New Delhi, Dec 19: A delegation of 48 newly-elected sarpanches of panchayats from Jammu and Kashmir called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday and sought his assistance for the development of the state.
Led by chairman Shafiq Mir of All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference (AJKPC), an apex body of panchayat leaders of the state, the delegation thanked Prime Minister Modi and conveyed its appreciation to him for empowering the institutions of local self-governance through the successful and peaceful conduct of panchayat elections in the state.
Modi conveyed his best wishes to the newly-elected representatives and exhorted them to strive for the welfare and upliftment of people.
He said the government is committed to the empowerment of the people, and will stand shoulder to shoulder with the local government representatives for the welfare of the state, to fulfil the aspirations of the masses.
Modi assured them of the government’s full support for making the Panchayati Raj model a success, and responsive to the people’s basic necessities and grievances.“Empowerment of grassroots institutions is a significant step in taking Jammu and Kashmir away from the path of violence and secure the rights and development of the local populace, he said.
AJKPC chairman Mir said the people overwhelmingly participated in the elections which shows their strong belief in democracy.The state recorded an overall polling of 74 per cent in the nine phases of panchayat polls, according to election officials.
The polls passed off peacefully amid tight security with no untoward incident despite a boycott call given by separatists and the lurking threat of violence by militants.
Major regional parties, the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), did not participate in the polls.
Mir said that despite the PDP and the NC boycotting the elections, “an impressive 74 per cent voting was registered in the state which shows that the people have faith in democracy”.
Terming the peaceful and successful panchayat elections in the state as a victory of democracy, he said that they will not allow leaders to play politics on panchayats, saying that these are community institutions and not a political battleground.
He expressed gratitude to the people for taking part in the elections in a large number despite all odds.
“The politicians of the state should now understand one fact that people do not believe in their dirty politics. They want peace to return to the Valley,” he said.
“I urge people in the country not to see Kashmir from any isolated incident of violence or stone throwing. The people believe in peace and tranquillity,” he said.
Expressing sorrow over the killing of seven civilians in Pulwama recently, Mir said it was a very unfortunate incident which should not have happened.
He also urged people in the state not to visit an encounter site.”The majority of the people in the Valley want peaceful and dignified life. Some vested interests have exploited youngsters and are playing with their lives as well as future,” Mir said.
Seven civilians died last week when security forces opened fire at an unruly mob that thronged the site of an encounter in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district in which three terrorists and an army man were killed.
Asked about some elected representatives living in hotels in Kashmir, the AJKPC chairman said majority of the elected leaders are living in their village and home and some of them might be living in hotels.
Mir asked political parties in the state not to link the elections with any kind of political ideology and said that a panchayat is just a community institution and local governance body “which has nothing to do with politics”.
Entrepreneur duo comes up with ‘Fast Beetle’, valley’s ‘first’ logistics company
Srinagar, Jan 22: In the fast paced world, convenience and ease of access is a mantra that no business can afford to ignore.
In Kashmir too, the customer demands his pound of flesh and businesses have begun to cater to this aspect.
Enter ‘Fast Beetle’, a specialised delivery service that began operations last year and claims to be the first logistics company in the entire valley that provides end-to-end service to the entrepreneurs, specifically women.
Owned by two young entrepreneurs, Sami Ullah and Abid Rashid, the logistics company promises to take on the challenge of fulfilling the promise of timely delivery. They ensure that orders received from many valley based e-commerce websites reach the customer within a day.
After completing his MBA, Sami Ullah, 27, started working with a company called ‘Kashmir Box’. He came across many e-commerce website owners who were facing problems in the delivery of their products. This triggered the idea behind his startup.“What I observed was that the issue was mostly faced by female entrepreneurs. They find difficult to move out from their home every day. So I decided why not set up a delivery service,” recalls Sami Ullah.
Last year in September, Sami Ullah started working on the idea along with his friend Abid, who too has an MBA.
After two months of research, the duo gradually built their network with the local e-commerce websites, soon interacting with over 50 entrepreneurs, mostly women.
