United Nations, Jun 09: Describing India as a “very important inspiration” for the international community, UN chief Antonio Guterres has commended the country for its leadership in a development partnership fund with the UN that he said has emerged as a vital example of deepening South-South cooperation.
Guterres thanked India for its “strong commitment to multilateralism” and to partnership with the United Nations, which he said is expressed in many ways across the global agenda and seen through the activities of this “important” fund.
“India played a very important role in shaping the Sustainable Development Goals. And even before the Goals were crystallized, India’s own development efforts and vision reflected many of the same priorities and aspirations. India is, for all of us, a very important inspiration,” Guterres said in his remarks to an event marking the first anniversary of the India-UN Development Partnership Fund.
“The Fund shows the further deepening of South-South cooperation, an increasingly valuable dimension of our work for development,” the Secretary General said.
The UN Chief, who is expected to visit India later this year, commended India for its “leadership and solidarity”, saying he looks forward to further engagement with the country on the fund.
“And I will have the opportunity soon in Delhi to congratulate the Indian government on this very very important initiative,” he said at the event here on June 8 attended by several UN Ambassadors and diplomats.
The India-UN Development Partnership Fund was launched last year with the aim of assisting projects for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in partner countries. It supports Southern-owned and led, demand-driven, and transformational sustainable development projects across the developing world, with a focus on least developed countries and small island developing states.
The fund is managed by the UN Office for South-South Cooperation and UN agencies implement the Fund’s projects in close collaboration with partnering governments.
The Indian Government has committed an amount of 100 million dollars over ten years.
In April 2018, the Government of India established a separate Commonwealth Window under the Fund aimed at partnership with developing countries in the Commonwealth.
Under this window, an additional sum of USD 50 million over the next five years has been committed for partnerships with developing country members of the Commonwealth.
Projects supporting biomedical waste management in Grenada, clean energy in Tuvalu and census data collection in Vanuatu have been approved under this window.
Guterres said that South-South cooperation between developing nations is not an instrument aimed at replacing North-South cooperation between developed and developing nations.
“South-South cooperation is not an instrument for the commitments that were made by developed countries now to be put aside. South-South cooperation must be a stimulus for an intensified North-South cooperation, for the Addis Ababa agenda to be fully implemented and for everybody to assume their responsibilities in the context of a world in which we want a fair globalization, in which justice prevails in international relations,” he said.
Disputes, lack of funds keep grid stations projects in limbo
Srinagar, May 18: Lack of funds and land disputes over towers have been delaying the completion of several grid stations in Kashmir.
There are several grid stations over which works have been started years ago. However, they are facing inordinate delay due to non-completion of construction of transmission towers, and laying of transmission lines.
One such project is Alastang grid station in Ganderbal district, on which work was started nine years ago.
“Although the work on Alastang grid station has been completed, the authorities have failed to resolve the land dispute for setting up towers over the years and connect Alastang with Zainakote grid. Presently this grid station is non-operational,” an official said.
He added that there is an immense load on Pampore and Zainakote power grids from where electricity is being supplied to Srinagar, Ganderbal, and Pulwama districts.
“Ganderbal gets electricity from Zainakote grid station and mostly remains overloaded,” the official said.
“Had the Alastang grid station been completed, it would have reduced the load on two existing power grids and helped the state to upgrade the power supply in the valley,” he added.
Similarly, an official document reveals that construction of grid station at Ahmedpora in Magam too has been put on hold.
“The work will be started as soon as the funds are released,” the document reads.
Completion of other grid stations at Lassipora Pulwama is also facing delay due to lack of funds or government’s failure in resolving the land disputes over towers.
The official said that existing transformers and power lines are also in bad shape. “There are technical snags in electricity due to poor power infrastructure,” the official added.
In a recent meeting, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan directed for effective monitoring of ongoing works on grid stations and strict adherence to the design, drawing and specifications, and use of quality material for creation of durable assets. He has directed the concerned authorities to submit a proposal for arrangements of funds.
“Chief Engineer System and Operations PDD has been directed to pursue the matter with the concerned authorities for release of funds,” a source privy to the meeting said.
Offices of 12 militant organisations operating from PaK sealed, funding stopped
Srinagar, May 18: The offices of the 12 Kashmiri militant organizations operating from the Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PaK) have been sealed, reported the newspaper Independent Urdu.
The newspaper reported that offices of all 12 organizations affiliated with the United Jihad Council were sealed, while as, the amount of office expenditure in these organizations has also been completely stopped.
Independent Urdu reported that the action has come in the backdrop of mounting pressure by the Financial Action Task Force or FATF.
This is the first time in last 32 years of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir that Pakistan has sealed the offices and also stopped financial assistance.
Recently, Pakistan took 44 members of proscribed organizations, including Mufti Abdul Raoof and Hamad Azhar — the former believed to be the brother of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) leader Masood Azhar and the latter his son — in preventive detention for investigation.
Ronaldo donates $1.5 million to fasting Gazans: Report
Srinagar, May 18: Cristiano Ronaldo has donated $1.5 million to feed people in the besieged Gaza Strip, Palestine, against the backdrop of the holy month of Ramadan, Sputnik News reported.
The Portuguese football star has never hid the fact that he is pro-Palestine, expressing his support for Palestinians several times in the past.
In 2012 the 28-year-old star gave away his Golden Boot Award to the Real Madrid foundation, which subsequently auctioned it off to raise money for building schools in Palestine.
In 2013, he refused to swipe t-shirts with an Israeli player in a display of support for Palestinian rights.
Although he did shake hands, he excused himself by explaining that he could not wear a shirt with that country’s flag, press reported.
The incident occurred at the end of the match between Portugal and Israel for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
A 5-year-old boy Ahmad Daubasha — sole survivor of a Palestinian family attacked by Israeli settlers, was received by Ronaldo in 2016 at the Real Madrid training center, where he photographed himself with the boy, giving him a specially-dedicated t-shirt. The Gaza Strip has been under Israeli land, air and sea blockade since June 2007, greatly impacting living standards, levels of unemployment and increasing poverty.
Palestinians have held weekly rallies along the Gaza border to protest the siege on the enclave and demand the right for refugees to return to their homes they fled during the 1948 creation of Israel.
Pro-Palestinian celebrities range from longtime activists to musicians to younger stars, calling for boycotts of artistic and scientific gatherings, divestment from Israeli businesses, etc.
The Portuguese star is known as one of the most involved in humanitarian work around the world.