Srinagar, Jan 01: Government of India has released Rs 23,275 crores out of the Rs 80,000-crore Prime Minister Development-Package (PMDP) announced for Jammu and Kashmir in November 2015.
Of it, the state government has, till November, spent Rs 19,887 crore, the official documents accessed by The Kashmir Monitor revealed.
A major chunk of the money, the documents say, has been spent by the state on upgrading the connectivity between Kashmir and Jammu.
Unlike other areas, projects approved by Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways have seen cent percent utilisation of the allotted funds, the documents show.
For instance, the 4-laning of Srinagar-Banihal, Qazigund-Banihal, Chenani-Nashri, and Jammu-Udhampur sections saw full expenditure of the released Rs 1774.72 crore, Rs 2151.60 crore, Rs 4700.47 crore, and Rs 2619.44 crore, respectively.
Similarly, on Udhampur-Ramban and Ramban-Banihal roads, the released Rs 598.61 crore and Rs 234.50 crore were spent entirely. The projects are undertaken by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
Interestingly, such speedy expenditure, the documents reveal, was not seen when it came to other intra-region connectivity projects largely undertaken by the state government.
As it stands, projects including Srinagar-Shopian-Qazigund (2-lane and bridges) and construction of semi ring roads in Srinagar and Jammu cities saw zero utilisation of the respective Rs 34.30 crore and Rs 4.14 crore released by the centre.
Similarly, when it comes to power, the J&K government did not utilise any of the Rs 654.70 crore released to the state under PMDP, even as the state, especially Kashmir, struggles to cope with the gap between the demand and supply of electricity.
The money, the documents say, should have been used for “augmentation of infrastructure for distribution systems including capital cities, tourist destinations” and was over and above the normal entitlement of J&K for other central schemes related to improving electricity.
Horticulture, among many other sectors, presented a similar picture as the state spent only Rs 46.86 crore of the released Rs 122.89 crore.
To mention, the state was supposed to add its 10 per cent share to the PM’s Development Package.
However, so far, the government has only released Rs 410 crores (20%) against the expected Rs 2,122 crore it was supposed to provide.
‘RTI shows Farooq applying for leaves from Parl’
Srinagar, Feb 21: A Right to Information request filed by India Today has led to replies by the Lok Sabha which point to the fact that MP Farooq Abdullah – who has been under detention since August 5, 2019 – has been applying for leaves from the Lower House in order to ostensibly remain arrested.
Abdullah, a former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir has been detained since the Centre announced its decision to read down Article 370 in Kashmir. On September 16, he was charged under the Public Safety Act, which allows for detention for up to two years without trial.
During this time, the Lok Sabha has been in session thrice. First, from June 17 to August 6. Then, from November 18 to December 13. And finally, from January 31 to February 11.
Naturally, Abdullah, who is placed under the most stringent of restrictions has not attending the second and third sessions and the final two days of the first sessions.
Rules dictate that members who do not sign the attendance register apply for leave. Which is exactly what the Lok Sabha secretariat claims Abdullah did – so that his arrest could seemingly continue. In a reply which chiefly redirects the journalist who requested for the information to the official Lok Sabha portal of www.loksabha.nic.in, the house also refused to furnish copies of Abdullah’s leave application.
As noted by India Today, the reason cited was: “Since the matter [his application for leave of absence] is under the consideration of the Committee on the Absence of Members from the Sittings of the House, the copy of his leave application cannot be provided to the applicant at this stage.”
The department also evaded the question as to whether the government has informed the Lower House about the reason behind Abdullah’s absence.
The India Today report also notes the news portal’s experience at the official website’s attendance page, to which it was directed by the RTI’s response.
As noted by India Today, the page merely attests to the fact that Abdullah has been ‘absent’ on days it is known he missed parliament on. For the second and third sessions of the 17th Lok Sabha, Abdullah’s attendance sheet says ‘no records found’.
For the first session, in which the Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganisation) Bill, 2019, was moved and passed, Abdullah’s attendance is noted for 27 of the 37 days the parliament was in session.
In addition, India Today notes that there were five MPs in the list of leave applicants whose request has been granted. “Farooq Abdullah’s name is not one of them. One of the names is that of Atul Kumar Singh alias Atul Rai who applied for leave because of his detention in jail,” the news portal says.
In response to their question on how long a member may remain absent from the house, the Lok Sabha secretariat cited the constitution to say:
“If for a period of sixty days a member of either House of Parliament is without permission of the House absent from all meetings thereof, the House may declare his seat vacant. Provided that in computing the said period of sixty days no account shall be taken of any period during which the House is prorogued or is adjourned for more than four consecutive days.”
Abdullah, meanwhile, was named member of the Standing Committee on Railways and Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Defence, in September, 2019. He was then, as he is now, under detention.
His prolonged absence from the parliament is often brought up by opposition during debates.
India’s Union home minister Amit Shah, when the Speaker had been asked as to where Abdullah was in August of 2019, had claimed that he had “neither been detained nor arrested”. He had said Abdullah was at his home by his own will.
Coronavirus scare:Ladakh police registers FIR
Srinagar, Feb 21: Police in Ladakh UT have registered an FIR against persons involved in leaking a letter of Medical Superintendent in which two patients with alleged coronavirus symptoms were discussed.
On Thursday, the letter addressed to CMO office Leh discussing two patients’ admission in ICU isolation and death of another patient who died of similar symptoms went viral on the internet in Kashmir.
The letter created panic and scare among the general public wary about the viral coronavirus that has taken the world, particularly China, by storm.
“Into this effect Case FIR No. 11/2020 U/S 505 (2), 188 IPC has been lodged in Police station Leh, Ladakh and the investigation has been set into motion,” said a police spokesperson.
He added that the search for the person/persons involved in leaking and circulating the letter on social media has been started and they will be brought to book.
“It is also to inform the general public that this police station has contacted the health department Leh from where it has been cleared and confirmed that there is no such Coronavirus like case in SNM Hospital till date, so there is no need to panic,” the spokesperson said.
Cyber Police registers case against online fraudsters for duping a Srinagar woman of Rs 22 lakhs
SRINAGAR: Cyber Police has registered a case against unidentified online fraudsters for extracting Rs 22 lakh from a 35 year old woman after declaring her winner for the lottery she never bought or played.
The case was registered after the woman reported the matter to Cyber Police Station Srinagar.
Police said the complainant had received an email/SMS informing her that she had won a lottery and the prize money will be transferred to her in foreign currency denominations.
Police said she was asked to pay for various charges like registration fee, processing fee, tax etc before the lottery prize money could be transferred .
Unmindful of fraud, the woman transferred of Rs 22 lakhs to various bank accounts. Later her efforts to contact the fraudsters failed as they had either deactivated their numbers or changed their mobiles.
Police said it was then the woman realized that she has been cheated by the online fraudsters and no lottery amount was going to come through. She accordingly approached the Cyber Police Station Kashmir Zone which registered a case under relevant sections of law .
Police later issued an advisory cautioning people against falling into the trap of online fraudsters .
“Victims of such online frauds usually receive emails, SMS and calls from unknown sources whereby they are informed that they have won a lottery worth millions. The victims are trapped in a phased manner and generally made to transfer huge amount on different pretexts ”, said a police spokesman.
Police said the victims generally respond to the spam and end up paying money to unknown persons. “Such crimes are generally carried out from faraway locations using different cyber masks”, he said.