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Petitions filed against highway ban; HC issues notice to Govt

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, Apr 8:Jammu and Kashmir High Court Monday issued a notice to the state government after several pleas were filed seeking striking down of the two-days-a-week ban on civilian traffic on the highway.

Two of the pleas were filed by bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal and Peoples Democratic Party leader Naeem Akhtar.

Akhtar filed a plea against the highway closure ban in the court through senior advocate and former Advocate General of the state, Jehangir Iqbal Ganai.
Faesal, who heads Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement, too filed a petition seeking revocation of the ban.

 

He, in the plea, has termed the ban as a violation of fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 19 and 21 of Indian constitution.   

Faesal’s PIL is argued by advocates Tasaduk Khuwaja and senior council of Supreme Court advocate Ehsan Javed.

Two more petitions against the ban were filed by Raja Faisal Zahoor and Shafqat Nazir.

 “The (Principal Secretary to government), Home Department, Civil Secretariat has issued an arbitrary and capricious order dated 03.04.2019 in terms whereof two dedicated days in a week viz. Wednesday and Sunday have been kept for movement of security forces’ convoys, when there would be no civilian traffic on highway from Baramulla through Srinagar, Qazigund, Jawahar Tunnel, Banihal to Ramban till Udhampur from 4.00 A.M. to 5.00 P.M,” Shafqat submits in the petition.

“The order is illegal and unconstitutional having been issued in violation of the rights guaranteed to the petitioner under Article 14, 19 and 21 of the constitution,” he said.

Shafqat said that under Section 144 CrPC, only an executive magistrate can place restrictions on the movement of people in urgent cases of apprehended danger etc.

“(Principal Secretary to government, Home) has no power or authority to pass an order placing restrictions over the movement of people. The impugned order deserves to be quashed,” he said.

Following the petitions, the division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Tashi Rabstan issued a notice to the state government through directed the Additional Advocate General of the state to come up with instructions by Tuesday.

The state government last week announced that the highway from Baramulla till Udhampur would be left open for convoy movement and no civilian traffic would be allowed to ply on it every Sunday and Wednesday until May 31.

On Sunday, the civilian traffic was not allowed to ply on the highway bringing immense inconvenience to the people.

The move has been widely criticized by political parties, civil society groups.

Although the authorities have claimed that it won’t be a blanket ban, the move is impacting an entire population living and working in south, central and north Kashmir.

There are at least two universities, 700 educational institutes and 90 crossing points located on the highway. 


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Treated worse than bonded laborers: No country for Safai Karamcharis

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Feb 19: It has been two months since Riyaz Ahmad, a sanitation worker at Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), has taken a day off. His work starts at the break of dawn when he holds long-handled broom to clean the streets.

 “I was directed to send my son, who is still studying, to work then I can take a day off to visit hospital. I was suffering from severe chest infection,” Ahmad said.

Another sanitation worker said he was instructed to take day off only if his wife would stand-in for him at his workplace. “We have to work in two shifts to clean Srinagar. If someone is sick, he cannot take a day off because there is dearth of sanitation workers in SMC,” he said.

 

The current manpower is not able to cater to whole Srinagar despite double shifts. Against the need of 7000 Safai Karamcharis, there are less than 3000 workers who have to cover 246 sq km area of Srinagar.

Chairman, Safai Karamchari Union, Ghulam Mohamad Solina said that they never stop cleaning city no matter what conditions they face.

“More than 40 years have passed since 1600 men were recruited as Safai Karamcharis’. At that time  city had 17 wards only. Around 1000 people have been taken as daily wagers in recent years. Now, Srinagar has extended to more than 35 wards but the manpower is same.   We need at least 7000 people to cover whole Srinagar,” he added. 

An official at SMC said Srinagar has expanded to 74 electoral wards, 35 administrative wards with population of more than 15 lakh and three lakh households.

The official noted that apart from human resource shortage, they don’t even have sanitation equipment and proper safety gear for Safai Karamcharis. “We only have 40% of transport available for carrying garbage,” he said.

