely hit. There are reports the fruit sent from Kashmir has reached various Mandi’s in a bad condition. Tourist vehicles are also stopped and we have reports that tourist groups have often taken more than 20 hours to reach Srinagar which has disrupted their booking schedules and programs. Tourists are therefore avoiding travelling by road. In view of the huge monetary risk involved, movement of perishable goods including frozen products has reduced to almost nil. Transporters are now flatly refusing to ply their vehicles on the Jammu-Srinagar Sector. Losses caused to various sectors are mounting as the sector has been rendered unviable due to the reasons enumerated above.

The situation in the capital city of Srinagar and other major townships of the valley is no better. Traffic bottlenecks, jams and inadequate management manpower at all major and peripheral junctions has choked the roads. Srinagar seems to be the biggest casualty of ill-conceived planning over the years.

The conversion of a motorable bridge at Rajbagh into a footbridge is a case in point. The wastage of crores of rupees of public money into the creation of a foot bridge when the choked public is gasping for more road links is a bizarre decision. Same can be said of the erstwhile Zero Bridge which could have – with appropriate reinforcements – provided necessary traffic disbursal linkage for light one-way traffic. The Government has, in its wisdom, converted two motorable bridges into foot bridges and built another footbridge near the Museum in a stretch of around 1.5 km whereas the requirement is for providing of multiple motorable bridges across the Jhelum. The Government seems to be oblivious to and unconscious about the miserable plight of the public who have to waste hours every day while commuting to work on these routes. After the Durbar Move, the situation is likely to go from bad to worse.

The Government needs to take immediate corrective measures to rectify the abnormal situation which is clearly moving towards an economic collapse. But at the same time, it also needs to re-assess long term infrastructural requirements as it cannot be digging wells every time there is a fire.

The Kashmir Chamber has also been pressing for the early opening of the Mughal Road and in this regard appreciated the efforts put in by the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir for issuing necessary directions for diverting road opening machinery for this purpose. The efforts put in by the district administration of Shopian especially R&B Department, Mechanical Engineering Wing has resulted in the clearance of the road upto Peer Ki Gali despite inclement weather conditions and heavy snow. The blockade is now on a stretch of about two kms falling in Jammu Division which we have been assured will be cleared up within a week. The KCC&I strongly recommended that the Mughal Road should be developed as an exclusive corridor for uninterrupted movement of civilian traffic during the summer months in addition to correcting the problems on the National Highway.

The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry also urges for conversion of the Foot Bridge to Motorable bridges, as originally planned adequate augmentation of personnel for management of traffic throughout the valley is also recommended.


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Kashmir

In 3 yrs, GoI paid Rs 12 lakh rent for over 30K kanals under ‘defence’ in Srinagar

MoS Defence says ‘only 47 kanals’ held by defence establishments in Shopian

Nisar Dharma

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New Delhi, Jul 17: The Defence Ministry Wednesday made an interesting disclosure while giving out the figures about the total acres of land held by various defence establishments in J&K.

In a written reply to the question posed in the Lok Sabha by National Conference’s MP Hasnain Masoodi, MoS Defence Shripad Naik said that 56,615.54 acres (4.53 lakh kanals) of land was with different defence wings and organisations operational in J&K.

Giving a district-wise breakup, the reply stated that 3757.8 acres (over 30,000 kanals) of land was held by defence establishments in Srinagar.

 

Interestingly, for the huge area occupied in the summer capital, only Rs 12.17 lakh has been paid in rent during the last three years while Rs 2.02 lakh is shown outstanding.

The Defence Ministry figures show the district getting a rent of Rs 4.05 lakh per year from 2016-17 to 2018-19.

More shocking is the case of Shopian, one of the most heavily guarded districts in south of Kashmir with a huge security buildup.

In the district, the Defence Ministry reply claims only 5.94 acres (47 kanals) of land is under defence establishments for which Rs 79,203 of rent has been paid for the last three years while as Rs 13,200 is outstanding.

In districts Leh and Kargil, 5788 acres of land (46,000 kanal), as per the reply, is under defence establishments and the rent paid and outstanding is Rs 5.66 crore and Rs 77.42 lakh respectively.

The most land held by defence establishments is in Jammu district. As per the reply, 18935.4 acres of land is under defence in the district for which Rs 42.13 crore has been paid in rent for years 2016-17 to 2018-19, while Rs 7.65 crore is still outstanding.

