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Reducing weight of school bags:8 months on, recommendations of committee gathers dust

Kashmir News Service

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Srinagar, July 26: It has been over eight months since an expert submitted its report, the authorities has failed to implement any of its recommendations to reduce the weight of school bags of children.
Sources said that the government in August last had constituted a four-member committee comprising of former Head of Department of Education, University of Kashmir, A G Madhosh, former principal of Government College for Women Nusrat Andrabi, ex-principal Abdul Jabbar, and Veena Pandita, in-charge chairperson, J&K Board of School Education (BOSE) to suggest ways to help reduce the weight of school bags. Following which the committee submitted its report.
However, the authorities have failed to implement the recommendations on formulating a policy to reduce the weight of school bags of children.
The committee has suggested which classes actually require to be taught through books.
“Few standards like nursery students should be taught without books. The teacher needs to be trained who can make students explain everything without asking them to rely on books,” it has recommended.
The committee has suggested that there was an immediate need to reduce the number of books for the students especially from fifth standard to eight.“Time management should be done in such a manner that students should learn more by giving them less,” it said.They had suggested abolishing of Public System of Examination by introducing Comprehensive and Continuous Examination.
“Comprehensive and Continuous Examination means by holding exams of students unit wise. The public system of examination should be removed upto 10th as it subjects the students to mental stress. Even 12th class students also don’t need it as they have to go through the entrance tests for various courses later in colleges,” they had said.
The committee in its recommendations has suggested a combined book system for students of all primary classes.
The committee has asserted in its report that books of five subjects covering one semester should be kept in one book which will automatically reduce the weight of schools bags.
The report has also suggested that using of lightweight school bags, preferably waterproof; whose weight should not be more than 1.5 kg.
Meanwhile, for the students of Class III to V, the committee has recommended that the session be divided into four quarters and the syllabus be divided into semesters.
The report states that there should be selected chapters of every subject in one book for a particular semester while in the next semester same procedure should be followed.
“All these recommendations await implementation,” an official said. “Children safety are no concern in JK.”
The government had constituted the committee in August following High Court directions in a public interest litigation filed by Badrud Duja in 2016 seeking a comprehensive policy to reduce the burden of bags on students.
A recent survey conducted by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) under its Healthcare Committee has found that 68 per cent of school children under the age of 13 years across India may suffer from mild back pain, which can develop into chronic pain and later into a hunchback.


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Kashmir

FB’s #10 yr challenge: Netizens mock languishing govt projects in Kashmir

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, Jan 20: The #10year challenge–the latest rage on Facebook is triggering an unintended consequence in Kashmir.

It has thrown light on the abysmal pace of execution of key developmental projects.
In Kashmir, the government works are conceived and launched with much fanfare, but years, and in some cases decades, pass before they see the light of day.

The #10year challenge, new fad that has taken Facebook by storm and involves a person juxtaposing his or her decade-old photo with the current one, has seen Kashmiri people sharing photos of the incomplete government works here.

 

Netizens mostly share two similar photos of an incomplete pillar of the Jehangir Chowk-Ram Bagh (JCRB) flyover project, which was announced in 2009 and is still incomplete.

The project has missed multiple deadlines. To shut up the criticism they were receiving for the delay, the authorities opened up one way traffic on the first phase of the project, the overall completion of which is still a distant dream.

Announced in 2009, the construction on the flyover, funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) at an estimated cost of Rs 359 crore, began in 2013, with September 2016 set as its first deadline. The then chief minister Omar Abdullah had laid the foundation of the flyover.

