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NC wants probe in utilization of funds for Jhelum dredging

Says PDP-BJP culpable for scams, mis-governance

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Anantnag, July 2: National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah Monday said the PDP-BJP led successive Governments were “culpable for massive scams and rampant mis-governance” over the past three and a half years besides pushing the state into an “abyss of political uncertainty and widespread disenchantment”.

Addressing the party’s south zone meeting at Dak Bunglow Anantnag on Monday, Omar said there should be an enquiry into the expenditure of funds that were meant for the dredging of Jehlum after the devastating floods of 2014.

The NC Vice President said that the mandate of 2014 was disrespected and violated when the PDP and BJP formed an alliance after seeking votes against each other during the election campaign. Omar Abdullah said the State’s political uncertainty and state of turmoil was a devastating result of an opportunistic alliance that was responsible for not only alienating the youth but also creating an unprecedented chasm between the three regions of the State.

 

“National Conference doesn’t believe in sacrificing its ideological basis for power and the party will not be a part of any attempts for government formation through rumoured permutations and combinations. We believe in respecting the mandate of the people and will not be a part of any attempts to ridicule and manipulate the aspirations of the people. It is for this precise reason that the party has sought the dissolution of the State Legislative Assembly. While we understand that the situation is not conducive for immediate elections in the State, we are of the firm believe that only a fresh democratic exercise can repose the faith of the people in the institutions and system of democracy in the State”, the National Conference Vice President added.

Addressing the meeting for South Zone which included an organizational review of Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian districts, the NC Vice President said there should be an investigation into the funds that were meant for the dredging of Jehlum in the aftermath of the devastating 2014 floods. “What happened to the money meant for dredging the Jehlum? When Mufti Sahab formed an alliance with the BJP in 2014 we were led to believe that one of the main reasons for this sell-out was to facilitate the flow of flood relief and rehabilitation funds to the State. What happened to the 90,000 crore package? Just a few days ago we witnessed how a moderate rainfall for two days brought us on the brink of deluge and destruction as our rivers and floods channels were not dredged and de-silted for the past three and a half years. Is there a massive scam here? The people deserve to know who is responsible and what happened to the funds. Similarly there were massive scams in various other departments where funds have virtually disappeared. Apart from pushing the State into the throes of turmoil and chaos, the PDP-BJP Alliance failed on every single basic front of governance as well”, the NC Vice President said while addressing the meeting.

The National Conference Vice President said while the fall of the PDP-BJP Government had brought some amount of respite to the people and reduced the public anguish and resentment to a certain extent, the situation in the State was still nowhere near what the PDP-BJP Government inherited in 2014. “The first and foremost concern is the restoration of the situation to what it was before 2014. We have to respect the aspirations and sentiments of the people – especially the youth and reach out to them through reconciliatory political initiatives. Neither the political issue, nor the present crisis can be resolved through military or operational means or mechanisms. While National Conference stands and advocates the restoration of Internal Autonomy as a solution to the issue, we should reach out to those who are angry and listen to them. We need to listen to our alienated youth and bring them on board to come out of this situation. We need to find out why highly educated and employed young men are choosing the path of militancy over the prospects of a normal, comfortable life. These are not ordinary trends and we need to find a way out for the sake of future generations”, the NC Vice President added.

The NC Vice President asked the party leaders to work with utmost unity and close collaboration to strengthen the organization at all levels. “Our workers form the backbone of our party and we have to ensure that our organizational structure and functioning is optimal to both strengthen the party and deliver on our promises to the people. We have to ensure that all attempts to weaken us are thwarted and that we deliver an alternative of hope and positivity to the people of the State”, the NC Vice President said.


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5 dead, as many missing as avalanche hits Khardung La pass

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Srinagar, Jan 18: Five persons were killed and five others missing after their truck came under an avalanche in the Khardung La area of the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday, officials said.

The avalanche hit the truck carrying 10 persons at the Khardung La pass in the Ladakh region at 7 am, an official of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) said.

The BRO pressed into service its men and machinery to rescue the passengers of the truck, who were believed to be trapped under the debris, he added.

 

The police, Army and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel had also reached the spot, the BRO official said.

“So far, the bodies of five persons have been recovered from the avalanche site, while a search is on for the other missing persons,” he added.

A bulldozer driver posted at the Khardung La Pass said two tippers and a Scorpio vehicle carrying about 12 persons left towards K-top area early morning to load snow to Leh.

“One tipper was already loaded with snow. However, the mishap occurred when they were loading another vehicle. Suddenly, an avalanche hit them and 10 people in a tipper were buried under the snow,” he said.

A senior police official said, “At least 10-12 people were trapped under the snow and a body of a local resident from Leh has been recovered from the area. Fresh snowfall took place in the area on Thursday and they had gone to collect snow in a vehicle.”

Rescue teams of police, Border Roads Organisation and Jammu and Kashmir Disaster Management Force reached the spot.

