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Post Snowfall: Parts of Kashmir still wait for basic govt support

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Nov 8: Five days after Kashmir received widespread snowfall, the people in parts of the valley say the administration is yet to restore basic amenities.
Kashmir was hit by snowfall on Saturday and Sunday, resulting in power breakdown.
Around 20 to 30 percent of the standing apple crop in orchards across the valley got damaged in the November snowfall happening after nine years.
However, many areas of Kashmir are still craving for basic facilities.
In south Kashmir’s Kokernag, the government has failed to restore the electricity.
“The electricity is yet to be restored in many parts of Kokernag. These areas have been reeling under darkness for the last six days,” Abdul Jabbar, a local said.
The MLA Kokenag, Abdul Rahim Rather, has expressed his concern over the delay caused in the restoration of electricity in his constituency.
He termed the assurances given by the government regarding the early restoration of electricity as “hollow and baseless”.
“People of my constituency have been suffering terribly due to the absence of electricity since the start of the recent bad weather and snowfall,” Rather said.
He further stressed upon the Governor administration to clear snow from Gowran to Madwa-Wadwan.
Shabir Ahmad, a resident of Kokernag, said the students preparing for different exams were not able to study in absence of the electricity. “We have been without electricity for the last many days. Many roads have not been cleared of the snow,” Shabir said.
Mohammad Usman, a resident of Langate, said they received electricity only for a few hours.
“The education of our children is suffering badly. We have to sit under candle light during evening hours,” he said.
State Congress chief G A Mir has urged upon the Governor administration to restore Lissar Power Grid Station due to snowfall. “It has left Kokernag, Veerinag and other adjoining areas without electricity,” Mir said.
Expressing serious concern over the problems confronting people in Veerinag, Kokernag and surrounding areas, Mir blamed that divisional administration for failing to make Lissar Grid Stations functional, saying that “few inches of snow have exposed the preparedness of the Govt”.
He urged upon the divisional administration to gear up, making Power Development Department accountable.
National Conference said that the assessment to ascertain the losses to farmers has not been commenced.
South Zone President Dr. Bahsir Ahmad Veeri said that the affected farmers have suffered immense losses due to the vagaries of weather.
“The marginalized farmers are at receiving end of all this. Most of the farmers had pinned their hopes on the annual produce to pay for their loans and other debts but the fury of nature left them wailing,” he said.
He said that electricity hasn’t been restored in many hamlets of the south Kashmir.
“The day-to-day working of the secondary and tertiary health care systems has been affected toting up the miseries of common people.”
Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan said he would look into these issues.
“People shall also approach the concerned authorities related to grievances and addressing of any problems,” Khan added.

‘Farmers call for an immediate assessment of losses’

Srinagar, Nov 8: Expressing concern over the losses caused to horticulture by snowfall across Kashmir Valley, a group of farmers from Pulwama district Thursday demanded immediate compensation to the affected orchardists.
“Thousands of fruit and other trees are reported to have suffered massive damages due to latest snowfall, witnessed throughout Kashmir valley. There should be immediate assessment of losses suffered by the farmers on account of this snowfall,” they demanded.
The farmers said that that thousands of apple trees have either been broken or uprooted due to snow. “The government must depute an expert team to assess the losses especially in South Kashmir which has been the worst hit,” they said and demanded early relief to the affected orchardists and farmers.
They said the farmers have since long been demanding for implementation of crop insurance scheme in Kashmir Valley to benefit the farmers’ community in the event of such natural calamities. “When you have crop insurance for Jammu why can’t it be implemented in Kashmir Valley,” they questioned.

 
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Metropolitan Project: Over 94 lakh kanals identified in JK

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Jul 18: Over 94 lakh kanals of land has been identified across Jammu and Kashmir for developing the state under the ambitious Metropolitan Region Development Authorities (MRDA) project.

Under the project, two Metropolitan Region Development Authorities will reduce the deficit on infrastructure – water supply, roads, sewage, drainage, light rails, e-buses and other amenities.

“The authorities will also develop satellite townships in Greater Jammu and Greater Srinagar. Million square feet IT parks will also be developed in these townships,” the document reads.

 

Governor Satya Pal Malik-led administration recently announced creation of Jammu Metropolitan Region Development Authority and Srinagar Metropolitan Region Development Authority — to provide an integrative framework for the purpose of planned development of these regions.

