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‘Srinagar Master Plan impossible to implement’






Srinagar, Jan 02: Even as few years have passed since framing of the Srinagar Master Plan (2015-2035) draft, the government is still unsure of its implementation.
Official Sources that no work has been done to start implementation of the master plan. “Government is still unsure whether it is possible to implement the master plan,” an official said.
The official said that several senior officials believe that that it was not possible to fully “implement” the draft of the master plan.
“It is not possible to shift the main offices like the Civil Secretariat from Srinagar city. It does not mean whatever is in the draft has to be executed. Shifting of Civil Secretariat from Srinagar city is out of question,” the official said, while quoting several officials, who believe it was not practically possible to fully implement the master plan.
He was referring to the draft of the Master Plan that has proposed shifting of administrative offices, including the Civil Secretariat, and various other institutions to outskirts or to other districts.
“We want to use of space in Srinagar city. There are some suggestions in the draft of the master plan but are not practically possible,” the official said.
The government in May this year put the draft of the Srinagar Master Plan (2015-2035) in public domain before being put in the State Cabinet for final approval. It has been framed by the Srinagar Development Authority that comes under the ministry of Housing and Urban Development Department.
The draft of the master plan suggests an overhauling of the city including shifting of the main offices to city outskirts.
The draft plan suggests shifting of the Civil Secretariat to Nowgam, near the Railway Station, and using the secretariat building for accommodating all divisional and district offices.
Similarly, converting the Director Information and DIG Traffic offices, currently situated at Polo View Srinagar, into a Central Park, the RMP plans to shift them to NH Bypass Bemina, another flood-prone area.
The MP proposes to shift the District Police Lines Srinagar and Veterinary Hospital Maisuma to Eidgah, Noorbagh and use their existing spaces for institutional housing and tourism infrastructure, respectively.
Likewise, Chest Diseases Hospital would shift to Zewan, Central Jail and Mental Hospital to Khunmoh, while their existing spaces would be used as Craft Centres; Leper Hospital and leper colony to Khimber/Shuhama/Saidpora Humchi while using the current space for tourism, Govt. Press in Lal Chowk to Pampore near JKEDI while using its current space for commercial purposes and as a public park.
Doordarshan would move to the airport, Chief Justice’s accommodation would be at Gupkar while both of their existing structures would be turned into hotels.
Srinagar city, according to the draft is more than 2,500 years old, got its first comprehensive master plan during the reign of Maharaja Gulab Singh. Post 1947, it has been growing very fast, mostly in haphazard manner with insignificant contribution of planned housing colonies, the draft says.



No Helmet No Fuel! Motorcyclists, filling stations flout guidelines with impunity

Bisma Bhat



Srinagar, Jun 26: Eight months on, the much hyped ‘No Helmet No Fuel’ rule  is openly being flouted in the central Kashmir region.

In a move to curb the accidents by two-wheelers, the districts magistrates of Srinagar and Budgam had issued separate orders directing the filling stations not to sell fuel to the motorcyclists who did not wear helmets.

However, eight months have passed, the authorities have failed to implement the order in the twin districts.


The Kashmir Monitor reporter visited several filling stations in the city and discovered that the rule is being openly flouted.

Shuja Wani, a filling station owner at Kanipora told The Kashmir Monitor that they are ready to follow the orders but customers resort to unruly behavior if they are denied fuel.

“Sales people at my station sometimes face harsh behavior when they deny fuel to the motorcyclists without helmets. We have asked for the security from the administration so that we can implement the order and avert any law and order problem at the pumps,” he said.

A fuel pump operator at old city said they faced lot of harassment when they refused to dispense petrol to the people not wearing helmets.

“Once we told a motorcyclist about the government rule, he asked us to shut up and not argue. Even some people boast of not wearing helmets saying it was none of our jobs. The rule is good but our safety is paramount,” he said .

Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said they will work out a plan to implement the order in letter and spirit.

“We will see what can be done for the implementation of the order. The public needs to be aware about this. This is for the welfare of the general public,” he said.

