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Trend shows BJP opposes almost every PDP move

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, May 11: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been confronting, almost routinely, its ruling partner Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since the two joined hands for what is often described as an ‘unholy alliance’ in Jammu and Kashmir.

The latest is the BJP’s opposition to the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s announcement of appealing New Delhi to enforce a unilateral ceasefire in Kashmir in view of Ramadan and Amarnath pilgrimage.

She had made the announcement after an all-party meeting convened by her to discuss the growing crisis in Kashmir Valley.

 

Just a day after the meeting, the BJP rejected it, saying, “Her decision wasn’t in the nation’s interest.”

The issue has put both the coalition partners at the loggerheads with members of both the parties taking on each other.

“Their objection won’t matter when the decision is for the people’s welfare and accepted by all others parties,” the PDP spokesperson Rafi Ahmad Mir said.

Prior to it, the Chief Minister had to face embarrassment on the Kathua rape and murder case in which she supported Crime Branch investigation, which was again opposed by the BJP.

On February 14, after a group of people led by a BJP leader took out a protest in favour of an accused Hindu police official in the case, the CM tweeted: “Appalled by the marches & protests in defense of the recently apprehended rapist in Kathua. Also horrified by their use of our national flag… this is nothing short of desecration.”

Following public outrage, Mufti reportedly forced two BJP ministers to resign from her cabinet.

However, later Chaudhary Lal Singh, former Forest and Ecology minister, reorganized rallies and demanded resignation of the Chief Minister.

“Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti must take responsibility of the incident and quit,” he had said.

Earlier this year in February, the BJP also snubbed Chief Minister for calling a dialogue between India and Pakistan to end the civilian casualties in cross-border firing and militant violence.

The BJP called a press conference by its spokesperson Sunil Sethi who took on Chief Minister by saying that “amidst the sound of bullets and missiles and spilt blood, a certain class is advocating for talks between Pakistan and India and advocating that latter must take forward step for it”.

“It is not at all suitable at the time when Pakistan is openly supporting militants for carrying out attacks in the state and especially when the slain militants who attacked Sunjwan military station hailed from across the border,” he has said.

 Since the last two years of Chief Minister, Article 370 has been constantly debated between the coalition partners, with both expressing divergent views on the issue.

In 2017, Mufti said that the “anybody weakening Article 370, which grants special status to the state, will be doing the biggest anti-national act.”

The statement was responded differently by the former Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh then who asserted that Article 370 has caused harm to Jammu and Kashmir and called for abrogation of the provision.

“The Article 370 has done more harm than anything. The BJP had set 44 plus target in last state assembly elections which the party could not achieve and got only 25 seats. If we would have got 44 plus, things would have been different,” Singh has said.

The BJP asserted that Article 35-A of the Constitution, which grants special status to the State is “not a sacred cow that cannot be touched“.

In 2016, soon after when Mehbooba Mufti took over as the Chief Minister of the state, controversies started between BJP and PDP over issues of Sainik Colonies and abrogation of Article- 35 A.

On the floor of the house, the Chief Minister said that the state government had no proposal for Sainik colonies and the exclusive colonies for migrated Pandits.

However, BJP continued supporting the idea of settling Kashmiri Pandits in transit accommodation and setting up of Sainik colonies.

“BJP is in favour of setting up Sainik Colony in Kashmir as well as resettlement of Kashmiri Pandits. If a Sainik Colony can be set up in Jammu, why not in Kashmir?” BJP National Secretary, Shrikant Sharma, has said.


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Rehab policy for KPs being formulated: Guv

Flags off electric buses in Sgr

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Jul 19: Governor Satya Pal Malik Friday said that government is in the process of formulating a policy for rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrant Pandits in the valley.
“A policy is being formulated for rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits (KPs). You will get more details very soon,” Malik told reporters at the sidelines of a function to launch electric buses and release coffee table book on livestock breeding policy.
The return of the Kashmiri migrants to valley was a part of the 2008 Prime Minister financial package of Rs 1,618 crore.
Under this package Rs 7.5 lakh financial assistance was to be given to any family which will undertake renovation/reconstruction of their houses located in the valley. Besides other things, nearly 6,000 government jobs were to be provided to Kashmiri pandits in the valley.
Official figures reveal that around 41,117 migrant families from Kashmir are registered in Jammu and 21,000 others in Delhi and other states. Of the total migrant families living in Jammu, 37,128 are Hindus, 2,246 Muslims and 1,758 Sikhs.
Figures released by Kashmir Pandit Sangrash Simiti (KPSS), an apex body of non-migrant Pandits, reveal that there are 808 Kashmir Pandit families comprising 3464 people residing in the valley. Non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits are living in 292 locations and most of them are putting up in four districts of south Kashmir.
Minister of State for Home Affairs, G Kishan Reddy recently told the Parliament that Government is taking a number of steps for relief and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits.
“Under the Prime Minister’s Development Package announced on November 7, 2015, the Government of India has approved creation of 3,000 additional State Government jobs for the Kashmiri migrants at a cost of Rs 1,080 crore and construction of 6,000 transit accommodations in the Kashmir Valley at a cost of Rs. 920 crore,” Reddy said.
ELECTRIC BUSES: Speaking on the occasion, Governor observed that the start of electric bus service is a step forward towards providing eco-friendly public transportation with modern facilities to the commuters in the region.
He emphasized on using E-Buses to abate pollution levels and urged people to largely utilise public transport for their daily travel in a bid to contribute towards environment preservation.
On Jammu & Kashmir Livestock Breeding Policy, 2019, Governor noted that the Policy is the first of its kind in the State that aims to increase both the production and productivity of livestock, fish and poultry in Jammu and Kashmir besides generating higher returns for the people engaged in this sector.
Governor congratulated the Department of Animal, Sheep Husbandry and Fisheries for bringing out the Livestock Breeding Policy and observed that J&K’s climate is ideal for the growth of livestock and poultry and if managed scientifically, these sectors have potential to increase the farmer’s income manifold.
Arvind Ganpat Sawant, Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises said that the fleet of E-Buses will contribute in reducing the pollution levels.
He said that the Central Government is taking several initiatives to meet the challenges of environmental threats by focussing on improving the quality of mass transportation.
Sawant appreciated the State Government for introducing a Livestock Breeding Policy to improve quality of livestock and promote the welfare of the farming community.