Chief Sanitary Officer, SMC, Syed Nissar admitted that they need at least 6000 Safai Karamcharis to cover entire Srinagar.

“New rules have to be framed. According to 1970 rules only 500 budgetary posts are available. Recruitment of Safai Karamcharis is under consideration for which new rules are being framed,” he added.

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Hundreds of candidates singled out: Baramulla Medical College tweaks rules for nursing posts

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar:  Career of hundreds of trained nurses is at stake after Government Medical College, Baramulla, arbitrarily tweaked eligibility rules and sought applications from M.Sc (Nursing) pass-outs to fill up the vacancies of 10 staff nurses.

Under Indian Nursing Council (INC) rules, the eligibility for staff nurse is B.Sc in Nursing, while M.Sc is the preferred qualification for academic posts like tutor, assistant professor, associate professor and professor.

However, an advertisement by Government Medical College, Baramulla, has left out candidates with B.Sc nursing and diploma holders in nursing..

 

According to the advertisement, there are 10 vacancies for staff nurse with eligibility criteria as “MSc Nursing from recognized institute in relevant subject along with experience”.

Wasim Ahmad, a nursing graduate said eligibility criterion is clear violation of the norms set by the Indian Nursing Council.

“As per the rules, those with three-year and six-month diploma programme in General Nursing and Midwifery or GNM and B.Sc in Nursing are the ideal candidates for the job,” he said.

He noted that though the people with M.Sc degree can apply for it, singling out B.Sc and diploma holders is a sheer injustice with other candidates having lower qualification.  

Another female nursing graduate said this advertisement came as a jolt.

“I am desperately in need of a job. I have the basic qualification for the post, but they are taking candidates with M.Sc degree. This is totally unacceptable,” she said.

Principal, Government Medical College, Baramulla, Dr Abdul Hamid Kathoo said the advertised posts are temporary. “This is not a permanent post and is specifically a need-based appointment,” Dr Hamid said.

Medical Superintendent, District Hospital, Baramulla, Dr Syed Masood said the recently advertised posts are not for the “routine staff nurses”.

“The posts demand specialized nurses. This is the reason why we have created only 10 posts. Also, the candidates are nobody to determine the criterion of the particular post. The posts have been created after much deliberation,” Dr Masood said.

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All party meeting: NC, PDP, Cong say no to Panchayat polls till leaders are released

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Feb 18:  Efforts to convince political parties to participate in the Panchayat polls suffered a major setback on Tuesday when Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Conference (NC) and Congress reiterated their decision to stay away from the election citing prolonged detention of its leaders.

Chief Election Officer (CEO) Shailendra Kumar held an all party meeting on Tuesday to discuss the upcoming election for vacant Panchayat seats in the Union Territory.

However, the representatives of National Conference, Congress and PDP told the CEO to release the mainstream leaders in order to their participation in the election.

 

PDP’s Surinder Chaudhary, who was flanked by Narinder Singh Raina, walked out of the meeting claiming that they are not allowed to conduct political activities freely in J&K.

“I walked out of the meeting, when we realized that Chief Election Officer was bereft of any agenda. I clearly told him that the meeting was called very late as two phases of Panchayat elections were already over. We demanded release of our president,” he said.

Chaudhary said they told the CEO that democracy is nowhere seen on the ground in Jammu and Kashmir. “Our leaders are detained under Public Safety Act. Only BJP is being allowed to carry out activities while security and vehicles of rest of the political leaders have been withdrawn,” he said.

National conference leader Ratan Lal Gupta said the party is of the view that the situation is not conducive for holding elections. “The meeting should have been called much earlier to know the view of political parties about holding the polls,” Gupta said.

Congress vice-president Ghulam Nabi Monga, who was accompanied by Party Chief Spokesperson Ravinder Sharma, said they raised issues of freeing detained leaders and allowing parties to conduct political activities.

“We asked CEO to ensure releasing detained leaders, their free movement and lifting of restrictions on political leaders, if they want us to participate. Otherwise the government should defer or postpone elections,” Monga said.

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