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RTIs can be filed locally in J&K, Ladakh even after October 31: Jitendra Singh

Press Trust of India

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Union minister Jitendra Singh on Monday rejected rumours that people in Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh will have to travel to Delhi to file RTIs once the two union territories come into existence on October 31 and said they can still be filed locally.

Singh, who is also the minister of state incharge of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) — which is the nodal department for Central Information Commission (CIC) dealing with the Right to Information (RTI) appeals — met Central Information Commissioner Sudhir Bhargava.

Following a detailed discussion on the issue with Bhargava, Singh said that “certain vested elements which are uncomfortable with the abrogation of Article 370 and reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, continue to instigate different kinds of misgivings in the society, in a vain bid to disrupt the courageous initiative by the Modi government”.

 

The minister said that RTIs can be filed locally in the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh even after the new arrangement comes into existence after the October 31. He denounced the rumours that because Jammu and Kashmir will become a Union territory, the applicant will have to travel to Delhi to file an RTI.

Singh claimed that during the last five years, “the procedures to file an RTI appeal have been immensely simplified and definite timelines have been laid down”. This will apply equally to Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh after they become Union territories, he said.

Divulging details, Singh said that the first RTI application is made to the Public Information Officer (PIO) locally and in matters involving “life and liberty”, the time limit for the PIO to provide the information is 48 hours. “For the PIO to reply to the application, a timeline of 30 days has been laid down from the date of receipt of the application. “For applicant to make first appeal after the receipt of PIO’s reply, the first appellate authority in the form of the designated officer will also be available locally, whether it is the State or Union territory,” he said.

Only in case of second appeal, Singh said the application has to be submitted to the Information Commission and even if the Information Commissioner is not available locally, in case of Union territory, the second appeal can be sent to the CIC online within 90 days from the receipt of the first appeal orders or from the date the orders were to be received. “To make the procedure simpler, we made use of modern technology and in a major breakthrough, during the Modi government, provided the facility of making second appeal before the CIC through portal/WhatsApp, which, in other words, means that an RTI applicant does not have to wait for office hours and can file his appeal even from his mobile phone anytime, at his convenience,” the minister said.

After the reorganisation or Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, Singh said that the citizens’ participation will increase manifold and various provisions in public administration will become far more citizen-centric with the extension of uniformed central laws, as applicable in the rest of the country.


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Breeders asked to avoid grazing in wet grasslands: Deadly parasite kills 35 sheep, infect 500 others

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar:  A lethal parasitical infection is fast spreading its tentacles among the livestock in North Kashmir.

More than 35 sheep have so far died while 500 others were affected by the infection in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district in December last year.  Caused by deadly parasite present in the wet grass, ‘fascioliasis’ affects the liver of the animals.

 “The deaths were caused by a high content of moisture present in the grass. For instance, there is a season when the water level in Wular Lake decreases. The breeders in Bandipora take the livestock for grazing in the lake area. In such a situation, the animals become vulnerable as the grass still retains some amount of moisture,” ”, said Dr Imran Khawaja, Technical officer, Department of Sheep Husbandry.

 

Alarmed by the situation, the government has issued an advisory asking breeders of Kupwara and adjoining areas to take precautionary measures.

“Many a time breeders lack awareness on how to prevent the livestock from developing disease.  To avoid the occurrence of the disease, proper measures should be taken by the breeders.  Grasses which remain submerged in water like that of paddy should be avoided. Even if they are used, they should be dried out first. Second, the animals should be given liver tonics and administered medicines on time,” said Dr Khawaja.

Officials said the infection and mortality rate of sheep has been brought under control. “The affected sheep are being given proper doses. Required drugs have also been prescribed for the breeders,” Dr Khawaja said.

A significant population in the hilly areas of Jammu and Kashmir is associated with Agriculture, Horticulture, Sheep and Animal Husbandry for earning their livelihood.  

“The annual fodder requirement of J&K is huge, whereas availability from different sources viz alpine pastures, forest grazing lands, fallow agricultural lands, private lands etc is inadequate thereby leaving a steep gap between supply and demand,” reads an official document of the Forest Department.

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Hypertension contributes to premature cardiovascular events in Kashmir: New Study

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar: Hypertension is the major contributing factor to the burden of non-communicable diseases in Kashmir, a new study by Government Medical College, Srinagar, has revealed.

