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Officials responsible for fund lapse may face action

Mudassir Kuloo

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By Mudassir Kuloo

Srinagar, March 22: In a move for timely utilization of funds, officials have been warned of action if funds released for development works were allowed to lapse.
Funds, amounting to crores of rupees, get lapsed annually in the state due to non-utilisation of funds in a scheduled time.
Now the departmental heads have been directed for timely utilisation of funds and asked to fix the responsibility if funds were allowed to lapse.
“Directions have been passed to departments to ensure timely utilisation of funds as less developmental works take place in last quarter of the year due to non-utilization of funds and many remain unutilised,” an official of the Finance Department said.
The Rural Development Department has cautioned the officials against slackness and urged them to use the funds released early.
The RDD has directed assistant commissioners development, block development officers that the works authorised taken up during 2017-2018 and for which the funds stand released are lapsable shall be utilised by March 31.
“The executing agencies are directed that all these works are both physically and financially completed in all aspects without creating any liability and spilling over the same for the next financial year as no funds shall be provided during next financial year 2018-2019 for any specified over work,” a circular said, issued by the RDD Kashmir to officials last week.
“Any laxity in this behalf shall be personal responsibility of the concerned implementing agency, which shall be noted forthwith for strict compliance,” it reads.
The departments have also been told that developmental works should be started with proper approval from Planning and Finance Department to know the source of funds.
“The concerned officials will be held responsible if these works get affected for want of funding,” an official of the General Administration Department said.
The official said that bureaucrats have been told to make proper guidance to legislators about the source of funds for developmental works.
The departments have also been directed to submit monthly progress report. Government has failed to evaluate performance of their departments on the basis of timeline completion of targets, outcomes of the schemes, priorities fixed, quality of work done, and status of benefits of projects.
This is because departments are not submitting their performance report to the government.
“Most of the officials are hiding the performance details about their departments,” the official added.

 
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Top militant ‘commander’ Zakir Musa killed in Tral

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Srinagar, May 23:  Kashmir Valley’s most wanted militant ‘commander’, Zakir Musa, who headed the Al Qaeda affiliate Ansar Gazwatul Hind (AGH), was killed on Thursday by government forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

Informed sources said the forces started a cordon and search operation in Dadsara village of Tral area following information about the presence of two militants there.

“The trapped militants were persuaded to surrender. Instead they hurled grenades and started a gunfight, triggering an encounter,” a source said.

 

One of the dead was identified as Zakir Musa.

As the news about the killing of top militant, widespread protests were being witnessed in different parts of the valley in reaction to the killing.

Zakir Musa, a close associate of Burhan Wani who was killed in 2017, was a militant of Hizbul Mujahideen who succeeded Burhan and later headed the Al Qaeda affiliate. He had taken to militancy in 2013.

Zakir Rashid Bhat, his real name, was an engineering student in Chandigarh who abandoned education and joined militancy.

He was born in Noorpora village of Tral area. His father, Abdul Rashid Bhat, is a senior engineer working for the Jammu and Kashmir government.

After Burhan Wani’s death, Zakir Musa threatened to behead Kashmiri separatist leaders of the Hurriyat Conference for calling Kashmir a political dispute instead of a religious struggle to establish an Islamic state.

Authorities have suspended mobile Internet services across Kashmir valley as a precautionary measure.

Authorities have ordered closure of all schools and colleges in the Kashmir Valley on Friday.

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Hope Modi thinks positive for Kashmir: Omar

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, May 23: National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah Thursday congratulated Narendra Modi for being reelected as Prime Minister of the country and hoped that Modi will soften his stand on Kashmir and start dialogue with Pakistan.

Omar appealed Modi to change his style of work in the new government and take all the people of the country along.

“Country has reelected Narendra Modi again as Prime Minister despite opposition parties having tried hard during elections to defeat BJP and NDA. We also tried hard in Kashmir and won three seats. We would have won the Ladakh seat also but Congress conspired and helped BJP win the seat,” Omar said in a presser after NC’s grand show in Kashmir.

 

Omar said that Kashmiri people have suffered a lot during the five year rule of BJP, but hoped that Modi will soften his stand and start taking measures which will help give the people of Kashmir relief.

“Jammu and Kashmir people have hopes that Modi will think positive for Kashmir and start dialogue with Pakistan and take internal measures which will give relief to people here,” he said.

