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Summer capital getting usual facelift before Durbar arrives

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Srinagar, Apr 26: A major face lift exercise has been launched by the Estates Department and the R&B authorities besides other agencies including Srinagar Municipal Corporation and SDA, ahead of Darbar move to the summer capital of the State.
The move offices to close in Jammu on April 27 and to reopen on May 7 here with traditional guard of honour by the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
Official sources told KNS that the Civil Secretariat, the centre of power, besides other move offices, the roads of city and the residential colonies of the move employees besides the official bungalows of the VIPs have started getting white and colour wash and the much needed repair works.
“The roads around and leading to the civil secretariat are being renovated with labourers busy cleaning the pathways and painting the roadsides. We have started the process. It is an old practice which happens annually,’ one of the top officials of the R&B department said.
Sources said that the authorities have decided that the footpaths, especially in Lal Chowk and adjoining areas, to been cleared of encroachments before the opening of the civil secretariat. Sources said that in the wake of recent spurt in militant activities, authorities have also chalked out a plan to ensure security around vital installations including the civil secretariat and residential quarters of move employees.
Sources said that apart from the streets, ministers’ official bungalows and employees’ quarters are also getting facelift for the bi-annual event.
Sources said that renovation and other repair works had also been started in government and private accommodations, where the darbar move offices will stay for next six months.
Sources said that State Road Transport Corporation authorities have been directed to make adequate number of buses available for the employees moving to Srinagar, while it has been asked to make trucks available for carrying official records to the summer Capital.
“The protection wall of fly over is being painted and senior officers of the concerned agencies are continuously monitoring the progress on the day today basis,” one of the top officials of the government said.
Sources said that on the other hand, the renovation and repair work in the bungalows of the VIPs including Ministers and bureaucrats has started. “Huge amount are being spent every year by the Estates Department for the renovation, repair and over all face lift of secretariat,” sources said.
Darbar Move in J&K is a 138-year-old tradition started by Dogra rajas. But the practice continued after 1947.
The practice of Durbar Move was started in 1872 by the then ruler of J&K, Maharaja Gulab Singh. In May, Darbar opens in Srinagar and closes on October 31 to open in Jammu onNovember 10.
The state government annually spends crores for moving the offices, records and employees to Jammu in November and then back to Srinagar in May.
More than 40 offices and their sub-departments move in full after functioning for six winter months in Jammu while 45 departments move in camp. The latter carry 33 per cent of their staff strength.
All the move offices, apart from the manpower and other office paraphernalia, shift truck-loads of official records every six months.
“For around 7000 move employees-including secretariat employees, police, judiciary and corporations-the TA alone runs to the tune of Rs 3.5 crore. Around 3000-3500 employees also avail facility of government accommodation,” sources claimed.
Meanwhile official sources said that Divisional administration and police has made arrangements on the eve of the Durbar Move. “All necessary arrangements to be put in place for the smooth functioning of Civil Secretariat and other move offices” said one of the top officials of the Divisional administration preferred not to be named. (KNS)


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Kashmir

No Friday prayers at Jamia, Mirwaiz put under house arrest

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Srinagar, Mar 22: The authorities put under house arrest the Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Friday and barred the congregational prayers at the historic Jamia Masjid in here.
Reports said that the authorities placed restrictions at several parts of Old City including Nowhatta where authorities did not allow people to offer the Friday prayers.
An official said restrictions were imposed in view of call for protests issued by the Joint Hurriyat Leadership comprising of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik.
Joint Hurriyat had called for peaceful protests after the prayers against the “custodial death” of Awantipora school teacher Rizwan Assad Pandith.
Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who addresses the faithful at the mosque every Friday was put under house arrest. He termed the disallowing of Friday prayers as “religious assault”.
“While repression, killings and arbitrary arrests continue unabated, for the 3rd time this month #JamaMasjid put under lockdown and Friday prayers disallowed. Condemn the authorities for this religious assault,” Mirwaiz wrote on Twitter. This was on the third time in this month that authorities barred the Friday prayers at the Jamia Masjid.

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IUST, KU faculty groups condemn teacher’s custodial killing

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Srinagar, Mar 22: Islamic University Faculty Association (IUFA) Friday condemned the alleged custodial killing of a teacher Rizwan Assad Pandith and has termed it outrageous and a tremendous loss to education while demanding immediate justice for him.
In a statement, the IUFA said Pandith worked as a guest faculty in the Polytechnic College, Islamic University of Science and Technology in 2018.
“He was not just a competent academician, but a thorough gentleman as well. His untimely death is a huge loss to education in South Kashmir where he was heading a school and a coaching center as well,” the statement of the Association said.
The association has demanded that the perpetrators of such crimes be brought to justice at an earliest as there is no place for such horrific crimes in civilized and responsible societies.
The Association has once again expressed dismay and concern over the delay in the dispensation of justice in the custodial killing of another teacher Shabir Ahmad Mango, a college lecturer by Army personnel on August 17, 2016. “Such gory cases of the custodial killings of teachers have caused an immense damage to the intellectual capital of the education sector in the state and we again call for justice to Mango also,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, Kashmir University Teachers Association (KUTA) too has strongly condemned the killing and demanded immediate dispensation of justice. “Such treatment to the ‘nation builders’ on sustained basis does not augur well for the peace and stability in the state,” reiterated the KUTA spokesperson.
The two associations have also called for an immediate end to the continued human rights violations in Kashmir.

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MPs of 2014 have been mute spectators in Parl: Altaf Bukhari

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Srinagar, Mar 22: Terming the upcoming parliament and assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir as one of the crucial elections, former Finance Minister Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Friday said these elections would likely pose a serious challenge for the special status of the State and to its inclusive political culture.
Addressing a workers’ convention at his private office here, Bukhari emphasized on the state’s electorate to compare and elect their candidates on promises made versus performance basis.
The former minister observed that people of the state particularly that of the Kashmir valley, have not forgotten that they were asked for votes in lieu of a ‘mandate for a mission’.
“People have not even forgotten being promised to ‘make the parliament a forum for representing the Kashmir issue at the national level’. But what they did in the Parliament later?” Bukhari asked, adding, “Analyze their attendance and performance on internet and you will witness their dismal track record of attending and intervening in the House. They have simply been mute spectators in the Parliament and wasted the mandate of people.”
The former finance minister remarked that people need to elect their representatives after proper application of mind and wisdom. “While we need to show a united face and defeat the nefarious designs of some divisive political forces, at the same time we need to strengthen the hands of the leadership that has the courage to call a spade a spade.”
Bukhari opined that the electorate of Jammu and Kashmir especially in the valley must decide whether they want to go with the forces who berated and bartered their mandate for their petty political gains or the forces who can safeguard their interests and the special identity of the State.
He said a drastic electoral division or fragmented vote will not be in the interests of people as the same can give a hegemonic control over all state institutions, as well as the public discourse in the hands of forces who are inimical to the identity of this state.
The former minister also stressed on a need for creating a conducive and peaceful atmosphere for holding elections saying that political activities cannot fetch a desired change in an atmosphere of mass arrests, raids, civilian harassment and custodial killings.
“Although almost all the mainstream political parties have condemned the recent custodial killing of the school teacher but mere words cannot heal the wounds of that family. The probe in this incident needs to be conducted in a transparent and time bound manner so that the culprits are booked as per law,” Bukhari reiterated his demand.

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