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Stray dog terror continues to loom over Kashmir

Kashmir News Service

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Jammu, Nov 07: Though the High Court has directed Housing and Urban Development Department (H&UDD) to provide required assistance to Srinagar Municipal Corporation for controlling the menace of stray dogs in the summer capital Srinagar, the miseries of people faced due to these canines seem to be unending.
Stray dogs struck terror in Baramulla town of north Kashmir on Tuesday morning. The canines attacked nearly 50 persons, including women and elderly. However, what compounded the misery of the victims was the non-availability of enough stocks of anti-rabies vaccine.
People believe here that street dog numbers continue to affect people in majority of the areas of Srinagar city and other towns of the Kashmir and this will be the trend if the authorities continue to do nothing. “The control methods used are inadequate, as trapping is rarely a method that is considered and is totally undervalued and underutilized,” one of the local residents of Srinagar told KNS.
People blame the authorities for not taking appropriate steps to reduce the increasing dog population. The cases reported with Socio and Preventive Medicine Department at the SMHS Hospital, the only tertiary care hospital in the Valley, has registered hundreds of dog bits during the recent years.
In Srinagar alone, hundreds of people were bitten by canines. According to official data, there are about 48,000 dogs in the city, but unofficial estimates say the number is about 1, 00,000.
To control the canine population in the city, the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has taken the process of sterilization, but people said that it was a long process and there should be some short-term plan by the SMC to stop the cases of dog bites.
“Sterilization is a long-time process. The government is not serious in solving this grave issue. Something needs to be done timely to check the menace,” said Habib-ullah, a resident of Srinagar.
Stray canines can be seen roaming on streets, chasing cars, pulling down bicycle riders and often attacking pedestrians and schoolchildren.
The situation is worse in the outskirts where the municipal corporation is not that active is checking the menace.
According to experts, the reason behind the ferocity of the dogs is the high-protein offal they are fed regularly because of the dietary habits of residents of Kashmir, where mutton and chicken are a staple diet.
The inhabitants of Bemina MIG colony area complained that even though hundreds of dogs’ prowl in the area, the authorities had failed to check the menace. “For the past four years the SMC admits that the stray dog population has reached alarming proportions with over one lakh prowling in the City. Still, the corporation has failed to act,” Said senior citizen Ajaz ahmad of the area.
“We fear that the dog population if kept unchecked could trigger fear psychosis among people. The dog issue needs to be dealt with seriously or else by four years dogs may outnumber Srinagarities and they will victimize every one of us,” he said. Despite repeated attempts the SMC officials couldn’t be contacted.
It is to mention here that a division bench of Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmad and Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey issued the direction after it was informed that there was only one centre at Shuhama, for controlling the birth of the stray dogs at present.
“In order that SMC is able to achieve the objectives, they will need full financial assistance and logistic support from H&UDD. A request has already been made by the SMC on 29 March 2016 and 16 May 2016,” the court had said.


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Kashmir

RTI Act not being implemented in true spirit: SIC

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, March 20: The State Information Commission (SIC) on Wednesday agreed that there were loopholes in public information deliverance system.

The Jammu & Kashmir Right to Information Act, 2009 came into force on 20 March 2009, repealing and replacing the erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir Right to Information Act, 2004 is not been implemented and followed by the authority in a professional manner.

On eve of 10th anniversary of RTI Act Jammu and Kashmir, Commissioner, SIC, Mohammad Ashraf Mir discussed various “deficiencies, weaknesses” that are responsible for the modest implementation of Act.

 

Mir said that RTI act is not been taken strictly by the authorities. “We know that the Act is not implemented the way it was designed to be implemented,” he accepted.

Mir said that they know that the government and its instrumentalities love to take credit of RTI Act but are reluctant to submit to its laws.

Moreover, the department is not professionally trained to deal with the dissemination of information.
“The public information officers (PIOs) in government departments are still not well versed with the work, resulting to denial of information to applicants,” said Mir.

He added that this powerful tool of right to get information is sometimes being misused in the hands of citizens also. “The information sought under the act is not be used in the manner it ought to be used.”

