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PDP’s U-turns, broken promises created disillusionment: Omar

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Srinagar, Jun 28: National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah on Thursday said that PDP’s consistent U-turns, broken promises and the summary betrayal of the 2014 mandate created widespread disillusionment and disenchantment in the Valley and led to an unprecedented deterioration of the situation as is being witnessed today.
Addressing a delegates’ convention for Chrar-e-Sharief Constituency at Budgam on Thursday, Omar said the people of the State witnessed destruction, disillusionment and alienation from the very day Prime Minister Modi and Late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed joined hands and formed an alliance that “ridiculed” the mandate and the aspirations of the people.
“The injustice, persecution and oppression that have been perpetuated against the people especially the youth for the past three and a half years has no parallel in the State’s history. The situation has deteriorated to the extent of hopelessness as our youth have been deceived for rank political opportunism. PDP sought votes in 2014 on a number of planks and promises – the foremost plank being that the party would keep BJP out of power in the State and safeguard the State’s political identity and interests. However, as soon as the election results were out, PDP embraced the BJP with the sole aim of coming to power. To safeguard the interests of the State, NC and Congress offered unconditional support to PDP and Late Mufti Sahab but sadly PDP chose to go ahead with its plan and allied with the BJP. We made it abundantly clear at that point of time that we would neither ask for any ministerial berths nor any perks of power and that our support was unconditional with the singular intention of safeguarding the State’s interests. Despite this offer, PDP aligned with the powers that have long been perceived to be behind the party’s inception”, the NC Vice President said.
“Then, after deceiving the people and the mandate of those who had voted for PDP, the party perpetuated yet another grand fraud with the people by making political, economic and governance related promises in the ‘Agenda of the Alliance’ – a document which was later unequivocally disowned and ridiculed by the BJP. Not a single promise made in the ‘Agenda of the Alliance’ was fulfilled as Union Ministers in the BJP-led Central Government openly ridiculed the document. Neither was a dialogue process initiated with Pakistan nor were talks started with the Hurriyat Conference. The promise of seeking and achieving the return of power projects was shot down publicly by the Union Power Minister – and our CM chose to remain silent and didn’t utter a single word in protest. The promise that AFSPA would be revoked from the State turned out to be a cruel joke with the youth as wave after wave of repression and persecution was unleashed by a deeply unpopular State Government” the NC Vice President added.
“The situation in the State has deteriorated to an extent where educated youth, professors and children of serving police personnel are choosing the path of the gun despite opportunities of employment and education that they have. This is a result of the PDP-BJP Government’s anti-youth policies and suppression of youth over the past three and a half years,” Omar added.
The NC Vice President said clandestine efforts were underway to further fragment the people of the State and weaken the State internally through such sinister ploys. “Unfortunately New Delhi remains invested in the approach of dividing and fragmenting the representation of the State. Such tactics will have a disastrous effect on the future of the State and will plunge the State into further chaos and turmoil. The people should beware of these machinations and resist all such covert attempts. Unity is the best response to thwart these games,” he said.


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JK’s liability swells

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Jan 17: Similar to previous years, Jammu and Kashmir has accrued a liability of over Rs 7,000 crore in the ongoing fiscal even as experts blame state’s political leadership for not finding a solution to the issue.

Official documents of the finance department reveal that the state is running a liability of Rs 7,531 crore so far this fiscal, a figure close to the annual build-up J&K witnesses every year.

The total liabilities for the state have now swelled up to over Rs 68,000 crore.“The three fiscal parameters–revenue deficit, fiscal deficit and outstanding liability–indicate the extent of overall fiscal balance in the finances of the state government during the specified period. The nature of deficit is an indicator of the prudence of budgetary policy of the state government. Another useful measure of the deficit-base in a state’s fiscal policy is the State’s Own Deficit (SOD),” the documents reveal.

 

Noted economist, Professor Nisar Ali said the state’s expenditure and revenue system has been “mismanaged”.“The power purchase has been an important factor for swelling liabilities. The GST has further increased the mismanagement between expenditure and tax revenue,” he said.

