Srinagar, Jun 19: Rafting in the gushing Lidder River in Pahalgam is proving to be a life-threatening sport for the adventure lovers as the safety rules are being thrown to winds with impunity.
On Tuesday, two persons including an employee of tourism department Rinku Raja and female participant Sanjna died when a boat carrying seven rafters capsized in Lidder.
Five others were also injured in the incident, which occurred nearly an hour after a rafting championship to commemorate slain tourist guide Rouf Ahmad Dar concluded. Dar had died last month while saving tourists, whom he had accompanied to raft in Lidder.
Director Tourism Department Nisar Ahmad Wani told The Kashmir Monitor that the rafters, which included his employee, left without permission from the authorities.
“They were supposedly to be well trained and experienced players. They perhaps wanted to gain more experience by training, which could have fetched them winner’s title in the championship. But the boat capsized and two of them died in hospital,” he said.
Asked whether any Standard Operation Procedures (SOP) or specific rules were in place for the rafters, he said, “All the SOPs are there for a particular period.”
“Even the boats used in the event had been taken out from the river. Still a rescue team including men from SDRF and police were stationed there and they saved them,” Wani said.
Director tourism said the department has ordered an inquiry into the incident. “I am sure nobody had given the permission. But still an enquiry will see whether anyone is guilty,” he said.
CEO of Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA) Dr Nasir Ahmad Lone said the water level in the river rises sharply after noon due to the melting of the glacier.
“Water volume increases with more speed. But you can’t figure out when this condition will happen. Still there are no hard and fast rules for rafting,” he said.
One of the participant in the event said majority of the participants had left the venue when the incident happened.
“The event was over by then. But it needs to be inquired why this incident happened,” he said on condition of anonymity.
“The availability of rescue rafts and team needs to be equally probed,” he added.
Rafting is one of the most popular adventure sports in Pahalgam. Gushing Lidder river, fed by the majestic Kolahoi glacier, provides an ideal setting for the rafting.
In this day and age! Five JK districts have NO blood banks
Srinagar, Jul 19: Five districts in Jammu and Kashmir do not have the facility of blood banks thus presenting the sorry state of basic health infrastructure in the state.
The information was Friday revealed by Union Minister of State for Health Ashwini Kumar Choubey in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.
The five districts – Bandipora, Ganderbal, Shopian, Samba, Reasi – share the poor record with 76 others in India.
As per Government of India policy, each district has to have at least one blood bank.
“Public Health, being a State subject, it is the primary responsibility of the State Government to ensure the establishment of Blood Banks as per their need,” the Minister said in his reply.
Lack of blood banks can be the deciding factor between a person’s life and death especially in J&K, which witnesses freak road accidents now and then killing more people in the state than the political conflict.
Such is the paucity of blood that the attendants of patients admitted at tertiary care hospitals in Srinagar have to, at times, resort to crowd-sourcing asking people to donate blood at the eleventh hour.
Like J&K, Meghalaya and Bihar too don’t have blood banks in at least five districts, followed by Telangana, Assam, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand respectively, wherein there are no blood banks in four districts each.
The northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh tops the list with 14 districts of not having blood banks. This was followed by Manipur wherein 12 districts, and Nagaland wherein nine districts do not have blood banks.
A total of 3,108 licensed blood banks are established in the country, with Maharashtra being on top with 333 blood banks, followed by Uttar Pradesh with 327 blood banks in the state.
In Gujarat, there are 153 blood banks and the national capital Delhi has 60 blood banks.
Cop guarding Mehbooba’s kin shot dead
Srinagar, Jul 19: Unidentified gunmen Friday afternoon shot dead a Personal Security Officer (PSO) of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader and Mehbooba Mufti’s cousin brother Sajad Mufti outside the shrine in Baba Mohalla area of Bijbehara in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
The slain cop was identified as Constable Farooq Ahmad of Dirpora Khiram. A police official said that he was attacked by militants at Ziyarat Baba Naseer-ud-din Gazi in Bijbehara during Friday prayers.
Farooq was standing guard outside the shrine when he was shot dead by the gunmen.
The former chief Minister’s cousin brother was offering prayers in Masjid at the shrine when his PSO was shot dead.
The cop was immediately rushed to the Sub District Hospital Bijbehara for treatment where doctors declared him dead on arrival.
Reports said the gunmen also decamped with the service rifle of Ahmad.
Meanwhile, police paid tributes to the slain cop and expressed solidarity with his bereaved family. “We stand by his family at this critical juncture,” Kashmir Zone Police said in a tweet.
The wreath laying ceremony for the slain cop was held at District police Line (DPL) Anantnag.
Police officers led by Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir, Swayam Prakash Pani laid floral wreaths on his mortal remains and paid tributes to the cop. (KNS)
Senior police officers including IGP Kashmir, SP Pani, DIG SKR, SSP Anantnag and other officers from CAPF laid floral wreaths on the mortal remains and paid rich tributes to the slain cop.
Farooq is survived by old aged father, brother, wife, 12 years old son Mohsin Farooq, seven year old Faisal and two year old Zaid Farooq.
“We pay our rich tributes to the martyr for his supreme sacrifice made in the line of duty. We stand by his family at this crucial juncture,” a police spokesperson said.
3 arrested for abusing minor girl inside Dal: Police
Srinagar, Jul 19: Police Friday said it has arrested three individuals involved in physically abusing a minor girl inside Dal Lake.
A police spokesperson said that police Station Nigeen received a complaint that a minor girl has been physically abused inside Dal Lake in Hazratbal area.
“Consequently Case FIR No. 65/2019 under relevant sections of law was registered in Police Station Nigeen and investigation was initiated,” the spokesperson said.
During the course of investigation, the spokesperson said, police arrested two persons identified as Tawheed Ahmad Mir son of Showkat Ahmad Mir and Ehsan-ul-haq son of Showkat Ahmad Yatoo both residents of Sadrabal.
However, the third accused managed to escape taking advantage of deep waters, police added.
“A special team under the supervision of SP Hazratbal arrested third person after strenuous efforts. He has been identified as Bilal Ahmad Dar alias Kila son of Ghulam Nabi Dar resident of Dargah. The prompt action of police and the arrest of all the three accused in the heinous crime within 24hrs was appreciated by the community members,” the spokesperson added.