A high alert for avalanche was sounded on Thursday by the administration following adverse weather advisory by the Met department.

 

Guv expresses grief, announces Rs 5 lakh compensation

Jammu, Jan 18: Governor Satya Pal Malik has expressed grief over loss of precious lives due to snow avalanche at Khardung La in Leh district, Friday morning.

In his message, a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said, the Governor prayed for eternal peace to the departed souls and strength to the bereaved families in their hour of grief.

Governor has announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 5 lakh for the next of the kin of those killed in the avalanche.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and vice president Omar Abdullah too expressed deep sorrow over the loss of lives in the avalanche.

The party spokesman in a statement said that the duo has urged the administration to expedite the rescue operation and ensure all support to the families of the deceased.

Both Farooq and Omar urged the governor administration to gear up its men and machinery to meet any eventuality in wake of heavy snowfall as predicted by the local MeT officials.

Impressing upon the administration to ensure that people don’t have to suffer due to the vagaries of weather, the duo urged the administration to ensure all arterial and other routes are kept open to avoid any suffering to people.

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Kashmir braces for heavy snow spell from today

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Srinagar, Jan 18: As the meteorological department has predicted another spell of moderate to heavy snowfall in the Kashmir region from Saturday onwards, people in Kashmir are readying themselves by keeping ample stock of food and ensuring proper heating arrangements are put in place.

With the western disturbances likely to affect the region, the officials have also warned of disruption of road, rail and air traffic from Saturday afternoon.

“The western disturbances are most likely to affect the state and its adjoining areas from January 19 to 25, with the main activity between January 20 and 23 and gradual decrease thereafter,” Sonam Lotus, director Meteorological department said.

 

He said moderate to heavy snowfall and rain was expected at widespread places of the Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions.

“Some places may receive very heavy rain and snow during this period,” he said, adding that light snowfall would begin at a few places in Kashmir on Saturday morning and increase in intensity and distribution thereafter.

On Friday, Kargil recorded the night’s lowest temperature at minus 19.2 degrees Celsius while neighbouring Leh recorded a minimum temperature of minus 15.6, Met office said.

Drass town was the coldest in the Jammu and Kashmir at minus 27.1.

Srinagar, the summer capital of the state recorded a low of minus 0.7 while the mercury in Qazigund in south Kashmir settled at a low of minus 0.7 degrees Celsius.

Gulmarg, the famous skiing resort in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 10.0 degrees Celsius while night temperature in Pahalgam – the famous health resort settled at a low of minus 10.3 degrees.

Kokernag town recorded a low of minus 2.0 degrees Celsius while Kupwara town in north Kashmir registered a low of minus 2.8 degrees Celsius last night.

Jammu city recorded 5.3  degrees Celsius, Katra 6.3, Batote 2.5, Bannihal 0.7 and Bhaderwah minus 0.8 degree Celsius.

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Twin grenade attacks in city-centre, Shopian

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Srinagar, Jan 18: Less than 24 hours after the Rajbagh grenade attack, militants on Friday carried out two more grenade attacks on government forces in Kashmir, including one in the city-centre Lal Chowk here.

Militants lobbed a grenade at a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) bunker at Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) in Lal Chowk in the afternoon, a police official said.

The grenade exploded on the roadside, he said, adding that no one was hurt in the attack.

 

A private car parked on the roadside was partly damaged due to the explosion, the official said.

Window panes of a few shops on either side of the road were also damaged because of the blast.

This was the second such attack on government forces in Srinagar within 24 hours.

Earlier on Thursday, militants had hurled a grenade on police personnel at Zero Bridge here, resulting in injuries to three policemen.

In another incident on Friday, militants lobbed a grenade at a police camp in Gagran village of Shopian district of south Kashmir. However there was no report of loss of life or damage to property.

A police spokesperson came out with the following statement later in the day: Police had to attend two “terror” crime spots today following the reports of grenade attack by militants at Srinagar and Shopian. Officers from the local police units immediately reached to both the crime spot this (Friday) afternoon to initiate the investigation in the matter.

“While attending the crime spot, officers did not receive any report pertaining to the loss of life or property. Police has registered cases for both the incidents. Officers from the local police units are at work to establish the full circumstances which led to these incidents. If you have any information that can assist police in its investigation, you may kindly contact Police,” the spokesperson said.

The three attacks come days ahead of the Republic day and is likely to push government forces for taking even more stringent ‘security’ arrangements, especially in and around the city.

Later in the day, militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed the responsibility of the grenade attacks in Srinagar and Shopian.

A spokesperson of JeM Mohammad Hassan in a statement to news agency GNS claimed that three forces personnel were injured in the attack at City Centre Lal Chowk.

He also claimed that several forces personnel were critically injured in the attack at Gagran in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.

The Kashmir Monitor also received a phone call from one Hamza Rashid, who said he was the spokesperson of Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front, and claimed the responsibility of the Lal Chowk grenade attack.

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