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Sehrish Asgar directs timely, periodic settlement of advt bills of newspapers

Monitor News Bureau

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SRINAGAR, SEP 24: Director, Information & Public Relations, Dr. Syed Sehrish Asgar today asked for timely and regular settlement of bills raised on account of advertisements issued to various newspapers by the Department.

Chairing a review meeting of officers in this regard, the Director asked for submission of fortnightly reports of advertisements, releases and liabilities by both the Joint Directorates of Kashmir and Jammu to her. She said it is her earnest desire to make the functioning of the Department as transparent as possible and ensure that maximum facilitation is extended to the members of the media fraternity by the Department. She impressed upon the officers of the Department to make earnst efforts while asking them to re activate their field units in this regard.

The meeting was informed that on the instructions of Director Information, Rs. Four Crore were released to Joint Directorates of Kashmir and Jammu in the past week to clear the liabilities of the newspapers accrued in the past few months. This is in addition to Rs. Five crore each released to the two offices already.

 

It may be recalled that several delegations of newspaper owners who had met the Director Information had sought clearance of liabilities of advertisements besides regular and periodic release of payments. Dr.Sherish had assured the delegations to evolve a mechanism to ensure periodic release of payments besides clearing the liabilities and proper regulatory mechanism in the distribution of advertisements to newspapers.

Stressing on more intense relations between media and the Department, Dr.Sehrish assured the journalists that the Department is trying to facilitate the media fraternity in every manner possible.

Senior officers of the Department were present in the meeting.


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State

Restore rights of Kashmiris: Chidambaram after release

Agencies

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New Delhi, Dec 5: Breathing the air of freedom after 106 days made him first think about the 75 lakh people of the Kashmir valley, former finance minister P Chidambaram said on Thursday, a day after he was released from Tihar jail.

“As I stepped out and breathed the air of freedom at 8pm last night, my first thought and prayers were for the 75 lakh people of the Kashmir valley who have been denied their basic freedoms since August 5, 2019,” the Congress leader said at a press conference, his first after the Supreme Court granted him bail in the INX media case.

Quoting late South African president Nelson Mandela, Chidambaram said “freedom is indivisible” as he called for the restoration of the rights of Kashmiris, who have been placed under severe restrictions for over four months now.

 

The famous Mandela quote from his autobiography was based on his belief that once freedom of anyone is restricted, it can start an irreversible decline that is difficult to stop.

“If we must preserve our freedom, we must fight for their freedom,” said Chidambaram in lines that again recalled Mandela’s fight for liberty of all.

The 74-year-old also expressed concern for the political leaders of Kashmir, who he said have been detained without charges. “If the government allows me, I will definitely visit Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.

Almost the entire mainstream political class of Kashmir, including former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, with whose Peoples Democratic Party the BJP had at one time formed government in Jammu and Kashmir, are still under arrest.

The government had placed the Valley under a security lockdown as it moved to revoke the special constitutional status of the Muslim-majority region on August 5 by deploying thousands of additional troops and imposing a communication blackout.

While some restrictions have since been lifted, several still remain, including the blackout on internet services.

The government maintains these detentions and restrictions are necessary to prevent trouble makers from fanning tensions. The Congress party, along with others in the opposition, has raised the issue of the prolonged clampdown on rights during the Parliament session, but the government insists that this situation is normal.

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State

‘J&K residents to get domicile rights for land, govt jobs’

Agencies

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Jammu, Dec 5: After the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A, Jammu & Kashmir Union Territory residents are likely to get exclusive domicile status to protect employment and land ownership rights, official sources said.

The sources said keeping in view the huge unemployment among educated youth, the Union Territory administration is likely to give domicile rights to residents so that only they can apply for government jobs in J&K.

“Domicile rights of residents of J&K would be protected with regard to employment in Union Territory government jobs and purchase/ownership of land.

 

“This concession is likely to be announced soon as work is underway to formulate the new rules regarding the domicile rights of J&K UT residents,” the sources said.

After revoking of Article 370 and 35A, both the parallel flag and Constitution of the state in addition to the exclusive rights of permanent residents of J&K to buy/sell land were abolished.

There has been a growing demand, both in the Jammu region and the valley, that given the economic backwardness and huge unemployment in J&K, domicile rights of the residents must be protected.

This has been in addition to the demand for continuing the exclusive rights of local residents to apply for government jobs in the newly-carved out Union Territory.

While confirming that domicile rights were in the offing for residents, the sources, however, did not comment as to how long the domicile rights would be protected in the new Union Territory.

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State

4,000 passports delivered across Jammu, Kashmir region post Aug 5: Prasad

Press Trust of India

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As many as 4,000 passports were delivered in Jammu and Kashmir post August 5, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday told Rajya Sabha and appreciated India Post for its good service.

“There was no suspension of postal services in Kashmir post August 5, 2019” and rather India Post has done a commendable job including delivery of 4,000 passports, Prasad said during Question Hour in the Upper House. He said there are 1,694 post offices in Jammu and Kashmir including 698 in Kashmir.

“Postal services remained unhindered. In August, a good amount of postal services were delivered. There was no dislocation per se,” Prasad said.

 

However, to regulate the inward mail traffic and electronic money orders, the Department of Posts temporarily suspended booking and transmission of speed post, registration post and parcels from August 5 to August 18 and booking of electronic money orders to Kashmir from August 13 to 27 on account of operations reasons, he said.

He said the Department of Posts resumed inward mail services to Kashmir from the rest of country from August 19 and electronic money orders from August 28.

Prasad said the government took various steps for functioning of post offices to service courts and other institutions.

Both wings of High Court of Jammu & Kashmir i.e. Jammu wing and Srinagar wing and all the district courts in Jammu and Kashmir regions have been functioning normally before and after August 5, he said.

In reply to another query, he said health services and schools were functioning normally. Replying to a supplementary, Prasad said as far as Internet was concerned it was related to security issues also as cross border activities was fuelling a toxic atmosphere.

4 Kashmiri men held at Delhi airport with 40 lakh Indian currency

Press Trust of India

New Delhi, Dec 5: Four Kashmiri men were arrested by the customs officials, in coordination with the Military Intelligence and the CISF, at Delhi airport for allegedly trying to smuggle into the country Rs 40 lakh for “possible use in the Valley”, officials said on Thursday.

It is for the first time that Indian currency in such a large quantity has been seized, they said. The four men were intercepted at the airport after their arrival from Jeddah on Tuesday, the officials said.

An amount of Rs 39.14 lakh was seized from them, the officials said, adding the operation was done in coordination with the Military Intelligence and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).

“It is for the first time that such a large amount of Indian currency has been seized. The accused intended to travel to Jammu but were caught before they could board the flight. The money is suspected to have meant for its possible use in the Valley (Kashmir),” an official said, wishing anonymity.

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