Prof Ali also blamed J&K’s political leadership for increasing liabilities.“The annual liabilities increase due to power purchases despite the state having huge hydro resources. The state’s leadership has failed to fight for the return of power projects.

“It also depends upon the government of India how it wants to find a solution to this problem,” he added.

Endorsing Prof Ali’s views, a senior official of the finance department said that little or no use of revenue generation avenues, increasing power purchases and bulging expenditure on salaries are the main contributors to the escalating liabilities of the state.“There is a steep rise in salary and pension bills, power deficit, rising interest liabilities, loan repayments, and deficit on account of non-tax revenue,” the official said.

 

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Conducive atmosphere inevitable for dialogue: Farooq

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Srinagar, Jan 17: Former Chief Minister and National Conference (NC) president, Dr Farooq Abdullah on Thursday said that the favourable atmosphere is inevitable for dialogue, which is the only way out to settle the issues.
Addressing party workers in Jammu, Dr Farooq said that the dialogue is the only way out to resolve the issues but there is a need of conducive atmosphere which is inevitable. He added that “under the shades of gun, no dialogue process is possible. We have to stop bullet culture for lasting peace in the region.”
“NC has also given priority to the people. When I became Chief Minister in 1996, I fought with many things as the school were shut, no bridge was there, no office was functioning as the people were frightened by the turmoil then, but I stood up to fight against the forces who were inimical to peace.”
About 35 percent reservation in other states, Dr Farooq said that the incumbent Chief Minister of Odissa, Naveen Patnayak has written to him, suggesting there should be reservation of 35 percentfor women in Jammu and Kashmir also. “We will implement the law, which will ensure 35 percent reservation to women in the State once getting into the power,” he said.
However, he said that it is not easy to take such decisions as when his government took a decision to make 50 percent reservation for girls in Medical College then some people knocked the door of Supreme Court to put halt over the decision.
Dr Farooq also appealed the party workers to work hard and ensure the win of NC leaders who will be contesting the elections.

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Abundant snowfall in January makes Gulmarg the perfect winter-destination for tourists

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Jan 17: Unlike last January, the abundant snowfall so far this month has attracted a lot of tourists to Gulmarg as the destination is brimming with over 90 per cent occupancy these days.

The valley has received at least four moderate to heavy snowfalls this year with an even stronger wet spell predicted from January 19 to 23.
Tourists from across the world are cherishing this and making their way to Gulmarg, whose slopes offer a perfect destination for skiing.

Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, CEO Gulmarg Development Authority, Syed Hanief Balkhi said that most of the hotels are fully occupied as people are heading to Gulmarg to enjoy the charismatic scenery offered by the snow-covered hills.“Gulmarg is under 4-5 feet snow and is looking like a playground these days. Tourists from India and abroad enjoy skiing, snow cycling, ice skating, snow-sculptor activity, sledge-racing and other games here,” he said.

 

Apart from the hoteliers, the rush of the tourists, Balkhi said, has provided good workdays for sledge keepers, skating guides, local cab drivers and many others associated with tourism.

In 2018, as per the official figures, Gulmarg received 5.76 lakh tourists as compared to 5.69 lakh in the preceding year.

The tourism players also expressed satisfaction over the rush of tourists heading to the valley.

President Hotel and Restaurant Owners Federation, Wahid Malik said that snowfalls have pushed up the number of tourists visiting the valley.
“Gulmarg saw lesser arrival when winters begun, however, now the snow has ensured all the hotels and resorts are booked,” he said adding that Gulmarg hotels are running on 90 per cent occupancy so far this season.

Gulmarg is declared the ‘heartland of winter sports in India’ by the Winter Games Federation. This year too, Gulmarg Tourism Authority is going to organise winter sports carnival starting from the first week of February.

Additional Director Tourism Department, Nasir Khan said that Gulmarg is “rocking these days as it has received 34,712 and 35,022 tourists in the month of November and December”.

“We are going to organize the winter carnival from the next month to make the place more attractive,” he said.

He added that night market and cultural shows will also be arranged by the department.

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