Mir said that there is a lack of awareness among the citizens who ought to use the RTI to get the required information, adding that the NOG’s and the social activists who are veterans of the RTI should educate the people on the procedure to file the RTI and be more specific.

Besides all these deficiencies, the record keeping in the entire government departments is in shambles. Mir said that the poor digitization of records in all the government departments act as the wall stone for disseminating the information.

Chairman Jammu and Kashmir RTI movement, Dr Sheikh Ghulam Rasool showed some light on the struggle to pass the Act in Jammu and Kashmir.
Dr. Rasool said, “The founder of the Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act is Late Balraj Puri and Advocate Irfan Hafiz lone.”

He said that J&K RTI was earlier passed in 2004 but it was very week and lacked various laws and regulations. “We formed J&K RTI movement which established the Act in 2009.”
The event was held at Kashmir University by J&K RTI Movement in collaboration with Center of Central Asian Studies.

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JK Assembly polls: EC observer team yet to submit its report to CEC: CEO

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Srinagar, Mar 20: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer Shailendra Kumar on Wednesday said that the three member team of election observers appointed for Jammu and Kashmir is yet to submit its report to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and any decision on the conduct of assembly elections in the state will be taken after ECI’s consultation with the Union Home Ministry on additional security deployments for assembly polls in the state.
CEO Shailendra Kumar said, “The three member team of election observers which recently visited Jammu and Kashmir to reassess the situation for conduct of assembly elections in the state has not submitted its report to
Chief election commissioner Sunil Arora yet but will be submitted to the election commission of India very soon. A decision on holding assembly elections will be taken by election commission of India only after consultations with the union home ministry on the timing of assembly elections in the state.”
On March 14, three member team of observers appointed by the Election Commission of India arrived Srinagar to meet the political parties and “assess the feasibility” for holding the assembly elections in J&K.
Upon their arrival, the team drove to the Lalit hotel located on the upscale Gupkar Road where they will hold one-on-one meetings with the regional parties for discussing the timing and phasing of the state assembly polls.
The ECI had appointed former IAS officers Vinod Zutshi and Noor Muhammad, and former IPS officer A S Gill, as special observers to assess the feasibility of holding assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
According to their mandate, the observers would make a real-time assessment of the situation by meeting political parties, district and state authorities and other stakeholders, and discuss modalities for holding the assembly elections.
The ECI’s decision to not hold the assembly elections simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls in Jammu and Kashmir has sparked a massive uproar with the regional political parties like National Conference and People’s Democratic Party accusing the Centre of “eroding the democratic set-up” in the state.
However, sources in the government said it is “impossible” to hold the state assembly polls simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections given the deteriorating security situation in the aftermath of the Pulwama suicide bombing.
“For holding Lok Sabha polls for Baramulla constituency alone, we need 400 companies of central paramilitary forces. If assembly polls are held simultaneously, it will require massive deployment. We can’t compromise on security,” a top government officer said.

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ERA initiates blacklisting of defaulting contractors

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Srinagar, Mar 20: J&K Economic Reconstruction Agency (JKERA) has initiated the process of blacklisting/debarment of contractors who had violated various contract conditions in 12 contract packages under ADB Loan I and Loan II.
As per an official communiqué issued here, CEO ERA, Dr. Raghav Langer said that the FIDIC contract agreement conditions clearly defines every term and condition for execution of contracts and the procedure for blacklisting and debarment of defaulting contractors.
He further added that ERA has accordingly initiated the process of blacklisting and debarment of contractors, under J&K Registration of Contractor Act 1956 in case there were inordinate delays thereby depriving public of intended benefits and causing huge loss to state exchequer, structural faults, corrupt and fraudulent practices, misrepresentation, indulging in false claims under arbitration, nonperformance, abandoning of works etc.
The CEO reiterated the need for professional management of contracts and said that erring contractors of J&K ERA under previously executed Road Projects, Flyovers Project, Sewerage and Water Supply Schemes, Dewatering and Drainage Schemes in Jammu & Kashmir regions have been issued notices which shall be confirmed by adopting the due process.
The removal of name from Register under Act No. 6 of 1956 sub-clause 5 shall there by prevent them from participating in any future contracts in the State of J&K.

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