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Panchayat Polls: Polling for phase IV today

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Jammu, Nov 26: Polling for Phase-IV of Panchayat Polls-2018 will be held on Tuesday at 2618 polling stations across the state including 639 in Kashmir division and 1979 in Jammu division.

According to the Chief Electoral Officer, J&K, Shaleen Kabra, 777 polling stations have been categorized as hypersensitive in Phase-IV including 571 in Kashmir division and 206 in Jammu division.

He said 5470 candidates are in fray for 339 Sarpanch and 1749 Panch seats in Phase-IV, while 99 Sarpanchs and 969 Panchs have been elected unopposed in this Phase.

 

He said in the areas going to polls in Phase-IV, electorate of 472160 will be voting for Sarpanch constituencies while 332502 will be voting for Panch constituencies. “Photo Voter Slips have been distributed among the voters to inform them of their polling station,” he said.

Kabra said in the Phase-I of Panchayat Polls held on 17 November 2018, 74.1% polling was recorded across J&K including 64.5% in Kashmir division and 79.4% in Jammu division. In the Phase-II of Panchayat Polls held on 20 November 2018, overall 71.1% polling was witnessed across the State with an overwhelming 80.4% polling in Jammu division and 52.2% in Kashmir division.

He said in Phase-III, the State witnessed a polling percentage of 75.2% which includes 55.7% in Kashmir division and 83.0% in Jammu division. Results have been announced for all these by the respective Returning Officers except some of the constituencies of Block Mugal Maidan, Kishtwar due to the re-poll ordered at Panch Constituency-01 Hirkhani of Panchayat HalqaDrubeel and Sarpanch Constituency of Panchayat HalqaRahalthal. The re-poll shall be held alongwith the 4th phase.

Kabra said the orders have been passed in various complaint cases as well as directions of the Courts and wherever necessary Notifications reappointing the election schedules have been issued. “All such orders/notifications are available at website of CEO J&K,” he said.

Kabra said Basic Minimum Facilities (BMF) have been ensured in all the polling stations across the State for Phase-III.  Photo Voter Slips have been distributed among the voters to inform them of their polling stations.

He said senior government officers have been appointed as General Observers to oversee the smooth, fair and orderly conduct of Panchayat Elections, 2018. Also, Expenditure Observers are keeping a watch on the expenditure by the candidates. In addition, for the poll day, Micro Observers have been placed in polling stations, particularly those considered hypersensitive. Besides, the Zonal and Sector Magistrates too have been deployed.

CEO said Control Rooms have been established in all the districts across the State to respond promptly to any complaints of violation of the Model Code of Conduct as also to disseminate information to the public. Security arrangements have been made including deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).

He said the Government has declared holiday on the day of poll in the panchayat areas going to polls so as to enable the voters to cast their vote. He said special casual leave shall also be granted to the employees who have to go to other areas to exercise their right to franchise. As per standing guidelines, the Central Government offices shall not be closed but the employees who are electors of the poll going wards and desire to exercise their franchise shall be offered reasonable facility to do so.

The Chief Electoral Officer, J&K appealed the voters to come forward and exercise their right to franchise in order to choose their local self-government to address their local needs.

 

Joint Hurriyat for shutdown in poll-bound areas

Srinagar, Nov 26: Joint Hurriyat leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin asked people to observe a complete protest shutdown on Tuesday in Mawer, Qalamabad, Bandipora, Bijhama, Wailoo, Singhpora, Beerwah, Waterhail Pulwama, Aripal, Shopian, Kund, Achabal, Qazigund, Veisu, Shangus, Chittergul areas, which are going to polls in the fourth phase of Panchayat elections.

The leadership asked the people to demonstrate their total rejection and disregard the “futile exercise” by staying away and boycotting it completely.


