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Online fund-raising is new saviour in Kashmir

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, Dec 12: From helping in fund raising for medical treatment or education, the valley-based online platforms are turning out to be the real friends of those in need.

The online crowd-funding for social causes is growing in the valley, aiming to raise money for the worthy causes.

One such initiative is ‘Pledge”, a platform to help the downtrodden, overlooked and victimised sections of society.

 

The giving platform recently helped a female hailing from Bandipora.

Her husband had a meager salary of Rs 4,000 per month and she required Rs 2.5 lakh for a heart dual valve replacement.

Similarly, the platform also intervened in case of a young female patient in SMHS whose family could hardly afford food and she had her daily medical expenses amounting to Rs 3,000.

One of the co-founders of the group, Khawar Khan Achakzai, recalls, “It was when we were campaigning in favour of an unfortunate minor who was raped and murdered that I met a few people who had a zeal for social activism. We somehow kept in touch, most of us. One of them once called me that they were organizing a health camp in a Leprosarium in Srinagar, an area which has been left in the dungeons of indifference and oblivion.”

This was the trigger for Khawar to become a social worker. At the camp, they finally came up with the idea of creating an open platform for social work.

“I was stunned at how interested the youth were ready to donate in their time, talents and money to help towards envisaging the downtrodden and poorer sections of the society, but what lacked was proper channelizing of the resources they had,” says Khawar, a doctor by profession.

The group currently has 30 professionals and students as volunteers or support persons.

The group members raise funds by writing a profile of the potential beneficiary and publicising it on their online pages.

Alternatively, those in need approach Pledge to promote their request through established social media networks.

A major challenge faced by the group is sustained support.“We raise funds for a particular case, but we need people helping us in the long run,” explains the 30-year-old doctor.

“There is a village languishing in abject poverty and unemployment. We are looking forward to intervene. We are also planning to help some psychiatric patients abandoned by their families, with medications and other stuff. For next year we have planned to highlight the growing incidence of sexual abuse among children in Kashmir,” informs Khawar.

Another anonymous group on social media recently helped raise Rs 84,000 in 72 hours for a person belonging to a poor family.

He needed money to clear the loan he had taken for his sister’s marriage. “The smile on his face after clearing the debts is expressible,” says the co-founder of the group, wishing anonymity.

“It would have taken him more than 5 years to achieve the target and with the grace of Almighty Allah and the esteemed donors we were able to do it in just 72 hours, hereby relieving him from immense trauma and struggle.”

Similarly, the online crowd-funding initiative raised money for a woman with two young children.

The female was abandoned by her husband and had no money to sustain on her own.“Today, she makes different products of yarn wool which are promoted on our social media pages. Those who want to place an order can do it through the platform,” says the founder.


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Lead Stories

3 militants killed in Budgam encounter

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Srinagar, Jan 21: Three militant of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit were killed in an encounter at Hapatnar woods in Charar-e-Shareef area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Monday.

News agency Global News Service quoted a senior police officer saying that a joint team of Army’s 53 RR, SOG and CRPF launched a cordon-and-search operation in forest area of Hapatnar early Monday morning following “credible inputs” about the presence of some militants.

As the joint team of forces intensified the combing operation, the militants hiding in the area opened fire triggering off a gunfight which continued intermittently till late in the evening.

 

During the course of gunfight, three militants belonged to Hizbul Mujahideen outfit were killed, the officer said.

The operation was prolonged due to the tough terrain amid inclement weather conditions, he added.”So far one body has been recovered along with arms and ammunition. The other two bodies which are lying inside the hideout are yet to be retrieved,” the officer said.

“The identity of the slain is being ascertained,” the officer said.

The officer said that the government forces have also blasted the hideout of the militants in the mountainous area, covered under plenty of snow.