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Guv to hoteliers, houseboat owners: Install STPs or your licenses will be cancelled

Mudassir Kuloo

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Dying Dal - A Kashmiri woman carries forage as she rows her boat through weed-filled Dal Lake in Srinagar – Photo: KM/Umar Ganie

Srinagar, Jul 19: Blaming hotel and houseboat owners for polluting Dal Lake, Governor Satya Pal Malik Friday asked them to install Sewerage Treatment Plants (STPs) otherwise their licences would be cancelled.

Expressing concern over deteriorating condition of Dal Lake, Malik said that untreated sewage coming from hotels and houseboats was directly flowing into the famed lake.

“See the condition of Dal Lake. We are going to cancel licences of those who fail to install STPs. We will restore its lost glory within 18 months. People living in the lake will also be rehabilitated,” the Governor said.

 

Malik was addressing people at the launch of electric buses and releasing of coffee table book on livestock breeding policy, at SKICC.
He also expressed concern over the condition of old Srinagar city.“Down Town Srinagar has not been on the priority list of town planners. They are oblivious to the condition of lanes and by-lanes. People live in poverty in down town,” the Governor said.

Apparently backtracking from government’s recent announcement that Srinagar and Jammu would get metro rails in four years, he said: “We have to start transport which is viable and benefit the city. Are metro rails possible? There has to be a proper transport planning first.”

Malik also stressed on plying of pollution free vehicles. “There is zero-percent pollution at Dachigam. There was a proposal for allowing trekking, picnic and marriage functions at Dachigam which I did not allow,” he said
He also called for promotion of live-stock sector in the Valley.

Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Arvind Ganpat Sawant said electric buses would considerably reduce the pollution levels. “The Centre will provide all possible help to the state. These electric buses will also provide employment to the youth who will run the charging points,” he said.

Advisors to Governor S Skandan, KK Sharma Principal Secretary Animal/Sheep Husbandry, Fisheries and Transport Department Dr Asgar Hassan Samoon also spoke on the occasion.

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Second-hand smoke exposure highest in JK, says new study

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir has earned the dubious distinction of having the highest second hand smoke exposure in the country.

Secondhand smoke (or passive smoking) is the tobacco smoke that is exhaled by smokers or is given off by burning tobacco and is inhaled by persons nearby.

Quoting ‘Global Adult Tobacco Survey’, Senior Technical Advisor, Tobacco Control Union, South-East Asia Office, Ashish Kumar Pandey said: “The second hand smoke exposure has been found highest in J&K.”

 

Quoting the findings of the study at a workshop titled “State level inception cum sensitization under National Tobacco Control Programme”, he said: “More than 70 percent of non-smokers are exposed to tobacco smoking at home. Almost 55 percent are exposed to second-hand smoking at their workplaces.”

Explaining about the harmful effects of second hand smoke, he said: “This kind of smoke is dangerous to anyone who breathes it in. It involves carcinogens and other toxic components. It can stay in the air for several hours after somebody smokes.”

“From hair to toe nail, none of the body part remains unaffected because of the tobacco use. Besides, exposure to secondhand smoke during pregnancy increases the risk of still birth, congenital malformations, low birth-weight and respiratory illnesses.”

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), smoking tobacco is globally the second leading cause of heart diseases after high blood pressure. Nearly 12 per cent of cardiovascular deaths worldwide occur due to tobacco abuse and second-hand smoking.

The global health body states that of the seven million lives that tobacco claims worldwide each year, almost 900,000 are passive-smokers
On this occasion, Principal Secretary, Health and Medical Education Atul Dulloo said: “Figures show that in the recent years, the state has witnessed 2-3 per cent decline in the tobacco use. This percentage is not satisfactory.”

“The implementation of Cigarette and other Tobacco Act, 2003 in letter and spirit still remains a challenge. Also the National Tobacco Control Programmes need to be extended to all the districts of J&K. Tobacco kills, should be ingrained in the mind of every person,” he said.

The workshop was also attended by Director Health Services Dr Kunzes Dolma, Commissioner Food Safety J&K Vinod Sharma, Dr Rehana Kausar officer-in-charge (NTCP) Department of Health Services, Srinagar and several stake holders from Health Services.

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