“Strict policy was used against Kashmiris in the last five years. We hope the new government will ease out the strict policy. We hope the border trade is resumed,” he said.

Omar blamed the Congress for hatching a conspiracy and fielding two candidates (one of them proxy) in the Ladakh constituency which led to the vote division.

 “Had Congress not conspired, the BJP would have lost Ladakh seat. Congress by fielding two candidates betrayed the people of Kargil. And people should seek answers from the party,” he said.

Claiming that nothing is going to change under BJP’s rule in next five years, Omar said the people of J&K want that the Centre should initiate a dialogue with Pakistan.

“We saw the beginning yesterday as foreign ministers of both the countries stood with each other and talked. If steps like resuming border trade are taken, people will have a sigh of relief. I appeal BJP to lessen the hardships of people of Kashmir in its their five year long tenure,” he said.

Dismayed by the performance of the opposition in the elections, Omar said questioning Balakot air strikes and the Congress’ “chowkhidar chor hi” slogan might have cost them the polls.

“Post-Balakot opposition lost most of its steam. There are many issues we can discuss on. Whether ‘Chowkidar chor hai’ was the right slogan, whether it was right to focus on Rafale. Whether or not we presented rural distress, unemployment, economic slowdown properly. Should we have questioned Pulwama instead of Balakot. They say ‘Once the horse has bolted what’s the point of closing the stable door?’ If the horse comes in hand after 5 years, fine, else it will go ahead,” he said.

When asked whether BJP’s stand on special status of J&K helped them to get majority, Omar said, “We saw that their statements on Article 370 equally helped them. This danger should not be taken easy by us and we will have to fight with our full power to save the state’s special status,” he said.  The NC vice president said the party chose its candidates who can speak over issues confronting Kashmiris. “Akbar sahab sometimes utters something wrong but he is known for strongly taking up the issues of the people. We need such people in parliament. Masoodi sahab also has a good knowledge of Law and the judgment he passed on Article 35-A and Article 370 is still being quoted by people,” he said

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Glee and glum surround pol parties in Srinagar

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, May 23: The cheers of‘Farooq sahib Zindabad, Nara-e-takbeer Allahu Akbar’ Thursday reverberated the National Conference’s party headquarters here as Farooq Abdullah made way into the office.

He was showered with candies as workers struggled to shake hands with him, all trying their best to congratulate the 83-year-old patron for winning the Srinagar Parliamentary Elections.

The festivity was expected as Farooq recorded his fourth win in the Lok Sabha elections in his 42-year-long political career that began in 1980.

 

Thursday’s was a massive win for Farooq, who defeated PDP’s Aga Syed Mohsin by a huge margin of almost 70,000 votes.

While the male workers encircled Farooq and other party-leaders accompanying him, the female began singing Kashmiri songs praising the leader and announcing his success.

Farooq was accompanied by party vice-president Omar Abdullah, and senior leaders including Ali Sagar, Nasir Aslam Wani and Abdul Rahim Rather as they all made their way to begin the press conference announcing their win and the way forward.

Seeing their party winning all the three Lok Sabha seats from Kashmir, the workers had decorated the office and the alley leading to it with garlands and buntings carrying the party symbol.

A similar scene was witnessed at the BJP office here, whose leaders and workers went a bit too far in celebrating the party’s success across India.

While BJP had not made any mark in the Lok Sabha seats in Kashmir, its workers were ecstatic outside the party office in Jawahar Nagar here, jumping in joy, burning firecrackers (which as a matter of fact are banned in Srinagar) and offering sweets to each other.

Their ruckus bothered the passersby, who were annoyed of them blocking the road.

At PDP’s office, on the other hand, gloom permeated the air.

A handful of workers surrounded PDP leaders Khurshid Alam, Noor Mohammad and Muntazir Mohuiddin as they all were glued to the television set seeing their party’s downfall.

“It is a done deal. Farooq has won it in Srinagar and Anantnag too is out of our hands now,” one of the workers was seen telling others.

As the clock ticked and the PDP losses, especially in the Anantnag parliamentary seat became clear, the workers stood up in silence and left the place one by one.

The J&K Congress had kept their office in Srinagar closed. Its president GA Mir, who was all confident of a win in Anantnag, lost to NC’s Hasnain Masoodi with a margin of around 9800 votes.

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