Srinagar, Jul 5: Polythene continues to be transported and freely used in the valley despite an official ban on it.
In 2018, Jammu and Kashmir High Court had ordered a ban on use of polythene in J&K.
“Officials working for various municipal departments are responsible to ensure that the ban was effectively implemented. Any failure to do so would result in adequate punishment for the officers responsible,” read the HC order then.
The ban, however, is openly flouted day in a day out as the use of this environmentally hazardous product continues on a massive scale across the state.
From street vendors to large shops in Srinagar and other districts, almost everyone offers polythene bags to their customers for carrying groceries, vegetables, fruits, and other day-to-day products.
As the valley has no manufacturing unit, all the polythene here is being been transported from either Jammu or other states.
An official at State Pollution Control Board said large quantities of polythene bags are illegally transported into Kashmir by placing them in the middle of vegetable and other trucks coming into the region.
“It is difficult to track and spot polythene stuffed inside trucks,” the official said.
“Polythene bags will continue to flow illegally into the valley in one way or other until its manufacturing won’t be curbed completely,” said the official.
An official in the Excise department said that production of polythene has increased in Jammu since its value increased due to the ban.
Spokesperson of Excise Department told The Kashmir Monitor that there are anti-polythene check posts at Lakhanpur.
“But it is clandestinely bought to the state. We don’t have a scanner at the check post which can detect such materials at once,” he said.
“The state border is very porous. We cannot deny that some vehicles get in undetected. Otherwise, day in and day out, we are seizing polythene in tonnes,” the spokesperson said.
He added that 5000 trucks cross Lakhanpur daily.
“Nobody can have information about which truck is carrying it. It is not humanly possible for us to check every truck in absence of scanners,” he said.
Noted environment lawyer, Nadeem Qadri, said the court had sought an alternative to the plastic products and polythene bags.
“It took us three months to come up with the alternative. We have brought Jute bags and disposable items made up of plant leaves. The products are completely eco-friendly and 100% biodegradable,” Qadri said.
As per the figures of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, its anti polythene squad has seized 10.50 quintals of polythene from Srinagar markets from Jan 2018 till March 2019.
Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Shahid Iqbal Chaudhary said that the public has a bigger role to play in this case.
“We have seized tonnes of polythene so far this year but it will not stop just by seizure and fine. Public can play a major role until we come up with some alternative,” he said.
He said that the public has to discourage use of polythene on the ground level.
Joint efforts needed to tackle drug abuse: Advisor Sharma
Srinagar, July 23: Asking the officers to take effective measures to check substance abuse among youth, Advisor to Governor, K K Sharma today said that the menace of drug abuse is the emerging threat in our state and country as a whole, which if left unchecked will consume the future of our youth.
The Advisor was speaking at a meeting convened to discuss the steps being taken to address the grave concern of drug menace in the society.
Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education, Atul Dullo, IGP Crime Mukesh Singh, Medical Superintendent, Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences Dr Arshad and other senior officers were present in the meeting.
“The need of the hour calls for effective implementation of drug policy against the menace focusing mainly on three components: policing, de-addiction, and prevention. The situation should be immediately tackled with a strong response before it goes out of hand,” he said and called for a coordinated effort between various stakeholders especially the law enforcement agencies.
The Advisor stressed on the two-pronged strategy to deal with the drug menace- counselling of the youngsters and result-oriented action against drug peddlers and other people associated with the menace.
Highlighting the role of community leaders and parents, Sharma said that every issue has to be addressed with all seriousness jointly by various stakeholders that include the government as well. “But the greater responsibility lies on the shoulders of schools, parents and the community leaders so that the growth of the evil is nipped in the bud,” he said.
The Advisor also asked for creating awareness programmes for highlighting the health hazards of substance abuse and drug menace.
He said various government department should undertake a sustained camping which would create educate and inform the people about the ill-effects of drugs on society besides NDPS act.
The officers during the meeting informed the meeting about the various initiatives taken by the respective departments to curb the menace of drugs.
Later the Advisor met several deputations from different areas of the state who raised their issues related to respective areas.
Govt to ink MoU with UNDP for robust vaccine coverage across JK
Srinagar, July 23: Department of Health and Medical Education, is mulling to collaborate with UNDP for implementation of Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network Logistics system (eVIN) for robust vaccine coverage across the state.
In this regard, a marathon meeting was held under the chairmanship of Financial Commissioner, Health & Medical Education Department, Atal Dulloo here.
Commenting on the development, Atal Dulloo said that it is a major step for bringing positive changes on the ground in vaccine coverage. He said that for having effective immunization, government was taking several measures—hoping that collaboration with UNDP would help to bring some positive developments in vaccine coverage across the State.
The UNDP team made a brief presentation on the proposed activities and time line for eVIN roll out in Jammu & Kashmir.