Entitled “Prevalence of Hypertension and its Association with Waist Circumference in Adult Population of Block Hazratbal, Srinagar,  the 2018 study was authored by Abdul Rouf, Mahbooba Rasool, Salim Khan SM, Inamul Haq, Abdul Hamid, Khalid Bashir and Sheikh Mohommad Saleem of Government Medical College, Srinagar.

The study was carried out with an objective to find out prevalence of hypertension in the valley by taking sample size of 400 subjects above the age of 18.

 

 “In Kashmir, only 57% with hypertension know their condition, 40.6% receive anti-hypertensive treatment and only 13.2% achieve the target of controlled blood pressure range.  80% of the burden is attributed to cardiovascular diseases”, says the study.

According to the study, high blood pressure is not only turning out to be cause for ischemic heart disease and stroke but also the main risk factor for morbidity and mortality as a result of premature cardiovascular events.

The study further attributes the genetic and environmental factors as the reasons for blood pressure. It includes age, gender, body mass index, physical activity, diet and stress levels.

Dr Afaaq Jalaali, senior physician, said uncontrolled hypertension results in an end organ damage including kidneys, heart and brain.

“Once the hypertension gets off limits, it slowly brings out a change in the vessels by affecting their smoothness and hindering the blood flow. As a result, the chances of blood clot increases, and can cause early deaths through cardiac, renal and brain damage”, he said.

Dr Afaaq said that there is a need for healthy lifestyle in terms of a routine exercise and healthy diet since genes cannot be changed. “Prevention and early diagnosis are undoubtedly the way forward. People with hypertension, a family history and more than two risk factors must be screened every six months to one year,” said Dr Afaaq.

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Class 12 results declared, 76% pass exam: Girls take away cake, bag all top positions

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Jan 22: Girls outshined boys in the Class 12th exam results by bagging top positions in all the streams.

The result of examination was declared on Wednesday with girls securing 54 out of 67 positions. Overall pass percentage was 76 percent compared to 51.77 percent last year

 Of the 46599 students, who had appeared for the examination last year, 35454 have been declared successful by Jammu and Kashmir State Board of School Education (BOSE)

 

Overall pass percentage of government schools was 74 percent. However, private schools took away the cake with 90 per cent pass percentage.

Humera Rashid of Higher Secondary School Lasjan and Isha Bashir of Mallinson Girls Higher Secondary School secured first position in science stream with 490 marks. Sadiq Peerzada of Tyndale Biscoe School secured second position in science stream with 488 marks.

The first 10 positions in the science stream were shared by 29 students and 19 among them are girls. In the commerce stream, the first 10 positions were shared by 12 students including 10 girls.  Moreover, girl students bagged all the 10 positions in Home Science stream.  Fifteen of the 16 students shared the first 10 position in the arts stream. 

Of the 22993 girls who had written the exam, 17635 have been declared successful thus recording securing 76.70 pass percentage.  Of the 23606 boys, 17819 have qualified the test thus recording the overall pass percentage of 75.49 percent.

An official document of BOSE revealed that 213 boys have failed while 5574 have reappears. However, girls have only registered 152 failures and 5206 reappears. Of total students, 10408 got distinctions while 15684, 7756, 1606 secured first second and third divisions respectively.

People faced a lot of inconvenience in confirming the results because of the internet blockade. An official of Education Department said that gazettes were not available in any of the higher secondary schools.

“The cargo service is suspended because of the security reasons ahead of January 26. Result is available on official website of BOSE. It can also be confirmed through SMS,” he added.  

Bashir Ahmad, a resident of Sonwar, said that he could not confirm the result of his son for about two hours. “I went to Higher Secondary School, Jawahar Nagar to confirm the result, but little did I know that the schools were not provided gazettes. Later I called up my friend outside the valley to confirm the result of my son,” he said.

 Riyaz Ahmad, Secretary BOSE said they have provided results to everyone through SMS and gazette were shared through Shareit App to hundreds of people. “Gazette will be available in all higher secondary schools a day late,” he added.

Director School Education, Dr Younis Malik said this year the result is quite good. “I congratulate all the students who worked hard in unprecedented conditions and appeared in the annul examinations,” he said.

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