SRINAGAR, OCTOBER 17: Advisors to Governor, K Skandan and K Vijay Kumar, co-chaired the 6th State Road Safety Council meeting here today.
The meeting was attended by Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education, Principal Secretary Transport Department, Transport Commissioner, Secretary Higher Education, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Inspector General Police of Traffic, J&K, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Director School Education Kashmir, Commissioner SMC, and representatives of Finance, Planning, Home, Housing and Urban Development Departments.
The meeting was also attended by all Deputy Commissioners besides other concerned officials via video conference.
The meeting was informed that Road Accident Victim Fund has been created for passengers and private vehicles with ex-gratia ranging from Rs 10000 to Rs 100000. It was also informed that the State Government approved an incentive of Rs 5 lakh per vehicle to replace 500 old buses of 15 years-of-age and above with new buses, besides 40 electric-buses in twin capitals of Srinagar and Jammu and 36 new buses for Chenab Valley were procured by JKSRTC.
Principal Secretary Transport, Dr Asgar Hassan Samoon presented a detailed overview of functioning of the Transport Department besides initiatives taken for the modernization of transport sector to cater to the changing needs. To arrest the trend of the frequent accidents, he said, that with the funding of the Central Government, work on various Inspection Certification Centres (ICC) is in progress.
It was given out that ICC and Institute of Driving and Training Research is coming up at Samba at a cost of Rs 14.40 crore and 17 crore respectively. Similarly, 50 kanals of land have been identified at Harwan in Srinagar for establishing ICC besides an IDTR would be established in Budgam at a cost of Rs 17.42 crore.
While reviewing road accidents data management system, the Advisors stressed on using the data for reducing accidents due to increasing policing and improving road construction management for reducing black spots.
The Principal Secretary informed the meeting that Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways (MoRTH) provided funds for procurement of 136 ambulances. He told the meeting that 80 ambulances deployed are being used for Basic Life Support (BLS) both at Jammu and Kashmir division while 50 ambulances have kept for retrofitting and are being used for Advance Life Support (ALS) primarily designed to transport patients of critical care, trauma and accident victims.
It was also given out that 102/108 helpline service would be started very soon with 300 ordinary ambulances at disposal out of which 100 can be made critical care ambulances.
Regarding the establishing of Trauma centres, the Advisors were informed that Health and Medical Education Department has established 10 trauma centres out of which seven are functional while the rest would be made operational soon.
On Intelligent Transport System (ITS), the Advisors directed SMC and JMC to complete the process at the earliest. In Srinagar, out of 33 junctions, 20 junctions are working, while work on remaining junctions is in progress, the meeting was told.
On the occasion, Advisor Skandan directed the Deputy Commissioners to complete the district action plan within one month and asked for identification of accident prone areas in their district jurisdictions to reduce accidents.
Director School Education Kashmir informed the meeting that 855 Road Safety Clubs in higher secondary schools have been created with 280 in Kashmir division and 575 in Jammu division.
The Advisors directed the concerned officials to implement Ribbon Development Act at the earliest.
Rail service resumes
Srinagar, Nov 12: Rail services in Kashmir resumed on Tuesday – over three months after being suspended due to security reasons in view of the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370, officials said.
Few mini-buses also plied on the Batwara-Batamaloo route through the city centre, while inter-district cabs and auto-rickshaws plied in the city and elsewhere in the valley.
Private transport was plying unhindered.
A railway official told PTI that a train chugged between Baramulla and Srinagar this morning.
He said the train made only two trips on the Baramulla-Srinagar stretch as authorities have directed Railways to ply trains between 10 am and 3 pm only due to security reasons.
The Railways conducted the trial run of the service on the stretch on Monday for the first time in over three months since the unannounced shutdown in the valley.
The official said the Srinagar-Banihal stretch of the railway line would resume in a few days after checking track safety and conducting trial runs.
The train service in the valley was suspended due to security reasons on the morning of 5 August – hours before the Centre announced its decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and to bifurcate the erstwhile state into two Union territories.
The Centre’s decision led to an unannounced shutdown in the valley – which completed 100 days on Tuesday — even as authorities imposed severe restrictions which were later gradually eased out.
Markets have been following a new pattern of functioning, opening early morning till around the noon and then downing their shutters to join the protest against abrogation of the special status of the state, officials said.
They said miscreants are using fear mongering to put down any resistance to unannounced shutdown by threatening shopkeepers and businessmen.
The officials said two grenade attacks in the city’s busy Goni Khan market and Kaka Sarai areas were an indication that there were concerted efforts to keep the shutdown going.
Pre-paid mobile phones and all internet services continued to remain suspended since 5 August.
Most of the top level and second rung separatist politicians have been taken into preventive custody while mainstream leaders including two former chief ministers — Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti — have been either detained or placed under house arrest.
The government has detained former chief minister and sitting Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar Farooq Abdullah under the controversial Public Safety Act.
Militant killed in Ganderbal gunfight
Srinagar, Nov 12: A militant was killed and an Army soldier injured in an encounter between militants and security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ganderbal district on Tuesday, police said.
Security forces launched a cordon-and-search operation in Kulan area of the central Kashmir district in the morning following inputs about the presence of militants.
During the search, the hiding militants fired upon the security forces, who retaliated, according to an officer.
A militant was killed during the gunfight. An army soldier was also injured and rushed to a medical facility for treatment, the officer said.
The identity and group affiliation of the slain militant is yet to be ascertained. The operation is on and further details are awaited, the officer added.
The incident comes after the encounter where two militants were killed in an encounter with security forces in Bandipora district of north Kashmir on Monday morning, police said.
While one militant was killed on Sunday during a gunfight between security forces in Lawdara village, about 55 km from Srinagar, another was killed on Monday, police further said. The security forces started a search operation on getting information about the presence of some militants in the area which led to the encounter between the security forces and the militants.
The streak of encounters continues as the state of Kashmir remains under an unprecedented lockdown after the abrogation of article 370.
Unscheduled power cuts affect research in KU
Srinagar, Nov 05: Unscheduled power cuts have severely hit the research work in the University of Kashmir.
“I am doing research on plant ecology and most of my work depends on high definition equipments which work on electricity. I collected plant samples twice from Gulmarg and kept it in freezer for further examination. For four days there was no electricity and with the result my samples became unusable,” said a research scholar.
Another research scholar in Kashmir University said due to frequent power cuts their research work is getting affected. “My equipment developed errors due to power cuts. With the result, it started displaying false readings”, he said.
An official in the Kashmir University said over Rs 25 crore have been sanctioned for 50 different projects in the department of biotechnology, clinical bio-chemistry, botany, zoology, nanotechnology, pharmacy, environmental science, physics, electronics and chemistry.
“The high definition equipment, which works in -80, -20, -120 temperature, are imported from abroad. Regular power cuts are affecting these equipments,” the official said.
Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, Chief Engineer PDD, Qazi Hashmat said Kashmir University being a premier institute should install a backup power system to meet exigencies.
“PDD has proposed to provide dedicated power supply from 33 KV line. Once the university credits the amount, we will start work on installation of the line,” Qazi said.
Spokesperson of Kashmir University, Professor Shahid Rasool said the issue has not been brought into hid notice. “I will check with the department heads and resolve it as soon as possible,” he said.
Sources said Kashmir University had signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the PDD to provide 24*7 power supply. Sources said two kanals of land was also earmarked for establishing receiving station for uninterrupted power supply. Sources said Kashmir University is paying Rs 4.2 lakh as monthly electricity tariff to the PDD.