Overall in the state, Rs 134.45 crore had been paid in rent to land owners and the state government in the last three years. Rs 24.48 crore is shown as outstanding rent during the period.

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Anganwadi workers, helpers continue protests against SAC decision

Kashmir News Service

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Srinagar, Jul 17 : The Anganwadi workers and helpers working under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme continued their protests against the State Administrative Council’s (SAC) decision to disburse their honorariums through Gram Panchayats.

Hundreds of workers under the banner of All Jammu and Kashmir Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Association, raising slogans against the SAC decision demanded its immediate roll-back. They said disbursing honorarium through Gram Panchayats can pave way for corruption and harassment of the workers and helpers.

“We not only demand roll back of this arbitrary decision but also making the ICDS permanent and increase in budgetary allocation for the ICDS. The government must also pay minimum wages, social security and pension to us as recommended by 45th ILC,” the protesting workers demanded.

 

They said that they will fight against the government move to privatize the ICDS in any form and involvement of corporate companies or NGOs in the ICDS. “We also demand strengthening of ICDS, converting Anganwadis into Anganwadi-cum-crèches, increase in allocation for nutrition and strengthening and retaining the pre-schoold education in ICDS,” the workers demanded.

The protesters said the supervision of Anganwari centers are done by the ICDS department and they don’t object the Coordination with Panchayati Raj Institutions in running the Anganwari centers.

“But the panchayats must provide resources to the Anganwari centre like it is being done in Kerala, where they provide additional food, milk, eggs toys, uniforms etc for children. But here, instead of following that model, only monitoring part has been given to panchayats. The salary to the Anganwari staff will be released only after the certification of the panchayats which can lead to corruption and harassment of the workers and helpers. This was tried in many states and the decision was taken back there after it failed,” they said.

The protesting workers said, “If the panchayats have to monitor why don’t they monitor all services and link the salary of all government employees to panchayat certification? We have been handed over to Panchs and Sarpanchs which is unacceptable to us. We are working with the ICDS for the last 40- years with honor and dignity. We want our department to take care of our salaries. The decision was aimed to humiliate us.” “We have worked for the State, but it is unfortunate that we are being neglected by the government now.” The protest rally was addressed by Haneefa, Lateefa, Misra, Mubeena, Hajira, Zona, Haleema, Daisy and Meema, Aganwadi leaders.

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PDP holds crucial meeting of its south Kashmir leadership

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Jul 17: A high level meeting of the People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) leadership from south Kashmir was held at the party head office here in which various crucial issues confronting the state at present was discussed in detail.

Chaired by Party Vice President Abdul Rahman Veeri, the meeting deliberated over various measures that the party has taken in the recent past to widen its reach and make masses aware about its agenda and mission.

Veeri in his address stressed upon the leadership to hold constant contact with the general public and highlight the issues they face on day to day basis and seek their resolution on priority from the concerned quarters.

 

Veeri expressed full confidence that the PDP will bounce back in a revitalised form on the state’s political scene and that the party will continue to push for peace with dignity which is the focal point of its agenda. He said that the workers are committed to the agenda of the party and the vision provided by its founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who founded the party in the very trying circumstances.

PDP General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura while addressing the meeting stated that the party will continue to pursue it till durable peace is restored and that will never barter interests of the state against petty political gains.

Veteran PDP leader, Mohammad Sartaj Madni in his address stated that the need of the hour is that the party leadership, functionaries, activists and supporters must work in close coordination and make sustainable efforts in party’s overall growth and impressive performance in the coming time.

The participants of the meeting expressed full confidence in the leadership of the PDP President Mehbooba Mufti, resolving in unison to support her each and every endeavour aimed at getting the people out of the cycle of uncertainty and lead the state towards a prosperous future.

Other senior PDP leaders who attended the meet include Dr Mehboob Beg, PDP’s Srinagar District President Mohammad Khurshid Alam, former legislator and state secretary Noor Mohammad Sheikh, Abdul Ghaffar Sofi, Abdul Rahim Rather, Zahoor Ahmad Mir, Mohammad Yousuf Bhat, Abdul Majeed Padder, Aijaz Ahmad Mir, Zaffar A Manhas, Mushtaq Ahmad Shah, Syed Farooq Andrabi, Syed Javaid Advocate, Gulzar Ahmad, Abdul Razaq and Ghulam Mohi-ud-din Sheikh.

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