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Tourists complain of price hike in Gulmarg 

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Feb 13: The government has failed to keep a check on the prices of various utility items at Gulmarg leading to fleecing of tourists and locals.
As the valley experienced heavy snowfall this winter season, thousands of tourists flocked to the famous ski resort.
However, eyewitnesses said that the shopkeepers and sledge owners have taken undue advantage of the huge tourism inflow by charging the exorbitant rates are being charged for sledge rides, skiing, rented snow boots and Jackets and iron chains tied in the wheels of cars to avoid slip on snow.
A local from Srinagar, Muneeb Ahmad, who recently went to Gulmarg in his own car, told The Kashmir Monitor that the chain owners at Tangmarg charged Rs 700 to Rs 800 for tying chains to his car wheels so that it can tread safely on road to Gulmarg.
He said that there was no one to keep a check on the rates.
“Moreover there is no fixed rate anywhere, be it sledge ride, skiing or mobile fruit vendors,” he said.
A newly-wed tourist couple said they was charged Rs. 500 for renting a pair of snow boots for one day.
“There should be a monitoring body who can keep a check over price hike. We wanted to complain but there is no one to whom I may be concerned,” the couple added.
Another local who had come to Gulmarg along with his family said that rates are skyrocketing here. “For the first hour of sledge ride I was charged Rs 400 and Rs 300 for every sub sequent hour,” he said.
“In 2018, stakeholders of tourism business, which even includes sledge-owners, drivers were fined Rs 10.11 lakh for violating the Tourist Trade Act for duping the tourists,” an official of the tourist department said.
“There is a sharp increase as compared to Rs 6.17 lakh penalty recovered by tourist police in 2017,” he said.
Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, Superintendent Tourist Police, Amarjit Singh said that there have already deputed officials to keep check over prices.
“Tourists should contact me whenever they find any inconvenience and there is also our information centre in the main market Tangmarg where contact numbers are displayed and officials are also present,” he said.


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Kashmir

Coming up of new parties, alliances dangerous for Kashmir: Experts

Kashmir News Service

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Srinagar, Jun 19: The coming up of new political parties and alliances ahead of assembly polls can be dangerous for Kashmir as it will lead to the fractured mandate, thereby favouring BJP, experts claim.

On Tuesday former bureaucrat Shah Faesal and independent legislator from Langate Er Abdul Rasheed announced “Peoples United Front” for upcoming assembly polls.

Political pundits, however, believe that the fractured mandate led by such alliances in the upcoming assembly polls was aimed to divide Kashmiris.

 

“It is a very dangerous approach and Kashmiris should not allow the fractured mandate. Those who care about Kashmir should support one party of unit instead of paving way for fractured mandate due to these alliances,” said noted academician and an expert in politics, Sidiq Wahid.

The formation of new political alliances, he said, was a “policy of Government of India for a decade to divide Kashmiris.”

 “I really feel that this new so-called alliance that has been formed is mudding the waters,” Wahid said.

Another expert in politics, Prof Gul Mohammad Wani, said the suspicions and doubts among people will intensify when centres rule is extends its rule to the state.

“Even after holding Panchayat, Municipal election or parliamentary polls either, the government doesn’t seem to be in a mood to hold assembly election in the state as of now,” he said.

Wani however said the emergence of new alliances could be due to failures by the political parties “to allow internal democracy in the state.”

“Mostly leaders or new groups emerge or come out of the existing political parties under such circumstances,” he said.

Wani said that the existing political parties including NC, PDP and Congress require increasing ideological and political space to build credible leadership.

Soon after the formation of new PUF, former chief minister and National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah said the alliance was aimed to divide voters in Kashmir.

He questioned about lack of such alliances in Jammu or Ladakh regions of the state. 

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Srinagar, Sonawari, Awantipora prone to floods: Study

Kashmir News Service

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Srinagar, June 19: Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed abrupt changes in climate over the years. According to a disaster management report, 13 districts in J&K, out of 100 districts in India, have been identified as ‘multi-hazard districts’.

“Majority areas of the valley, especially Sonawari, Awantipora and Srinagar, along with parts of Jammu are prone to floods. Upper catchments of all the tributaries of the Jhelum, Indus, Chenab and Tawi rivers are prone to flash floods,” the report said. All these areas were worst hit by September-2014 floods and are prone to floods.

While the recent study says that out of the 12 states, Assam, Mizoram and Jammu & Kashmir are extremely vulnerable to global warming.

 

“Based on this assessment, the vulnerability index is found to be the highest for Assam (0.72) and Mizoram (0.71), followed by Jammu and Kashmir (0.62), Manipur (0.59), Meghalaya and West Bengal (both 0.58), Nagaland (0.57), Himachal Pradesh and Tripura (0.51 both), Arunachal Pradesh (0.47) and Uttarakhand (0.45). Sikkim is the least vulnerable state with the index being 0.42,” the study says.

It says that, “Several drivers of vulnerability are evident for the state of J&K. These include, in the order of significance, least road density, no area under crop insurance, low area under forests per 1,000 rural households, high percentage of marginal farmers, low percentage area under horticulture crops, low livestock to human ratio and low percentage of women in the overall workforce.”

The study says that climate change is already occurring and impacting natural ecosystems and human societies.

It says, “To reduce these uncertainties and plan towards sustainable development it is essential to adopt evidence based adaptation planning in IHR. This requires an in-depth understanding of the key risks and vulnerabilities derived from scientific assessments.”

The study has been authored by IIT Guwahati Anamika Barua Associate Professor Deptt. of Humanities and Social Science Principal Investigator Rupam Bhaduri Research Scholar Centre for the Environment Vishaka Gulati Research Scholar Deptt. of Humanities and Social Sciences IIT Mandi Shyamasree Dasgupta Assistant Professor School of Humanities and Social Sciences Co – Principal Investigator Kritishnu Sanyal Project Associate School of Humanities and Social Sciences Mir Khursheed Alam Research Scholar School of Humanities and Social Sciences IISc Bangalore N.H. Ravindranath Professor Centre for Sustainable Technologies (CST) Key Resource Person Indu K Murthy Consultant Scientist Centre for Sustainable Technologies Tashina Esteves Research Associate Jagmohan Sharma Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Forest Conservation) Government of Karnataka.

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Massive reshuffle in police, civil admin likely after June 27

Kashmir News Service

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Srinagar, Jun 19: A massive reshuffle in civil and police administration is likely to be ordered anytime after June 27 when the ongoing “Back to village” program launched by Governor’s administration across Jammu and Kashmir will come to an end.

Authoritative sources said that exercise for a massive reshuffle in civil and police administration has been set into motion with the proposals being processed for transfer of senior IAS and IPS officers holding key positions in the state administration. The proposals for deputation of several senior IAS and IPS officers and return of some others from central deputation to Jammu and Kashmir government have been set into motion.

In the likely reshuffle in civil and police administration several administrative secretaries are likely to be relieved of the additional charge of some key departments which they are overseeing presently in addition to their own duties.

 

The reshuffle could be ordered phase wise to dispel the impression about the working of some non-performing officers presently holding key positions as directors of some key departments and deputy commissioners of districts in all the three regions Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh.

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