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Missing student’s family ‘receiving conflicting reports’

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Nov 1: The missing student’s family on Thursday said they were receiving conflicting information from the authorities about the location of the phone.

Ahtisham Bilal, a student of Sharda University in Greater Noida, went missing on October 28, weeks after being assaulted in a varsity clash.

His parents and family members staged a protest at Press Enclave here and appealed Governor, Satya Pal Malik, to help them in tracing their lone son.

On Wednesday, the UP police had claimed that the last phone call location of Ahtisham suggested his presence in Kashmir.

Ahtisham’s father, Bilal Ahmad Sofi, said the family members have already receiving numerous phone calls.

“We have received scores of calls from people telling about my son’s location. Some CID person said he was in Jammu while a few said Ahtisham moved to Poonch,” said Sofi. “I spoke to police, and they were unsure about my son’s location in Kashmir.”

The mysterious disappearance of Ahtisham has deteriorated the health of his mother, Irfana, who has been put on medicines.

“She has ceased to talk or neither does she eat food. Ahtisham is a hope for our entire family. It is hard to believe that he has disappeared,” a family member said.

“Ahtisham is lone boy in our entire family. If something untoward happens to him, we won’t be able to live. We appeal Governor, Omar Abdullah, and Mehbooba Mufti to help us in tracing our beloved son,” the family members said.

Meanwhile, former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have expressed concern over his disappearance.

Additional Director General of Police, Munir Ahmad Khan said, “We are verifying all things to know whether he is in Delhi or Kashmir. Thorough verification is being made, and all things will be clear soon.”


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Power-less winters have become production nightmare for industries

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Nov 17: The ritual power shortage in Kashmir during winters leaves the industry and overall business sector in distress, with their production reducing to half during the cold season.

With the onset of winter, the electric situation in Kashmir worsens, forcing many a people to protest against the government.

Industrial sector becomes the first causality of this situation, as most units are driven by electricity, particularly the plastic and oxygen generating firms.

President Federation Chamber of Industries of Kashmir (FCIK), Mukhtar Yusuf, said their losses often multiply during winters.

“Our production has directly gone down by nearly 50 per cent in the last two months. Goods and Service Tax and demonetisation already broke backbone of the industrial sector, now the constant power outage is further denting the sector,” he said.

Yusuf said the industries like plastic and medical oxygen generating units remain closed for the most part of the day.

“The schedule shall be like two hour power cut in morning and two in the evening. We desperately need smooth electricity during the day to meet the demand,” he added.

Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries President, Sheikh Ashiq, said the output of the industries, particularly in rural areas, have fallen immensely due to no power supply.

He said some of the economy-generating industries of the state remain almost defunct during the winters.

“Tourism industry equally faces the problems due to the lack of electricity. Nobody will love to visits a place which is plunged into darkness after dawn,” he said.

Ashiq said the traders have repeatedly sought the solution to frequent power outages.

“It has now become a norm. The winter actually means no power for the people of the valley,” he said.

The frequent power cuts are equally hitting the indigenous industries of Kashmir.

“We have a major chunk of artisans in downtown and rural areas, which currently face massive power cuts and curtailments. These artisans are not able work at home in the absence of electricity during evening hours,” Muhammad Sultan, an artisan from Khanyar, said.

 

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‘GLOBAL INVESTORS SUMMIT’: JK to hire ‘knowledge partner’ in identifying focus sectors

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Srinagar, Nov 17: Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam discussed modalities for the maiden ‘Global Investors Summit’ to be held in Jammu and Kashmir that will set the platform for businesses to make investments in a big way in the State.

On his arrival here on a three day visit on Friday, Chief Secretary chaired a meeting at the winter secretariat which was also attended by the Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce, Shailendra Kumar and other officers of the state administration to review preparedness for ‘Global Investors Summit’.

Chief Secretary said the State Government will hire a knowledge partner who will help in identifying the potential of focus sectors that will set the tone for the investor summit. “If a box of apples is sold for Rs 1500 in New Delhi, why should it sell for just Rs 300 in the Valley? We are determined to change this,” he said.

“There are unique challenges in Jammu and Kashmir but Governor’s Administration is determined to overcome them. We are in the process of creating an ecosystem to attract investment from national and international businesses that will open up new vistas of employment in the state,” Chief Secretary said.

Chief Secretary said Jammu and Kashmir has the best work force and talented youth available but due to the situational challenges, businesses have stayed away from making investments here.

“J&K doesn’t require factories for labour. We have the best work force across the country. Large scale investment in sectors such as biotech and horticulture can produce great results. It is with this idea that the government is going to organise a business summit,” he said.

Subrahmanyam said the state will not imitate such summits being held in other states of the country as Jammu and Kashmir offers unique opportunities, “If the summit works, a pattern will emerge that will set a benchmark for future investments. The idea behind the investor summit is to generate employment in a big way in J&K,” he said.

“There is a big Kashmiri Diaspora across the world. Our knowledge partner will help us in creating networks with them. Besides, we will tell the prominent business of the country that if they are doing so much for rest of the country, why not for J&K,” Chief Secretary maintained.

Consultants of Ernest and Young made a presentation in which they chalked out a detailed roadmap for organising the investors’ summit in Jammu and Kashmir. Reflecting on their experiences of having worked in Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand, they said such summits have exponentially increased investments in these states.

The consultants listed out key strategies including policy making, investor outreach, event planning and knowledge collaterals for organising the summit in Jammu and Kashmir.

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JK police deputes cops to TNC school for IED disposal training

Press Trust of India

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Jammu, Nov 17: The Jammu and Kashmir Police has deputed its 14 member team to Tamil Nadu Commando school to get training for disposal of IEDs, senior police officer said Saturday.

The four months training will conclude on December 8, he said.

The team of policemen, which have been sent for training, includes 2 head constables, 5 special grade constables and 7 constables, he said.

“Now IEDs are back in J-K. IEDs are the new threat. Last year there were very few IED incidents, but now they have reappeared,” Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Director General Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar had said earlier.

This year, there have already been 14 improvised explosive device (IED) incidents in Kashmir, besides seven instances wherein the devices were detected.

On January 6 this year, four policemen on patrol duty were killed in an IED blast by militants in a market in Sopore township, the first major IED attack in Kashmir since 2015.

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