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Pak approaches WB over India’s completing of Kishanganga hydropower project: Reports

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Islamabad:Pakistan has informed the World Bank about India’s completing of the Kishanganga hydropower project during the bank’s “pause” period and has urged it to “recognise its responsibility” under the Indus Waters Treaty, a media report said today. Pakistan has approached the World Bank, the mediator between the two countries of the water distribution treaty, in the past and raised issues over Kishanganga and Ratle projects in Jammu and Kashmir.

It has been flagging concern over designs of India’s five hydroelectricity projects – Pakal Dul (1000 MW), Ratle (850 MW), Kishanganga (330 MW), Miyar (120 MW) and Lower Kalnai (48 MW) – being built/planned in the Indus river basin, contending these violate the treaty. The power division of the energy ministry sent a fresh communique early this week to the bank’s vice president urging the international organisation to ensure that India abided by the provisions of the 1960 treaty while building the projects, a government official told Dawn newspaper.

The official said the letter had reached the bank’s head office in Washington and had been delivered to its vice president concerned as confirmed by Pakistan’s director to the bank, the report said. The official said there was no doubt that India had completed the Kishanganga project during the period the World Bank “paused” the process for constitution of a Court of Arbitration (COA) as requested by Pakistan in early 2016. The Pakistan’s request was countered by India by calling for a neutral expert. Pakistan had called for resolution of disputes over Kishanganga project on the Neelum river and Ratle hydropower project on the Chenab. Asked about the government’s next move, the official said the authorities could not just sit back and had to take the matter to its logical conclusion.

 

Pakistan had received reports in August last year that New Delhi had completed the Kishanganga project as per the design that had been objected by Islamabad, the report said. The letter was sent to the World Bank after a Pakistani delegation of the Indus Waters Commission was not allowed to visit various projects in India, including Kishanganga and Ratle schemes, it said. Pakistan has raised objections over the design of the hydel project in Jammu and Kashmir, saying it is not in line with the criteria laid down under the Indus Water Treaty between the two countries. India has, however, asserted the project design is “well within parameters” of the treaty and urged the bank to appoint a neutral expert.

In December 2016, the bank had announced that it had “paused” the process for either appointing a COA or a neutral expert and started mediation between the two countries on how to advance and develop consensus in the light of the treaty on the mechanism for resolution of faulty designs of the two projects. Since then, the bank has arranged two rounds of talks between the two sides but the Indians kept on building the project, the report alleged. The last round of bank-facilitated and secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan were held in Washington in September that ended in disappointment for Pakistan, it said.

 

In view of the inability of the parties to agree on whether a COA or a neutral expert is the way forward, the World Bank is reported to have called another round of discussions to minimise the differences but failed to bring New Delhi to the negotiating table. Under the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty, the waters of the eastern rivers — the Sutlej, Beas and Ravi — had been allocated to India and that of the western rivers — the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab — to Pakistan except for certain non-consumptive uses.


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Address reason forcing youth to take up arms: Mirwaiz to Guv

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Srinagar, Jan 18: On J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik’s statement that the government does not want to ‘kill militants but militancy’, Hurriyat (M) Chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Friday said if that was the case the Governor should address the cause that forces the young boys to take up the arms.

“If it is so and they (Governor’s administration) are sincere then the government should address the cause that is leading these educated and young boys to take to arms,” Mirwaiz said while addressing the Friday Congregation at Jama Masjid here.

Calling for a political process to resolve the issue, Mirwaiz said: “…start a political process in earnest to address the sentiment behind it and resolve the dispute. It will not only save the lives of our youth but soldiers also, end militarization and the resultant atrocities that governor sahab wants Joint Hurriyat leadership to convey to him, and end the uncertainty and hostility that the region is hostage to for past 71 years.”

 

Mirwaiz also reacted to the army’s statement terming 2018 as ‘remarkable year’ because of militant killings calling the same “extremely unfortunate and inhuman.”

Mirwaiz called it strange that a well-trained armed  force meant to fight another well trained armed force was “celebrating and patting its back on killing young men and boys, some as young as 14, while some budding intellectuals and academics, and calling it remarkable.”

“…army’s boasting of the killings of militants, who are not some hard core armed guerillas and terror mongers, but sentiment driven youth forced to take to arms as a consequence of severe repression due to forcible control,” said the Mirwaiz, according to a statement.

“It is simply the intensity of their passion that drives these young boys, who are poorly trained and starved of ammunition to be able to give a real fight, in this greatly unequal battle to an armed force of a country,” Mirwaiz said.

