Srinagar, Mar 25: Asia’s largest tulip garden, which has about 12.5 lakh tulips of 50 varieties in its lap on the banks of world famous Dal Lake in the summer capital, Srinagar, was thrown open for gawking visitors from Sunday, marking the beginning of new tourism season in the Valley.
The Tulip garden in the backdrop of mighty Zabarwan range of mountains, was thrown open for public, including tourists and locals, on Sunday by Minister for Floriculture Javid Mustafa Mir and Minister for Tourism, Tasaduq Hussain Mufti.
On the occasion, Mir said that “all visitors are our guests and their place is in our hearts”.
He also said that Tourism department is taking concerted efforts to promote the state as a major tourism destination and woo domestic as well as foreign tourists to the State.
He also appreciated the Floriculture Department for working hard over the years to make Tulip garden one of the major attractions for tourists.
Many tulip varieties, however, are yet to bloom in the garden, which was opened about a week early then last year due to pleasant weather. Tourists, both local and foreigners, besides local people in long queues were seen waiting for their turn to enter the Tulip garden and enjoy the beauty of blooming tulips on a sunny Sunday.
“I have come here during this time of the year specially to see the Tulip and almond blooms. In my last visit to the valley during summer last year, I was told by many local people that I should visit when the Tulip garden and almond orchards are in full bloom and I am glad that I came here as the beauty of this place is to die for,” Charu Thakur, a resident of Delhi.
“There are 50 varieties of tulips in the garden this year and a total of 12.5 lakh bulbs, adding colour to the landscape at 5,600 feet altitude,” officials said.
Meanwhile, more green space has been created and several new fountains have been installed in the garden, where visitors can enjoy free Wi-Fi access, in addition to many other new facilities. A water channel could also be seen running through the terraces, adding to the beauty of the garden.
The tulip garden has also attracted filmmakers as shooting of various Bollywood films have taken place here in the last 10 years. Earlier known as Siraj Bagh, the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip garden was opened in 2008 by the then Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.
The idea of the garden spread over 30 hectares was conceived to advance the tourism season in the Valley by about two months. The average life span of the tulip flower is three to four weeks, but heavy rains or too much of heat can destroy it.
Last year, a mega 15-day Tulip festival, part of ‘Bahaar-e-Kashmir’ (spring in Kashmir) event was organized by tourism department. But, this year, the events in the garden are being managed by the Floriculture department.
Convoy movement by road in JK to continue: MHA
New Delhi, Feb 17: Movement of paramilitary convoys by road for logistical and operational reasons will continue in Jammu and Kashmir as it is “necessary”, the Home Ministry said Sunday, even though it has increased air support to carry troops to the state.
The statement came after 49 CRPF personnel were killed and five injured on Thursday when a Jaish suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus, part of a 78 vehicle convoy, in the state’s Pulwama district.
In the wake of reports suggesting that the central government has rejected a proposal to ferry personnel of paramilitary forces from the Jammu-Srinagar sector by chopper, the ministry said it has significantly enhanced air courier services in all sectors to cut travel time of troops.
“Movement of convoys by road for logistical and operational reasons has been and will continue to be necessary. This is also the case with the army,” the Home Ministry said.
Reports appeared in a section of the media that air transit facility in the Jammu- Srinagar sector for CRPF troops has not been allowed. This is “untrue”, it said.
“Fact of the matter is, over the last few years, the MHA has significantly enhanced air courier services for CAPFs in all sectors to help troopers cut down on travel time during their journey to and back from home on leave,” it said.
In the Jammu and Kashmir sector, air courier service for transportation of personnel of Central Armed Paramilitary Forces (CAPFs) are already in operation for quite some time.
This initially included the Jammu-Srinagar-Jammu sector. Later, at the request of CAPFs in December 2017, the services were extended to the Delhi-Jammu- Srinagar-Jammu-Delhi sector with seven flights a week.
In December 2018, the ministry had approved enhancement of air support by increasing routes and in the Delhi-Jammu-Srinagar-Jammu-Delhi sector, four flights in a week were added to the Srinagar-Jammu-Srinagar sector. “In addition, air support is provided by the Indian Air Force as and when required. Several sorties were run for the CRPF in January 2019,” the ministry said.
For ‘celebrating’ Pulwama attack: Sedition charges against 4 female students
New Delhi, Feb 17: Four female paramedical students have been slapped with sedition charges after being suspended from a private institute here for allegedly celebrating the Pulwama attack by posting “anti-national” messages on an instant messaging app, officials said Sunday.
The second-year students of the National Institute of Medical Science (NIMS), Talveen Manzoor, Iqra, Zohra Nazir and Uzma Nazir, were suspended for posting on WhatsApp a picture in which they were purportedly seen celebrating the attack in Kashmir that claimed the lives of 49 CRPF personnel.
The picture soon went viral, prompting the university administration to take action.
In the suspension order, the NIMS registrar said, “You have posted an anti-national message on your WhatsApp for celebrating killing of Pulwama attack martyrs. The university will not tolerate and strictly condemns such activities. The act is grave and serious in nature.”
Later, a case was registered against the four students following a complaint by the university administration, a police official said.
The students were booked under IPC sections 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity) and relevant provisions of the Information Technology (IT) Act. Senior officials are investigating the matter and appropriate action will be taken thereafter, SP (Rural) Harendra Kumar said.
The Aligarh Muslim University has also suspended an undergraduate Kashmiri student for his alleged objectionable tweet in connection with the Pulwama attack.
PM on Lethpora attack: ‘Fire in my heart too’
New Delhi, Feb 17: The demand for retaliatory action following the suicide attack in Lethpora grew on Sunday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Bihar to inaugurate some central projects.
As NDA ally Nitish Kumar called for appropriate response, ally Ram Vilas Paswan said India should take “revenge” for “every drop of blood shed in Pulwama”.
The Prime Minister said he shared the nation’s outrage.
“To the people who have gathered here, I would like to say the fire that is raging in your bosoms is in my heart too,” he said.
Forty nine personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force died on Thursday as a suicide bomber of Jaish rammed a car, filled with explosives, into a 78-vehicle convoy.
The resulting explosion had ripped apart one bus and hit another, spreading metal debris and human remains over a 100-metre radius on the national highway.
There have been repeated demands for appropriate action from the shocked nation.
Slain Rajouri CRPF man: Guv announces ex-gratia of Rs 20 lakh
Jammu Feb 17: Governor Satya Pal Malik has announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 20 lakh to the next of the kin of CRPF Head Constable, Naseer Ahmed of district Rajouri.
Naseer Ahmad was one of the 49 CRPF troopers killed when a CRPF convoy was attacked by a suicide bomber.
The Governor prayed for eternal peace of the departed soul and expressed sympathy and solidarity with his family members.