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US official to India: Lift curbs, release detainees in Kashmir

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New York: The United States hopes to see rapid action by India to lift restrictions it has imposed in Kashmir and the release of detainees in the Valley, the senior U.S. diplomat for South Asia said on Thursday.

Alice Wells, the acting assistant secretary of state for South Asia, referred to a plan laid out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for restoring political life in Jammu and Kashmir after India last month removed the decades-old autonomy it had enjoyed under India’s constitution.

“I think we are interested in knowing the next steps,” she told reporters. “We hope to see rapid action in the lifting of restrictions and the release of those who have been detained.”

 

Wells added that “a lowering of rhetoric would be welcome, particularly between two nuclear powers.”

Wells spoke after U.S. President Donald Trump met separately with both Modi and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

On Tuesday, Trump urged Modi to improve ties with Pakistan and “fulfill his promise to better the lives of the Kashmiri people,” the White House said.

The previous day Khan had urged Trump in a meeting to use U.S. influence to help end India’s “siege” of the volatile territory.

Trump this week reiterated that he would be willing to mediate between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. Wells said Modi had made clear he was not seeking mediation.

Wells also asked Pakistan why it is only bothered about the human rights of Muslims in Kashmir and is not highlighting the “horrific conditions” which continue to exist for the members of the community throughout China.

Alice Wells, during her special briefing at the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly criticised Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for not speaking out against China, which has detained an estimated one million Uyghurs and other Turkic-speaking Muslims in Xinjiang province.

“I would like to see the same level of concern expressed also about Muslims who are being detained in Western China, literally in concentration-like conditions. And so being concerned about the human rights of Muslims does extend more broadly than Kashmir, and you’ve seen the administration very involved here during the UN General Assembly and trying to shine a light on the horrific conditions that continue to exist for Muslims throughout China,” Wells said.


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Kashmir

J&K Bank lowers interest rate on loans

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Dec 10: J&K Bank has lowered its marginal cost of funds-based lending rate (MCLR) by 0.10 percent for various tenors. The move is in line with the regulators directions to pass on the benefit of reducing cost of funds to the borrowers.

The bank after reviewing the MCLR for different tenors lowered its benchmark one-year MCLR to 8.45 pc from 8.55 pc effective from December 10, 2019.

The marginal cost of funds-based lending rate (MCLR) is the minimum interest rate that a bank can lend at and is a tenor-linked internal benchmark.

 

The Reserve Bank of India introduced the MCLR methodology for fixing interest rates from 1 April 2016. It replaced the base rate structure, which had been in place since July 2010.

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Kashmir

154 snow clearance machines stationed across Kashmir: Div Comm

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Srinagar, Dec 09: In view of inclement weather, the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan today chaired a high level meeting to review arrangements made by the Line Departments.

The meeting was attended by Additional Commissioner, Kashmir, Bilal Ahmad Bhat, Directors of Food, Education & Urban Local Bodies, Chief Engineers of PDD, PHE R&B and PMGSY, Commissioner SMC, Principal GMC, GM JKSRTC, SSP Traffic, Additional Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Joint Director Fire & Emergency, Staff Officer to IGP, SP (Headquarter), Deputy Directors of Health & MET, Superintending Engineers of MED & PDD, SP Traffic (Rural), Executive Engineers of MED, NHAI & BEACON, Senior officers of SKIMS, Project Head RAMKY and other concerned officers of Line Departments were present in the meeting whereas Deputy Commissioners of nine districts of the Kashmir division participated the meeting through video conferencing.

The Divisional Commissioner sought detailed feedback from Deputy Commissioners and officials of concerned Departments regarding stock position of essentials including food grains, LPG, Petrol, Kerosene oil. He also sought present status of electricity & water supply, buffer stock of power transformers, additional water tankers, deployment of snow clearance machines, functioning of Control Rooms of Line Department & Disaster Relief Centers and SDRF, besides heating arrangements in Hospitals, Medical supplies, presence of doctors and paramedic staff in health institutions.

 

The meeting also discussed present status of National Highway, Mughal Road & Srinagar-Leh Road, besides helicopter services and winter dumping of essentials in far-flung areas.

Mechanical Engineering Department (MED) informed the meeting that 154 snow clearance machines were already distributed among the districts.

The Divisional Commissioner directed Mechanical Engineering Department (MED) to gear up their men and machinery. He also directed them to position adequate number of snow clearance machines at various locations.

BEACON AND RAMKY was asked to ensure the timely deployment of men and machines on the Airport and National Highway for snow clearance. The concerned departments were asked to send location-wise details of snow clearance machines to the respective Deputy Commissioners immediately.

SMC Commissioner was directed to frame duty roaster for all Muncipal wards of the city indicating deployment of staff as well as machinery. He was asked to ensure that all measures are put in place to clear snow from lanes and bye-lanes besides deploying de-watering pumps in the low lying areas.

The Divisional Commissioner warned that no laxity in snow clearance operations will be tolerated and any delinquency in this regard will be stringently dealt with.

In order to avoid unscheduled power cuts, The Div Comm directed PDD to adhere to the power scheduled in letter and spirit besides ensuring to enhance the buffer stock of additional transformers at each district.

Chief Engineer PHE will ensure hassle free water supply to the public while augmenting water tanker service.

The Health authorities were asked to ensure adequate heating arrangements, while ensuring sufficient availability of medicines during the winter in all the health intuitions of Kashmir division.

Director Food was directed to ensure availability of kerosene oil to all districts as per schedule.

The Divisional Commissioner directed Deputy Commissioners to conduct surprise inspection of control rooms of concerned departments and ensure their round the clock functioning so that people get real time information about essential services. He directed the concerned DCs to ensure wide-publicity of contact numbers of Control Rooms though print and electronic media.

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Dulloo reviews progress on utility works of AIIMS Jammu, Srinagar

Monitor News Bureau

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Jammu, Dec 9: Financial Commissioner Health & Medical Education Department, Atal Dulloo today chaired a meeting to review the progress on various utility works going on at the AIIMS institutes in Jammu and Srinagar.

The meeting discussed the land acquisition issues, construction of approach road, provision of water supply, electricity, construction of boundary wall and other related aspects of the project.

The FC enjoined upon the officers to work in tandem and close coordination to complete the utility and other construction works at both the places in a time bound manner.

 

The meeting was attended by various officials from Central Public Works Department, Public Health Engineering Department, Power Development Department, Public Works Department, Revenue Department, Director (Coordination), New Medical Colleges Jammu.

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