He said the pain and loss that all of Kashmir feels at the killings of militants only adds to people’s resolve and pushes more young to join in.

“Instead of admitting this, the armed force of a country that prides itself in the history of its freedom struggle by honoring the likes of Subhash Chander Bose who raised  Indian National Army to fight the British colonial rule , sells the killing of these armed youth as a great achievement to people of India,” he said.

The chief cleric said many in Indian army have in their write ups and lectures admitted that Jammu and Kashmir is a political problem that has to be resolved as such.

“Those who are using militarization to prolong the status quo should understand that it comes with a cost and keeps increasing complexities,” said the Mirwaiz, adding that the whole world has said that there can be no military solution to the dispute.

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Drug Abuse in Kashmir: Over 300 cases registered, 482 peddlers arrested in 2018

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, Jan 18: Kashmir has emerged as one of the major consumers of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances with police registering over 300 cases against drug peddlers in the region during 2018.

As per the official figures of the police department, at least 312 cases were registered against the drug peddlers in the valley during the year.

Police arrested 482 persons involved in these cases. In 221 cases, the charge sheets have been filed while 91 are still being investigated.

 

Of the cases, 123 have been registered in south Kashmir followed by 108 in north and 81 in Central parts of the valley.

Police have also seized a huge quantity of contraband substances including poppy straw, fukki, brown sugar, charas, heroin, ganja, bhung putri, and opium straw from various parts of Kashmir.

As per official data, the drugs seized include poppy straw (1734.7 kg), fukki (850.61 kg), brown sugar (6.88 kg) and charas (73.27 kg), apart from other seizures of opioids.

Another disturbing trend has been the increased use of narcotic drugs including heroin, sedatives and painkillers.

“Use of these substances increases the intensity of addiction and hastens the process of complete subjugation to the narcotic dependence,” a police official said, adding that heroin is often considered as a “status symbol” among the drug addicts.

Last year, the report by Narcotics Control Bureau of Union Ministry of Home Affairs’ said J&K was among the top states in India in the cultivation of illicit crops.

The former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti too had directed police to use Public Safety Act (PSA)–a law under which a person can be detained without trial for up to two years–against those involved in the cultivation and smuggling of drugs.

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RKFC vs Shillong Lajong FC: Snow Leopards aim repeating history

Firdous Hassan

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Shillong (Meghalaya), Jan 18: Real Kashmir FC head coach David Robertson Friday said the team’s five- day stay in Shillong has helped his players to prepare themselves “mentally as well as physically” for a “bigger” game against Shillong Lajong FC.

Before resuming their home leg, RKFC will Saturday face Shillong Lajong FC, which currently is rooted to the bottom with just four points from 12 games.

Last month, RKFC played dominating football against Shillong defeating it 6:1 at Srinagar’s Astro-Turf ground.

 

Coach Robertson, in a pre-match conference on Friday, said his players understood the technicalities of the venue, Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium, which is very similar to the visitor’s home turf.

“The Shillong playground is similar to that of Astro-Turf, which too has a synthetic turf.  Currently, there is good spirit within the team and players are ready for the match,” he said.

Coach Robertson said his team is confident enough for the upcoming match as all eight foreigner players are declared fit for the game.

“We are enjoying the season as we haven’t faced any defeat since March 2017 in away games. So, in tomorrow’s match, we are expecting some good results to get three points before our home matches resume,” he said.

The RKFC head coach said the pressure will be more on the host team but quickly added that Shillong Lajong’s ability to bounce back can’t be underestimated.

“It will be premature to predict about the upcoming game. There are chances that the game can be difficult for us but we have to continue our momentum to get good results tomorrow,” he said.

“There is great enthusiasm in my team and every game, irrespective of the team’s rank, is challenging for us,” Robertson added.

Shillong Lajong FC so far scored almost at a rate of a goal every match but has conceded at a rate of three goals a game, highlighting a rickety defensive line.

RKFC, on the other hand, is on an unbeaten run of eight games that has helped them accumulate 22 points after 12 rounds.

Shillong Lajong FC coach Alison Kharsyngtiew said the physical stature of RKFC players can give a tough competition to any team.

“Considering the physicality of the RKFC team, the game can be tough. But we are ready to give our best,” he said.

Asked about the reasons behind featuring at the bottom, he said his players are very young.

“This is the future of our national team and entire north-east. We have to guide them and encourage them to do better in future,” he said.

He said two of his players including defender Rakesh Pradhan and midfielder Hardy Nongbri are injured and won’t play the upcoming match.

 

 

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