Srinagar, Jan 21: To check food adulteration, the Drug and Food Control Organisation (DFCO) claims to have made four Mobile Food Testing Vans functional in Kashmir division.
According to a government report, five well-equipped vans have been procured through J&K Medical Supplies Corporation in 2017-2018.
Besides, Rs 6 crore was released for strengthening the existing Food Testing Laboratories at Jammu and Srinagar in 2016-17.
The van comes fully equipped with gadgets such as a milk analyser, hot air oven, hot plate, mixer grinder, digital weighing scale, power generator, air conditioner, and many more.
These vans are used to tests common adulterants in milk, water, edible oils, and other food items, and make it possible to draw on-the-spot samples and generate instant reports of the analysis.
The vans make rounds of city and other districts to collect samples for quality tests.
Moreover, the department has deputed a mobile food testing team consists of a food safety officer, lab technician, and a van driver to handle the vans.
“We have a food safety officer, technician and a driver. We don’t need more staff for these vans,” said Deputy Commissioner Food Safety Kashmir, Irfana Ahmed.
As per her, four vans are functional in Kashmir division, running on different routes and districts.
“We have vans at the division level. We are sending these vans to different districts and are also covering different areas of the city. Recently, we have sent these food testing vans to Jawahar Nagar, Raj Bagh and Parimpora. People who want to test the food products can test freely with the help of these vans,” she said.
Jammu and Kashmir Drug Controller, Lotika Khajuria, said, “The mobile food testing vans have been kept for surveillance and awareness. One van has been provided by food safety authority of India. Three are procured by state government.”
She said they depute these vehicles to check sale of substandard food items in markets.
“These vans check milk products, spices, edible oils, and colouring agents. If substandard food is found, our inspectors carry out crackdowns. These vans are not run daily, but we have chalked out a timetable for them,” she said.
The mobile vans, as per FSSAI, are meant to strengthen the country’s food testing infrastructure and “enhance surveillance activities and outreach even in far-flung areas”.
‘170 ADB-funded projects costing 3305 cr completed’
Srinagar, Jul 20: Jammu & Kashmir Economic Reconstruction Agency (JKERA) has completed 170 externally funded infrastructure projects in the State with a cumulative investment of Rs 3305 crore.
This information was given at a high-level meeting chaired by Principal Secretary, Planning, Development & Monitoring Department, Rohit Kansal here this morning to review the progress of externally funded infrastructure projects.
CEO, JKERA, Vikas Kundal briefed the meeting in detail about the physical and financial progress of externally funded infrastructure projects being executed in the State.
The meeting was informed that JKERA began its activities on ground in 2006 starting with the execution of Phase-I of Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded projects under Jammu & Kashmir Multi-Sector Project for Infrastructure Rehabilitation (JKMPIR) to improve the delivery of basic services in the state and help sustain economic growth.
Under JKMPIR, 117 projects were taken up for execution with an investment of Rs 1611 crores. These projects included improvement/upgradation of around 600 KMs road length across the State, construction of 31 bridges, construction of 53 storage reservoirs, redevelopment of 38 tube wells in Jammu, revamping/ rehabilitation of 5 Water Treatment Plants in Srinagar, construction of 95 KMs of storm water drainage network in Jammu/Srinagar cities, construction of 36 Public Toilets at tourist destinations and hospitals in Srinagar/Jammu cities, providing 35 water tankers to Public Health Engineering Department, providing 26 Garbage Carriers, 15 Loaders, 10 Sewer Cleaning equipments, 175 Containers to Srinagar and Jammu Municipal Corporations for transportation of solid waste and development of infrastructure at Achan Landfill site in Srinagar.
In Phase-II, 53 major infrastructure projects funded by ADB under Jammu & Kashmir Urban Sector Development Investment Programme (JKUSDIP) were taken up at a cost of Rs 1694 crores to further strengthen the basic public infrastructure in the twin capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu.
Some of the key projects executed under JKUSDIP include construction of Jehangir Chowk-Rambagh-Barzalla Flyover and TRC Grade Separator in Srinagar and Bikram Chowk flyover in Jammu to decongest the traffic in the twin capital cities.
Under JKUSDIP, JKERA also constructed two mechanized parking facilities in the city centre’s of Srinagar and Jammu to provide maiden vertical parking facility in the busiest commercial hubs of the twin capital cities. Construction of sewerage project was also taken up under JKUSDIP in Jammu.
The component of solid waste management under ADB funded JKMPIR was continued under JKUSDIP. JKERA took up a comprehensive project for converting the Achan landfill site to Scientific Land fill site with the construction of state-of-the-art sanitary cells.
The meeting was informed that identification of projects for Phase-III of the ADB funding to the tune of $150 Million has been completed and process has been initiated for engagement of Project Design and Management Consultancy (PDMC) in JKERA.
While reviewing the progress of Rs 1500 crore, World Bank funded Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project (JTFRP), the meeting was informed that Project Management Unit (PMU) has been able to provide necessary impetus to the project and has awarded works costing more than Rs 500 crores during the past 6 months.
Kashmir journos protest ‘baseless’ ToI report
Srinagar, Jul 20: Scores of Kashmiri journalists Saturday held a silent protest at the Kashmir Press Club premises against the “baseless and misleading” report published in Times of India the other day.
In a joint statement, various scribe associations said that journalists from both national and regional media vociferously condemned the “malicious” report which was based entirely on “fabrication and concoction” on part of Saleem Pandith, the reporter under whose byline the story was published.
“Journalists in unanimous voice said that Pandith has no right to defame credible institutions like the Kashmir Press Club, Kashmir Editors Guild and English daily Kashmir Reader,” the statement read.
The protesting journalists also deplored the act of labeling Kashmiri journalists by Pandith.
“He unfortunately is notorious for disseminating fake news to suit his personal agenda and to avenge his group’s loss in the recently-held elections of KPC,” they said in the statement.
“…Pandith has relied on unsubstantiated claims to malign and endanger the entire journalist fraternity of Kashmir,” they added.
Members from KPC, Kashmir Editors Guild, Kashmir Working Journalists Association, Kashmir Journalists Association, Kashmir Press and Photographers Association and several other organisations demanded strict action against the reporter.
The protestors also demanded that membership of Salim Pandith at KPC “should be cancelled without any delay.”
They, as per the statement, demanded that ToI “must immediately remove the baseless report and publish an unconditional apology for publishing Pandith’s fantasies.”
Fund startups, Adv to Financial institutions
Srinagar, Jul 20: The Advisor to Governor K Skandan Saturday urged financial institutions to give a thought for ‘positive policy’ to fund startups by associating them with innovation ecosystems to guide them in their early stages of business.
The Advisor stated this during a launch ceremony of ‘Smart JK Hackathon’—the first State-level Innovation Competition—at J&K Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI), Pampore.
The one-and-a-half-month long innovation competition is aimed to institutionalize a model for harnessing the creativity and technical expertise of students and innovators to an already defined problem statement.
Hackathon is a digital programming competition aimed at identifying new and disruptive technological innovations for solving the challenges faced by the public, businesses and the industry.
Speaking on the occasion, the Advisor said that innovation ecosystems can act as a bridge between financial institutions and startups where these ecosystems provide the accessibility to superior technology, mentors, talent, corporates, customers, and government agencies, investors, etc.
He said that not all startups need investors while some need nurturing mainly during their early months or years, adding by this there can be balance by providing incubators to young firms.