Apart from JCRB, the other major projects which were started years ago but are yet to be completed include: Boulevard widening project, construction of tunnel on the Mughal Road, and widening of an arterial passage in the capital city, Syed Meerak Shah-Zakura road.
Government had approved the Boulevard widening project in 2009 and had directed the concerned authorities to complete the project on fast-track basis. However, the project is yet to be completed.
The next project following suit is the construction of the tunnel on the Mughal Road.
Fourteen years since the Government of India approved its construction, the project is yet to see the light of the day. The project was approved in 2004, when the PDP shared power with Congress in the state. The proposal was for seven-kilometre long tunnel between Zaznar and Chathapani at 3,000 meters altitude on the 230-year-old Mughal road.
However, the work on the project is yet to be started as a result the road remains closed for nearly six months each year.
Similarly, in 2009 authorities started expansion of the Syed Meerak Shah Road from Dalgate to Zakura, primarily for facilitating smooth flow of vehicular movement through congested areas of old city Srinagar.
The widening project for the 10.33 kilometre road estimated at Rs 336.24 crore was aimed to serve as key surface link to old city Srinagar, Hazratbal shrine and the University of Kashmir. However, ten years have gone by but the project is still lingering.

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257 militants killed in 2018 is highest in 4 years

Agencies

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New Delhi, Jan 20: Jammu and Kashmir witnessed the killing of 257 militants in 2018 – the highest in four years – by government forces, official figures show.
A total of 213 militants were killed in 2017, 150 in 2016 and 108 in 2015.
While 142 militants were eliminated in anti-militancy operations till August 31, the rest were killed in the remaining four months.
An official told IANS that August witnessed the killing of 25 militants – the highest in a single month in 2018.
Also, 105 militants were arrested and 11 surrendered in 2018. The number arrested in 2017 was 97, 79 in 2016 and 67 in 2015.
Government forces also secured surrendering a higher surrender of militants in 2018, which was almost six times more compared to 2017. Only two militants surrendered in 2017 against one in 2016. No militant surrendered in 2015.
The data further revealed that the number of violent incidents were also at a peak during 2018 – almost one-and-half times more than 279 incidents in 2017. A total of 223 violent incidents were registered in 2016 and 143 in 2015.
The security forces also seized 153 AK rifles in 2018 — a dip from 213 in 2017, data accessed by IANS revealed. The number was 178 in 2016 and 177 in 2015.
An official deployed in internal security in Jammu and Kashmir said AK-47 assault rifles were the preferred weapon of militants.
The official, who did not want to be named, said that over 300 militants, including foreigners, were still active in the Kashmir Valley, especially in south Kashmir, which is the epicentre of militancy for over three years now.
“And these militants have been continuously attempting to radicalize youngsters in the Valley to take up arms and to shed fear of getting killed,” said the official.
“Militants were known to monitor activities of youngsters on social media – Facebook and Twitter — who are inclined to militant activities and hardcore religious activities,” the official added.

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Mehbooba among ‘strongest’ CMs of JK: Beg

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Srinagar, Jan 20: Senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehboob Beg on Sunday hailed party president Mehbooba Mufti as one of the most consistent and strongest chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir.
Beg, in a statement, said no matter if she is in the government or in the opposition she remained “steadfast”.
“Her politics and conviction finds basis in her ‘pro-people belief’, how she handled the Kathua rape case is a case in-point,” the statement said.
He said that the PDP president resisted the “sinister attempt to disturb and dislodge the tribal community and ensured no politics was played on this issue.”
Beg said: “Mehbooba’s stand was made crystal clear to the all-powerful central government as well, the Home Minister offered unconditional talks, the cases against protestors were withdrawn, the unilateral ceasefire was announced, how can we not appreciate her persisting with pro-people policies and made the BJP agree to matters that were politically inconvenient to them.”
“She took stands very well realizing that she did not have the numbers to dictate terms to the BJP, yet she persisted and since the BJP did not have the intentions to fulfill the terms agreed upon, they had to pull-out,” he said.
He claimed in the statement that the BJP had entered into this coalition by signing on dotted lines, the Agenda of Alliance was a carefully drafted ‘pro-people’ document.
Beg said “it appears that the BJP had no intention to fulfill what they had committed to do, one cannot do much about if somebody intends to cheat and deceive you.”
“We have had people waste historical opportunities. 1996 was a historic opportunity, the government of the day had overwhelming numbers, but did that government dare to take ‘pro-people’ stands? Let history be the judge on that,” he added.

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