Srinagar, Sep 19: People’s Democratic Party president and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said that “Centre’s decision to go ahead with the civic polls would not serve any purpose when the mainstream parties have decided to boycott them”.
“When two main political players have opted out, what kind of competition is there going to be?” she asked. “We are the mainstream parties and do not belong to the other side [separatists]…It will not be a good election. It will not have the legitimacy that it should have. Only selective people are going to contest because of the fear psychosis. That may defeat the purpose,” she said.
In an interview to the Hindustan Times, Mufti said her party decided to boycott the local-body elections as the situation in the state was not conducive for the polls. She said there was fear and suspicion in the atmosphere since the Centre has linked the elections to proceedings on Article 35A in the Supreme Court.
Besides the People’s Democratic Party, the National Conference and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) have decided not to contest the elections.
Mehbooba also said that Article 35A is beyond compromise and off-limits for the Centre. “There are certain issues where you can’t compromise. Article 35A is one such issue,” she told the newspaper. “Our message to the Centre is loud and clear: Keep your hands off. This is off-limits; don’t play with this.”
She added that the gap between mainstream politicians from the state and the Centre has widened due to the government’s stand on Article 35A.
The panchayat elections will be held in nine phases between November 17 and December 11 while elections to municipal bodies will be held in four phases between October 8 and October 16. Jammu and Kashmir has been under Governor’s Rule since June, when the BJP pulled out of the PDP-led government.
Insurance bait used to lure candidates: Mirwaiz
Srinagar, Sep 19: Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Wednesday said that the rulers were using ‘insurance as a bait to entrap people to contest the upcoming civic polls in the state.’
Taking to social networking site twitter Mirwaiz wrote: “How bizzare can it get.. As no one ready, rulers using insurance bait to entrap people and become “Bali Kay Bakray” at the alter of so called elections! And then calling it “infusion of confidence “!”
Earlier two main regional political parties National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party, have decided to boycott the elections as they have asked the Government of India to clear its stand on the issue of Article 35-A.
He also condemned the restrictions imposed in various areas of Srinagar to prevent Muharram processions said the city is being held ‘hostage by rulers.’
Taking to social networking site Twitter, Mirwaiz wrote, “Srinagar held hostage by rulers to disallow Muharram procession! Curbs and restrictions on peoples movement everywhere. Roads and alleys leading to hospitals especially SMHS also blocked ..sick being made to suffer! Harassment of people keeps getting worse by the day.”
Kashmir resolution on cards: Rajnath
‘Agar baat cheet se nahi, to hamey maloom hai kaisey’
Jammu, Jul 20: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Saturday said that the resolution of Kashmir issue is on the cards and “no power on earth can stop it”.
Singh, who visited Kargil War Memorial in Drass sector on Saturday, also inaugurated two bridges in Kathua and Basantar.
“Kashmir samasya ka hal jaldi hi honey wala hai” (resolution of Kashmir issue will take place soon), he said before inaugurating a 1,000 meters long bridge over river Ujh in border Kathua district.
Constructed at a cost of Rs 50 crore, it is the longest ever bridge constructed by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) so far.
Referring to his numerous appeals as Home Minister for talks to all those raking up Kashmir issue, Singh recalled that how Hurriyat leaders did not open their doors for visiting members of the all-party delegation once led by him to the Valley.
“People who are running a movement in Kashmir, if they want a solution through it, I appeal to them to at least sit and talk once, to understand what is the issue, what are the problems, so they could be solved together,” news agency ANI quoted Rajnath saying.
“Resolution of Kashmir issue is bound to take place and no power on earth can stop it,” he said.
“Agar baat cheet se nahi, to kaisey, humey maloom hai” (If not through talks then how, we know it), he added.
“Iska samadhaan ho kar rahey ga. Main jo bolta hoon, souch samaj kar bolta hoon. Aisey hi nahi bolta hoon” (Its resolution is bound to take place. Whatever I say, I say with full responsibility), he said.
Earlier in the day, Singh visited the Kargil War Memorial in Drass and paid tributes to the Indian soldiers killed during the Kargil war.
Inaugurates Ujh Bridge
Ushering in a new revolution in the connectivity of roads and bridges in border areas, Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh Saturday inaugurated the 1000 mtr long Ujh Bridge in Pandori village of Kathua district and dedicated it to the Nation.
The event was attended by Union Minister of State in PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh, Chief of Army Staff, Gen Bipin Rawat, Director General Border Roads, Lt Gen Harpal Singh, GOC Gurj Division, Maj Gen Y P Khanduri, IGP Jammu zone, Manish Sinha, DC Kathua, Dr. Rghav Langer, SSP Kathua, Sridhar Patil, Former legislators of Kathua and Hiranagar besides many other Army and Civil administration dignitaries.
Terming construction of Ujh bridge a great achievement by BRO, Defence Minister said that the roads and bridges are the lifeline of any nation and play a vital role in the socio economic development of far flung regions and population.
Rajnath Singh praised BRO personnel for working in the most hostile and the difficult areas, away from their families and rendering commendable services through construction and maintenance of roads and bridges in border areas fulfilling the strategic need of Indian Defence Forces.
Reiterating the Central Government
s commitment to the development of connectivity in Jammu and Kashmir area, he said that our Prime Minister is regularly monitoring the progress of these projects and funds are being ensured accordingly.