As per the details, the government has identified 94,22,465 kanals of land in 2559 villages of 14 districts in the state.

In Kashmir, 1452 villages comprising of 4989304 kanals of land would be covered under MRDA.

In Srinagar district, 124 villages comprising 514116 kanals of land would be covered. In Pulwama, 922715 kanals of land in 240 villages have been identified for implementation of project under MRDA.

Similarly, 331799, 1049195, 451400, 142461 kanals of land would be covered in Kulgam, Baramulla, Shopian, and Bandipora districts respectively.

Around 44,33,161 kanals of land would be covered in Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Reasi, Udhampur under MRDA.

The MRDAs, as per the document, have been selected on the principles of regional planning and development.

An official of Housing and Urban Development Department said a process has begun for acquisition of land for the project.

“All types of land are being covered under MRDAs. Besides government land, we have also identified private land which ought to be acquired. But some land owners are not willing to provide land saying that government is not paying them commensurate to market value,” the official said.

He said the land owners want promulgation of an ordinance to replace old law “which will enable them fair compensation during acquisition”.

Principal Secretary, Housing and Urban Development Department, Dheeraj Gupta said that all types of land were being covered under MRDAs. “We will acquire private land wherever needed,” Gupta added.

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India to Pak: Release, repatriate Jadhav immediately

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New Delhi, Jul 18: Describing the detention of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav in Pakistan as “illegal” and under “fabricated” charges, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar Thursday urged Islamabad to release and repatriate him immediately.

Making a statement in Rajya Sabha, he said the verdict of the International Court of Justice is not only a vindication for Jadhav but also for all those who believe in the rule of law.

The International Court of Justice on Wednesday ruled that Pakistan must review the death sentence for Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism”.

 

Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” after a closed trial in April 2017.

A bench led by President of the Court Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf ordered an “effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Mr Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav”.

The bench also ruled by 15 votes to 1 that Pakistan had violated India’s rights to consular visits after Jadhav’s arrest.

Pakistan “deprived the Republic of India of the right to communicate with and have access to Mr Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation”, the judges had said.

Pakistan was under the obligation to inform India about the arrest and detention of Jadhav under the Vienna Convention, Judge Yusuf had ruled.

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Jadhav guilty of crimes against people: Imran

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Islamabad, Jul 18: Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan Thursday said that he appreciated the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) decision to “not to acquit, release & return” Kulbhushan Jadhav, day after the world court in The Hague directed Pakistan to review the death penalty given to the former Indian Navy commander.

Holding Jadhav responsible for “crime against” Pakistani people, Khan said Pakistan will proceed per law.

“Appreciate ICJ’s decision not to acquit, release & return Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav to India. He is guilty of crimes against the people of Pakistan. Pakistan shall proceed further as per law,” Imran tweeted.

 

On Wednesday, the ICJ ordered Pakistan to make an “effective review and reconsideration” of the conviction and death sentence of Jadhav.

The world court also rejected all objections raised by Pakistan, granting consular access to Jadhav “without further delay”, in a verdict that was hailed in India as a “big victory” for the country. It agreed with India’s stand that Pakistan had violated the Vienna Convention by denying access.

In a reprieve for Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” after a closed trial in April 2017, a 16-member bench by a 15:1 vote continued the stay on the execution.

A Chinese judge was part of the majority verdict while the ad hoc judge from Pakistan on the bench headed by President of the Court Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf of Somalia gave a dissenting opinion.

Rejecting Pakistan’s objection to admissibility of the Indian application in the case, the court in its 42-page order held that “a continued stay of execution constitutes an indispensable condition for the effective review” of the sentence of Jadhav that had strained relations between the two neighbouring countries.

The bench, however, rejected some remedies sought by India, including annulment of the military court’s decision convicting Jadhav, his release and safe passage to India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the verdict, saying “truth and justice” have prevailed while Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj described it as a “big victory” for India.

Despite the order backing India, Pakistan claimed victory. The country’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi tweeted: “Jadhav shall remain in Pakistan. He shall be treated in accordance with the laws of Pakistan.” Jadhav was arrested in Balochistan on 3 March, 2016, by Pakistani security agencies and was convicted of being a spy. In April 2017, Pakistan had announced that Jadhav was given death sentence by a military court.

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