District Commissioner Budgam, Syed Sehrish Asghar said law is already in place and they have made certain challans against the people who were not complying with the instructions.

Additional Superintendent of Traffic Police, Sonam Dechen however admitted that the people are not taking the rule seriously. “Security and enforcement at the filling stations can be provided by the district police,” he said.

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Govt to set up de-addiction centres at SKIMS, medical colleges, other hospitals

Kashmir News Service



Srinagar, Jun 26: The drug addiction is widespread, fast-rising and is quickly taking the form of an epidemic in Jammu and Kashmir, says Drug De Addiction Policy.

Studies conducted in recent years have shown an alarming increase in drug abuse.

One of the studies conducted by Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (IMHANS), of Govt Medical College Srinagar, has found that over two-third of patients in the study had started substance abuse in the age group of 11-20 years.


To tackle this problem, authorities told KNS that they have decided to set up of a drug de-addiction centres with adequate facilities at SKIMS medical college, Srinagar and in five new medical colleges and hospitals of the state.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on last Friday also expressed concerned over growing drug and liquor abuse in Kashmir. “Members from cross section of society have been informing me. I have been receiving large number of letters suggesting the menace of drug addiction is spreading far and wide in Srinagar and across the valley especially among the youth including girls,” Mirwaiz had said.

Governor Satya Pal Malik on Saturday also hailed Mirwaiz for speaking on drug abuse.

Data from Srinagar’s SMHS hospital show an 85 percent increase in the number of drug and substance abuse cases, from 410 in 2014 to 759 in 2016.

Combined cases of drug abuse and related psychological issues also went up from more than 14,500 cases in 2014 to 33,222 in 2016, a staggering 130 percent increase in two years and till April 2017, this number was 13,352.

A United Nations International Drug Control Programme survey in 2008 estimated 70,000 drug addicts in Kashmir, out of which 4,000 were women.

Further, the figures released by Crime Branch Kashmir of total persons arrested in relation to drug related crimes since 2012 was 614, in 2017 the number increased to 1363, an increase of 122 percent in five years.

Experts say the geographical location of Jammu and Kashmir helps in easy availability of drugs in the state. “Stress and the overall turmoil naturally play a role but other factors like peer pressure, unemployment, easy availability (of the drugs) and the fact that no one wants to talk about the issue is an area of concern, too,” said one of the psychiatrist and professor, who has been practising for years at the SMHS Hospital. According to home department data, between October 2014- 2016, more than 3800 people were treated for de-addiction in Jammu, Srinagar, Anantnag and Baramulla. The highest number of cases came from Srinagar (2,260), followed by Jammu (610), Anantnag (603) and Baramulla (391).

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Pvt Schools up in arms against centre over new education policy

Bisma Bhat



Srinagar, Jun 26:  Private schools across the country are up in arms against the centre over the New Education Policy.

Ministry of Human Resources and Development (MHRD)  recently put the New Education Policy (NEP) 2019 in the public domain. The Ministry has sought the feedback from the academicians, educationists and other concerned bodies, within one month.  

However, the Private school Association (PSA) and National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) said the policy is full of flaws and sought more time for further studies and consultations.


Dr. Kulbubshan Sharma, President NISA said they need at least two months to do a comprehensive study of the policy before giving their feedback.

Sharma said the government has skipped crucial issues like gender, caste and the environment in the draft. “Human rights and constitutional rights issues are grossly excluded and Sanskrit and Yoga are projected beyond all reasonable proportions right from school education,”  he said.

Another main flaw in the policy, he said, is that the government wants to extend the jurisdiction of School Management Committee (SMC), monitoring the government schools, to private institutions as well. 

“Earlier a bench of 11 judges had given the historical judgment which upheld the autonomy of private schools. They want to curb the autonomy of private schools and give the unwanted powers to SMC,” Sharma said.

President NISA noted that “it seems that the main aim of the policy is to make 80 percent of students as bonded employees of the capitalist world while as 20 percent will have an upper edge on them”. “The NEP destroys the concept of equality and it is anti-poor,” he claimed. 

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