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Disputes, lack of funds keep grid stations projects in limbo

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, May 18: Lack of funds and land disputes over towers have been delaying the completion of several grid stations in Kashmir.
There are several grid stations over which works have been started years ago. However, they are facing inordinate delay due to non-completion of construction of transmission towers, and laying of transmission lines.
One such project is Alastang grid station in Ganderbal district, on which work was started nine years ago.
“Although the work on Alastang grid station has been completed, the authorities have failed to resolve the land dispute for setting up towers over the years and connect Alastang with Zainakote grid. Presently this grid station is non-operational,” an official said.
He added that there is an immense load on Pampore and Zainakote power grids from where electricity is being supplied to Srinagar, Ganderbal, and Pulwama districts.
“Ganderbal gets electricity from Zainakote grid station and mostly remains overloaded,” the official said.
“Had the Alastang grid station been completed, it would have reduced the load on two existing power grids and helped the state to upgrade the power supply in the valley,” he added.
Similarly, an official document reveals that construction of grid station at Ahmedpora in Magam too has been put on hold.
“The work will be started as soon as the funds are released,” the document reads.
Completion of other grid stations at Lassipora Pulwama is also facing delay due to lack of funds or government’s failure in resolving the land disputes over towers.
The official said that existing transformers and power lines are also in bad shape. “There are technical snags in electricity due to poor power infrastructure,” the official added.
In a recent meeting, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan directed for effective monitoring of ongoing works on grid stations and strict adherence to the design, drawing and specifications, and use of quality material for creation of durable assets. He has directed the concerned authorities to submit a proposal for arrangements of funds.
“Chief Engineer System and Operations PDD has been directed to pursue the matter with the concerned authorities for release of funds,” a source privy to the meeting said.

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Offices of 12 militant organisations operating from PaK sealed, funding stopped

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Srinagar, May 18: The offices of the 12 Kashmiri militant organizations operating from the Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PaK) have been sealed, reported the newspaper Independent Urdu.
The newspaper reported that offices of all 12 organizations affiliated with the United Jihad Council were sealed, while as, the amount of office expenditure in these organizations has also been completely stopped.
Independent Urdu reported that the action has come in the backdrop of mounting pressure by the Financial Action Task Force or FATF.
This is the first time in last 32 years of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir that Pakistan has sealed the offices and also stopped financial assistance.
Recently, Pakistan took 44 members of proscribed organizations, including Mufti Abdul Raoof and Hamad Azhar — the former believed to be the brother of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) leader Masood Azhar and the latter his son — in preventive detention for investigation.

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Ronaldo donates $1.5 million to fasting Gazans: Report

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Srinagar, May 18: Cristiano Ronaldo has donated $1.5 million to feed people in the besieged Gaza Strip, Palestine, against the backdrop of the holy month of Ramadan, Sputnik News reported.
The Portuguese football star has never hid the fact that he is pro-Palestine, expressing his support for Palestinians several times in the past.
In 2012 the 28-year-old star gave away his Golden Boot Award to the Real Madrid foundation, which subsequently auctioned it off to raise money for building schools in Palestine.
In 2013, he refused to swipe t-shirts with an Israeli player in a display of support for Palestinian rights.
Although he did shake hands, he excused himself by explaining that he could not wear a shirt with that country’s flag, press reported.
The incident occurred at the end of the match between Portugal and Israel for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
A 5-year-old boy Ahmad Daubasha — sole survivor of a Palestinian family attacked by Israeli settlers, was received by Ronaldo in 2016 at the Real Madrid training center, where he photographed himself with the boy, giving him a specially-dedicated t-shirt. The Gaza Strip has been under Israeli land, air and sea blockade since June 2007, greatly impacting living standards, levels of unemployment and increasing poverty.
Palestinians have held weekly rallies along the Gaza border to protest the siege on the enclave and demand the right for refugees to return to their homes they fled during the 1948 creation of Israel.
Pro-Palestinian celebrities range from longtime activists to musicians to younger stars, calling for boycotts of artistic and scientific gatherings, divestment from Israeli businesses, etc.
The Portuguese star is known as one of the most involved in humanitarian work around the world.

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