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Recover or be ready for closure, JK Cements told

Mudassir Kuloo





Srinagar, Dec 30: J&K Government has directed the authorities at JK Cements Limited (JKCL) to make a comprehensive plan for the company’s revival or be ready for its closure.

JKCL was set up three-decades-ago for producing quality cement at reasonable prices and generating revenue for the state.

However, it production, and along with it the revenue, has drastically slumped over the years.


Advisor to Governor, K K Sharma, recently held a meeting with the authorities of JKCL where he expressed concern over its heavy losses.

“Managing Director JKCL was directed to make a comprehensive plan for its revival or be ready for its closure,” a source privy to the meeting, told The Kashmir Monitor.

“The authorities were warned that if they failed to make it a profitable public sector undertaking then it has to be closed down as JKCL has become a burden on the state exchequer,” the source said.

JKCL is 100 percent state owned PSU, in which 98 percent of the shares are with the governor and 2 percent with commissioner secretary industries and commerce, who is the administrative head of the company.

According to JKCL accounts department figures, the company is facing a huge liability of over Rs 180 crores.

Here is the breakup of this huge liability: A pending term loan of Rs 46 cr, Rs 29 cr of pending bills of raw material suppliers, Rs 28 cr of pending sixth pay commission arrears, Rs 10 cr of pending salary of employees for four months, unpaid GST of Rs 30 crore, unpaid electricity dues of Rs 9 crore, CP fund of employees deducted from their salaries but not deposited amounting to Rs 20 cr, and retirement dues and gratuity of Rs 9 crore.

Managing Director, JKCL, Atul Sharma, said they have started a process to make a “comprehensive” plan for its revival.

“There will be Rs 100 crore project for revival of JKCL including upgradation of machinery and clearing part of the liabilities,” Sharma told The Kashmir Monitor.

“I have already submitted Rs 20 crore project to the government, while Rs 15 crore project is in the pipeline,” he said.

JKCL was incorporated as a fully owned government company in December, 1974 with the objective to exploit the abundant deposits, make the quality cement available to the consumers at reasonable rates, besides filling up the gap between demand and supply.

The cement plant of 600 tonnes per day capacity installed at Khrew is listed as heavy sector industry which started commercial production in April, 1982. The company is manufacturing OPC grade 43 and has obtained license for manufacturing Fly Ash based blended cement from Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

JKCL provides employment to a staff of more than 1000 semi-skilled, skilled, specialised and super specialised people, directly or indirectly.


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Two JeM militants killed in Shopian gunfight




Srinagar, Mar 22: Two Jaish militants, including a former SPO who had joined the outfit in 2018, were killed in an encounter in Ratnipora area of South Kashmir’s Shopian district on Friday.
Reports said that a joint team of army’s 34 RR, SOG and CRPF laid a cordon and search operation in Ratnipora village late last night.
Quoting a police officer, news agency GNS said that the CASO was launched following inputs about the presence of some militants.
“The joint team in the meantime fired some warning shots towards the suspected spot which was responded by militants and it was retaliated, triggering off a gunfight”.
“During the course of gunfight, two militants have been killed and their bodies along with two weapons were recovered from the site late this afternoon,” the officer said, adding that both the slain militants were affiliated with JeM outfit.
SSP Shopian Sandeep Choudhary identified the slain militants as Showkat Ahmad of Heramain and Yasir Ahmad Shah of Aarhama.
The SSP added that Showkat was an SPO-turned-militant and had joined the militant outfit last year.
Meanwhile, massive protest erupted near encounter site and its adjoining villages including Gadapora as protesters tried to march closer to the gunfight spot. The forces used pellets and tear smoke shells to disperse the protesting youth. The stone pelting clashes amid a shutdown was also received from neighbouring Pulwama district
At least fifteen youth were injured in the clashes near encounter site. Among the fifteen injured, ten of them were taken to district hospital Shopian for treatment. A policeman namely Tariq Ahmad also sustained serious head injuries after being hit by a stone during clashes in adjoining Ratnipora village of the district, the official sources said.
A doctor who operated upon them said that five youth suffered pellet injuries in their eyes while one of them had been shot in the neck.
“All the ten injured were later referred to different hospitals in Srinagar for advanced treatment,” he said.
Meanwhile, in wake of the gunfight, the internet services were suspended in Shopian for precautionary measures. (With inputs from GNS)

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Centre bans JKLF under ‘anti-terror’ law

Press Trust of India



New Delhi, Mar 22: The Yasin Malik-led Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) was banned by the Centre under ‘anti-terror’ law on Friday, officials said.
The outfit has been banned for alleged promotion of secessionist activities in Jammu and Kashmir, they said.
They said the organisation has been banned under various provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Its chief Yasin Malik is under arrest and at present lodged in Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail.
This is the second organisation in Jammu and Kashmir which has been banned this month. Earlier, the Centre had banned the Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir.
Reacting to banning of JKLF, PDP president and former J&K CM, Mehbooba Mufti tweeted: “Yasin Malik renounced violence as a way of resolving J&K issue a long time ago. He was treated as a stakeholder in a dialogue initiated by then PM Vajpayee ji. What will a ban on his organisation achieve? Detrimental steps like these will only turn Kashmir into an open air prison.”
National Conference Vice President and another former CM of the state, Omar Abdullah, too expressed his thoughts over the decision.
“For 4 1/2 years (four and a half years) Yasin Malik isn’t a threat, Jamaat Islami isn’t a threat, Pakistan National Day is a function that must be attended. Now suddenly once an election is announced an immediate u-turn is executed,” he wrote on Twitter.

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Admin allows uprooting of 17 ‘unsafe’ Chinars in Srinagar college

Bisma Bhat



Srinagar, Mar 22: Amid government’s claims for preserving Chinars, a college in Srinagar, has, after getting due permission from the district administration, felled over a dozen of these majestic trees standing tall in its premises for decades.
As many as 17 Chinar trees have been partially or entirely chopped off at SP College here during the last 4 days.
The college authorities say all the chinars had “decayed” after 2014 floods and needed to be cut-off.
Professor Khurshid Khan, Principal SP College told The Kashmir Monitor that post 2014 floods many Chinar trees in the college started “drying” and there was no sign of their “rejuvenation”.
“The branches of the trees started falling and it posed safety threat to the students and the people around,” he said, adding that to avoid any “unfortunate accident we approached the government for acquiring permission to uproot the Chinars”.
The Principal claimed that the vehicle of one of their faculty member was completely damaged when a branch of one of the chinars fell on it.
An order issued by the Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar reads: “After conducting on spot survey of the decayed Chinar, government on January 23, 2019 directed to uproot the only identified dry Chinar existing in the premises of the college.”
The survey was conducted by the department of floriculture which recommended uprooting 17 Chinar trees that “are completely dry” and “light pruning” of another three such trees.
Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, Dr Arshid Jehangir, Environmentalist at Kashmir University, said it is legally permitted to uproot the tree only if it poses a threat.
“But if we have to uproot one Chinar, we need to plant 10 more as a compensation for our cause,” he added.
The number of Chinars has reduced drastically in the last few decades.
According to reports, the number in Kashmir in the 70s was around 40,000 but today it has been reduced to a meagre 5,000.
The majestic tree was brought to Kashmir by the Mughals. Emperor Akbar planted Chinars in the valley in 1586.

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