The representatives further shared the number of Human Resources at state, divisional and district level—saying that the eVIN provides an integrated solution to address widespread inequities in vaccine coverage by supporting state governments in overcoming constraints of infrastructure, monitoring and management information systems and human resources, often resulting in overstocking and stock-outs of vaccines in storage centres.
Through the eVIN Project there will be tech-based capacity building and training of over 1400 Government Staff, distribution of approximately 700 mobiles phones and installation of approximately 800 remote temperature data loggers.
The meeting was informed that UNDP would support the project for two years until September 2021. The expenditure would be borne by the NHM following the conclusion of UNDP support from Oct 2021.
Pertinently, the Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network- eVIN is an innovative technological solution aimed at strengthening immunization supply chain systems in India. Implemented by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with support from the United Nations Development Programme, eVIN aims to support the Government of India’s Universal Immunization Programme by providing real-time information on vaccine stocks and flows, and storage temperatures across all cold chain points in Jammu and Kashmir.
It may be recalled here that under Global vaccination coverage – the proportion of the world’s children who receive recommended vaccines – has remained the same over the past few years. During 2018, about 86 per cent of infants worldwide (116.3 million infants) received 3 doses of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP3) vaccine, protecting them against infectious diseases that can cause serious illness and disability or be fatal. By 2018, 129 countries had reached at least 90 per cent coverage of DTP3 vaccine.
Beginning in October 2015, eVIN has been successfully rolled out in 21 States and Union Territories in India covering over 20,000 health facility. The mobile- and web-based application is supporting efficient vaccine logistics management at over 20,000 cold chain points in the country.
The meeting was attended by Bhupendra Kumar, Mission Director, NHM, Dr Arun Sharma, Director Family Welfare, MCH & Immunization, Dr Qazi Haroon, SEPIO, and Dr Shachi Adyanthaya, National Programme Manager-Systems Strengthening, UNDP India Country Office.
Market JK’s Agri produce as ‘State Brand’: Adv Khan to officers
Srinagar, July 23: Advisor to Governor Farooq Ahmad Khan today impressed upon the Agriculture Department to market the Jammu and Kashmir’s agricultural products with proper tag of the State.
The Advisor asked the officials to give fillip to the organic farming by specifying areas for its implementation in the state. He was speaking in a meeting held to review the agricultural scenario in the state.
Secretary, Agriculture Manzoor Ahmad Lone, Director Agriculture Kashmir Altaf Aijaz Andrabi, Director Agriculture Jammu PS Rathore, Director Sericulture Riyaz Ahmad Wani, Director Command Area Development Kashmir Mohammad Haroon Malik, MD Agro RK Rakhwal, Director Rakhs and Farms, Chief Agricultural Officers of Kashmir Division and other senior officials of the concerned departments attended the meeting.
The Advisor impressed upon the officials to certify popular cash crops of the state under the brand name of the State. He enjoined upon the officials that the Unique Selling Point (USP) of the products belonging to the state needs to be properly highlighted. He suggested them to attach descriptions about the uses and benefits of each such product for the benefit of the users, adding such steps would help in their value addition.
Khan called for including the real stakeholders in orientation programmes who have to apply the knowledge in the field. He urged them to transfer the latest technology to them so that their earnings get enhanced. He encouraged the officials to update their knowledge and skills by keeping themselves abreast with latest research and techniques. He advised for making the farming highly remunerative and respectable to lure the youth towards it.
The Advisor directed the department to strengthen the quality control mechanism so that the menace of spurious fertilizers and pesticides is rooted out. He asked for the quality check of these chemicals randomly and regularly. He also suggested specifying areas for organic farming in all the three Divisions and use relevant practices by consulting scientists from regional universities and experts.
The Secretary, Agriculture informed the meeting that Agriculture Department is an interventionist department and it orients people towards adopting better practices. He said that state is making all out efforts in doubling income of farmers by implementing different state and centrally sponsored schemes here. He informed the meeting that price intervention and supply of quality inputs in agriculture is proving beneficial for meeting the objective.
During the meet, the Advisor was informed that state has made strides in the agriculture sector from the past several decades. The average yield of crops has increased from around seven quintal per hectare in 1950 to 36 quintals per hectare. He was apprised that the net cultivated area of the state is around 7.52 lakh hectare with 3.48 lakh hectares of net irrigated area benefitting some 11.93 lakh families, the meeting was informed.
All the heads of the departments presented their achievements and proposals before the Advisor. The Advisor gave his suggestions to be inculcated in the future plans. He instructed them to make their knowledge available to the end beneficiaries for its proper utilization.
Meanwhile, the Advisor also inaugurated the training program on “Inspection, Sampling and Prosecution Procedures Under Insecticides Act, 1968 (ISPP)” organised by Directorate of Agriculture Kashmir in collaboration with National Institute of Plant Health Management, (NIPHM) Hyderabad. Later, he also inspected the outlet of Agro showroom in the premises. He advised them to tap the tourism potential of the state in marketing their products, besides opening of more such outlets at the places where there is maximum footfall in the state.