Meanwhile, sources identified one among the slain Shahid Baba of Drabgam, Pulwama. (With inputs from GNS)

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Snow, rains persist: Land, air traffic disrupted

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Srinagar, Jan 21: Although not as severe as predicted, fresh snowfall and rains were Monday lashed Kashmir bringing some respite to the people from the cold wave.
The plains of Kashmir witnessed moderate rainfall from early hours of Monday, while there were reports of snowfall in higher reaches of the valley, officials said here.
The MeT Office has forecast widespread rain and snow over the state with heavy falls at isolated places till Tuesday.
Meanwhile, traffic on the 300-km long Srinagar-Jammu highway was halted because of heavy snowfall on the stretch.
“Today no movement of vehicular traffic on Jammu Srinagar NHW from Jammu towards Srinagar and vice versa as road blocked due to snow accumulation at Nowgam-Jawahar Tunnel-Qazigund Sector and still snowing,” J&K Traffic Police tweeted Monday morning.
Bad weather conditions also disrupted operations at the Srinagar International Airport here, leading to the cancellation of four flights, officials said.
“Due to the inclement weather, four of the 27 flights to and fro Srinagar were cancelled on Monday,” an official of the Airport Authority of India.
Another 11 flights got delayed due to poor visibility and intermittent rainfall since Monday morning, he said.
The minimum temperature in Srinagar on Sunday settled at minus 0.3 degree Celsius, same as previous night, a MET official said.
He said Qazigund, the gateway town to the valley, in south Kashmir recorded a low of 0.6 degree Celsius, while the nearby Kokernag town registered a low of minus 0.3 degrees Celsius Sunday night.
The mercury in Kupwara town in north Kashmir settled at a low of minus 0.6 degree Celsius. Gulmarg ski-resort in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 4 degrees Celsius Sunday night, while Pahalgam tourist resort, in south Kashmir, recorded a low of 0.2 degrees Celsius, the official said.
He said Leh, in the frontier Ladakh region, recorded a low of minus 5.6 degrees Celsius, while the mercury in Kargil registered a low of minus 14.0 degrees Celsius. Kargil was the coldest recorded place in Jammu and Kashmir, colder than even Drass town which recorded a low of minus 6.8 degrees Celsius.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai Kalan’, the 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are maximum and the temperature drops considerably.
‘Chillai Kalan’ ends on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir. The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day long ‘Chillai Bachha’ (baby cold).

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Lack of funds halts vital JK tourism projects

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Jan 21: The Governor-led administration is mulling to start new projects to boost tourism in Kashmir even as several old ones have been left midway due to want of funds.

In December last year, the administration ordered the constitution of an official panel for identification of new projects in tourism sector to be implemented under Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP).

Back in 2014, the Government of India, under Project/Infrastructure Development for Destination and Circuits (PIDDC), had sanctioned Rs 7593.88 lakh for development of basic tourism infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir through private investment, opening of new potential destinations and development of heritage, adventure, and pilgrim and eco-tourism.

 

However, the projects have been left incomplete as the Centre has, as per the latest official data, released only Rs 3504.80 lakh of the sanctioned amount against which the department shows 100 percent expenditure.

Now, due to the unavailability of funds, the PIDDC project is on standstill.

The project included development of Eidgah, face-lifting of Khankahi Moula, Development of Jamia Masjid Heritage Corridor, Renovation of Aali Masjid, Upgrading of Ziyarat Abdul Razaq Sahib at Hawal, Ziyarat Hazrat Balaad Rumi at Rajouri Kadal, Ziyarat Akhoon Sahib and TajBibi at Fateh Kadal, Ziyarat Hazrat Noor Shaha Sahib at Narwara, and Conservation of areas from Naagar Nagar to Watlab.

The tourist circuit from Naagar Nagar to Watlab, which was a key component of the project, still requires Rs 2312.90 lakh to be completed, official data shows.

Another main component of PIDDC project, construction of Trans Himalayan Culture Centre in Leh, too requires further Rs 1094.48 lakh for completion.

Similarly, development of Khiram Shrine in South Kashmir’s Bijbehara town also remains incomplete for want of funds.
Section Officer of Planning, Tourism Department, Sajad Ahmad, told The Kashmir Monitor that “65 per cent” of the work has been completed on Naagar Nagar to Watlab component of the project.

“We had to stop the work because the Centre did not release the funds,” he added.

Executive Engineer, JK Tourism, Abdul Qayoom Kirmani said they have asked the Government of India for the pending funds and also sent to them the proposal of the new projects.
“We have identified new Rs 100 crore new projects under PMDP-II, which comprises of nine circuits,” he said.

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