1000 mtr long Ujh bridge is the longest bridge constructed by BRO and also has the distinction of using technology of pre-cast segmental bridge with 60 mtrs span. It has been constructed at a cost of approx Rs 50 Crore and completed within schedule time. The bridge is located on Parole-Korepunnu-Rajpura road over Ujh river and will provide alternate connectivity along the NH, Defence Minister informed.
Union MoS, Dr Jitendra Singh said that this bridge will provide alternate connectivity during cross border firing and will make life easier for the villagers in the rainy season. He congratulated to all who were present that their long-pending demand now stands realized.
He further said that apart from this bridge, Community and Individual bunkers in border areas, Seema Bhavan, enhancement in SPOs wages, strengthening VDCs and increasing livestock insurance during border skirmishes were few other initiatives which were undertaken during Rajnath Singhs previous tenure as Home Minister to facilitate border dwellers.
Lt Gen. Harpal Singh underlined the contribution of BRO to the nation in far flung areas of the country under extremely difficult and harsh conditions. Admiring the contribution of Project Sampark and congratulating all the employees associated with this project, he offered his sincere thanks to the Defence Minister, MoS PMO, Chief of Army Staff and other dignitaries and locals for their support for completion of this project.
Revival of Ancharsar, Khoshalsar, Gilsar: Centre hasn’t received proposal, LAWDA claims sending 3 yrs ago
Srinagar, Jul 20: Seemingly rebutting the state government, Centre has clarified that they have not received any proposal from the state authorities for the revival of three dying lakes in Srinagar.
In a written reply to a starred question of National Conference MP Farooq Abdullah, the central government told Lok Sabha that they have not received any proposal for revival of three Srinagar lakes — Ancharsar, Khoshalsar and Gilsar — from the state government.
“No proposal for the revival of these three lakes has since been received from the Jammu and Kashmir government,” reads the reply.
Vice-chairman, Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA), Sajad Hussain however told The Kashmir Monitor that they have “sent proposal three years back” and he “does not have any information about the new ones.”
Centre, however noted, that as informed by the LAWDA, three important lakes in Srinagar including Ancharsar, Khoshalsar and Gilsar are facing severe threats of pollution from untreated sewage.
Ministry of Environmental Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is currently implementing the centrally sponsored scheme, ‘National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystem (NPCA)’ for conservation and management of identified wetlands in the country on a cost-sharing basis between the Central Government and the respective State Governments.
“The central assistance is based on the proposals received from the state governments in conformity with the guidelines and budget availability”, reads the reply.
“The scheme covers various activities including interception, diversion and treatment of wastewater, shoreline protection, Lakefront development, in-situ cleaning i.e de-silting and de-weeding storm water management, bioremediation, catchment, area treatment, lake beautification, survey and demarcation, bio fencing, fisheries development, weed control, biodiversity conservation, education and awareness creation and community participation”.
Gilsar Lake is an inter-connected water body of Srinagar. Waters from Dal and Nigeen flows into Gilsar via Nallah Amir Khan and drain into Anchar Lake.
“In absence of any regulation and conservation measures, Gilsar and two other lakes are facing an imminent threat of extinction,” an official of LAWDA said.
He noted that the enormous growth of obnoxious weeds and vegetation has been hampering the smooth flow of water into the lake. “Most of the city waste encompasses plastic and sewage which ends up in the Khushalsar and other water bodies,” he said.
Saudi Arabia starts e-visa for Umrah
Srinagar, Jul 20: Great news in the offing for Indians intending to do Umrah. Now, they can easily apply and get an e-visa to perform the pilgrimage without having to go through the hassle of visiting the embassy.
The Saudi government has made the process of getting an Umrah visa fairly easy ensuring that Indian Muslims no longer require visiting the embassy offices in New Delhi or Mumbai.
The aspirants can simply fill up the form on the embassy website personally or through a travel agent and get their e-visa.
The efforts are a part of Vision 2030 which aims to ease the process of performing Hajj and Umrah along with providing the best facilities for pilgrims.
Very soon Hajj and Umrah visa will also allow pilgrims to travel to other parts of the Kingdom.
With Saudi Ambassador in India, Dr Saud Mohammed Al Sati at the forefront of these developments, they will definitely cut the paper-work and considerably reduce the inconvenience that pilgrims may otherwise have been facing so far.
With Vision 2030 serving as a blueprint, the Kingdom is working on the strategic objective of welcoming 30 million pilgrims each year to perform Hajj and Umrah.
The third phase of expansion of the Grand Mosque, launched by King Salman, is making good progress. Expansion of the building itself covers 1.47 million square meters, including 78 new gates. The various new infrastructure and transportation projects are shaping up beautifully.
In this new era of development, the Kingdom sees India as an important partner.
“In our common pursuit for development and stability, Saudi Arabia sees India as an important partner. Our ties trace their roots to the third millennium BC. Trade, science, arts, literature, languages — the exchanges between our civilisations have indeed been profound. India holds a special place for us,” Dr Sati said earlier this year.
The Kingdom is well aware of how important India and Indians are for it considering that nearly 3 million Indians form the largest expatriate community in Saudi Arabia.
India has also seen its Haj quota of 1,36,020 increase consecutively during the last two years to a record 1,75,025.