“In the first stage, we did the mapping of Instagram pages and accordingly approached them. We started off as delivery boys and would pick up the products ourselves,” recounts Sami Ullah.
The founders started the company with a moderate capital saved from their previous jobs and they worked on a minimum-profit basis.
However, their start-up didn’t progress the way they had planned. The challenges came as the business started to evolve.“As the customers multiplied, the phone calls about the delivery details increased too.
The clients would call us repeatedly to ensure if their product was delivered. The whole process became tedious,” says Sami Ullah.
The duo then developed a software that streamlined the order details including the delivery status.“When the entrepreneurs create an order, the company receives an e-mail automatically through the system. Our admin assigns the delivery boys and then forwards the details of the order. It provides an end to end protection to our clients,” explains Sami Ullah.
At present, the duo functions from a warehouse in Zaldagar area of old-city.
They have five people working for them.
The company receives over 50-60 orders on an average every day and has, so far, delivered over 4,000 orders.
They now earn double than what their jobs offered and are proud owners of five motorcycles used for the delivery purposes.“Most deliveries that we do are for cosmetics, medicines, clothes, shoes and other grocery items,” says Sami Ullah.
The company charges the client a commission on the total value of the order.
The company has extended its cash on delivery services in Anantnag, Sopore and Baramulla and plans to start a franchise model in every district in the future.
No public transport in late hours; authorities say electric buses in offing
Srinagar, Jan 22: Authorities have failed to provide inter and intra-district public transport service for the people of Kashmir, especially during the late afternoon and evening hours.
Each working day, commuters can be seen jostling for seats in private cabs here, a limited number of which ply to and fro the districts of Kashmir.
At Jehangir Chowk in Srinagar, people are seen anxiously waiting for a cab in late hours, knowing if they miss one, they may have to wait for hours for another.
A similar situation is also faced by the commuters on various city routes, who complain about the absence of passenger buses and cabs.
In addition to the hassle, the passengers pay a much higher fare than they would have had there been any government transport service available.
“After 5 pm, cabs running from Lal Chowk to Nishat are difficult to find and even after waiting for hours at Jehangir Chowk, we hardly find any transport in the evening,” said a resident of Nishat, who travels to the city-centre each day.
The problem, commuters say, aggravates in winters because of lesser daylight.“There is hardly any direct cab service between Lal Chowk and Soura. I travel by bus which moves very slowly, wasting a good hour and a half for the journey that can be completed within 30 minutes,” a resident from Soura said.
Principal Secretary Transport Department, Asgar Hassan Samoon said the government’s plan to run eco-friendly, battery-powered buses will be rolled out in Jammu and Kashmir soon.“It will take some time because we need to set up electric charge-stations. Till then, by the month of March, 50 to 70 city buses should be started (sic),” he said.
Asked about inter-district transport, Samoon said: “We will try to start night services and transport services for long routes as well.”
JK fully prepared for census of water bodies: Revenue Deptt
Jammu, Jan 22: Department of Revenue today said that Financial Commissioner (Revenue), who is also Census Commissioner, has initiated all the requisite measures for smooth conduct of 6th Minor Irrigation Census and first census of Water Bodies with the reference year 2017-18.
The census is being conducted in Jammu and Kashmir along with other States by the Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
For conducting the census efficiently, field functionaries of Revenue Department viz Tehsildars/ Naib-Tehsildars/ Girdawars/Patwaries/OQs have been imparted training at their respective District Headquarters in all Districts except Leh and Kargil by the Planning Cell in the Office of Financial Commissioner, Revenue.
The schedules along with Guidelines and Instruction Manual have been distributed among the Tehsils. Village directory required by the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India has been prepared and sent to the concerned.
“Deputy Commissioners have been authorized as per plan of activities approved by the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation to procure Mobile Devices for each Tehsil as required for capturing photographs of water bodies, a statement of the Department said.
“A mobile-friendly app/software would be made available by the concerned Ministry.”
All enumerators have been kept in the state of readiness for field operation which shall commence as per the time schedule to be circulated by the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India, the statement added.