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Year after PM laid foundation stone, Srinagar ring road project fails to take off

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Jun 11: A year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid its foundation stone, the work on the ambitious Srinagar ring road project is yet to take off as the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has failed to acquire the land for the project.
On May 19, 2018 Prime Minister laid the foundation stone of Rs 939.41 crore semi-ring road project with much fanfare.
However, the work on the project has yet to start in Kashmir. On the other hand, the work on the Jammu ring road is in full swing.
A source in NHAI told The Kashmir Monitor that authorities have shown “least interest” to start the work on the project.
“The NHAI authorities have failed to resolve the issue with the farmers over dispute on the land compensation,” he said.
At least 4730 kanals of agriculture land is required for the ring road project in the Valley. Of which 3661 kanals of agriculture land is required in Budgam, 379 kanals in Pulwama, 202 kanals in Srinagar, 150 kanals in Baramulla, 160 kanals in Bandipora and 176 kanals in Ganderbal.
Project Director, NHAI, Ghulam Qadir said the problems in acquiring land are the main reasons for delay in starting the work on the project.
“The project will be started once the land is acquired from the farmers. The land owners are seeking higher rates for their land,” he said.
A land owner of Budgam said the government was paying them very less compensation compared to the market value of the land.
“We should be paid according to the market value. We are not against the project but we need to be paid commensurate to the market value,” the land owner said.
The land owners have been demanding an ordinance so that present Land Acquisition law of Jammu and Kashmir is repealed and new one is brought in place enabling “fair compensation during acquisition”.
According to the detailed project report, the ring road for Srinagar will start from Galander and connect the highway at Narbal Junction in the Phase-I. The road would be four-lane with six-lane future projection.
Under the Phase-II of the project, a two-lane road will start from Narbal and connect Ganderbal.
The project is likely to cost Rs 1195 crore in Phase-I and Rs 448 crore in Phase-II.
The road length in the Phase-I will be 34.72 kilometers and in the Phase-II 27.2 kilometers. There will be a Toll Plaza at Narbal Junction.
In the proposed four-lane road project from Galander to Narbal, there will be 155 culverts, two road-over bridges, two flyovers, five major junctions, 17 minor junctions and one Toll Plaza.
The two-lane road from Narbal to Ganderbal will have 135 culverts, five major junctions and nine minor junctions.
The 42.10 km project with a cost of Rs 939.41 crore was awarded to Ramky Infrastructure and was supposed to be completed in 36 months. When completed, the Ring Road, Bypass would traverse through 52 villages and five districts including Pulwama, Budgam, Baramulla, Srinagar and Bandipora.


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Azad on Jharkhand lynching: Keep new India with you, give us old India

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New Delhi, Jun 24: Coming down heavily on the government over recent incidents of lynching and crime in Jharkhand, leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday said the state has become a factory of lynching and violence, “requesting” Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “give us our Old India where there was love, culture.”

“Dalits and Muslims are killed there every week. The PM, we are with you in the fight of ‘Sabka saath sabka vikas’, but it should be there for people to see it. We can’t see it anywhere,” Azad said in Rajya Sabha.

“I request you to keep the New India to yourself and give us our Old India where there was love, culture. Hindus used to feel the pain when Muslims and Dalits used to get hurt. When something used to get into the eyes of Hindus, Muslims and Dalits used to shed tears for them,” he added.

 

“In Old India, there was no hatred, anger or lynching. New India is one where humans are enemies of each other. You won’t be scared of animals in a jungle, but you’ll be scared of humans in a colony. Give us India where Hindus, Muslims,Sikhs and Christians live for each other,” he said.

In yet another lynching incident, a Muslim man was beaten up mercilessly for over 18 hours on the suspicion of theft in Jharkhand’s Kharsawan district on Saturday. The 24-year-old victim, identified as Tabrez Ansari, was attacked by a mob on June 18 and was later handed over to the police. He had been in the judicial custody since June 18 and was taken to a hospital on June 22 after his condition deteriorated. On the same day, Ansari succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.

Several videos of the incident emerged on social media show a man hitting Tabrez brutally with a wooden stick while forcing him to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Hanuman”. The videos of the Jharkhand mob lynching case have gone viral on social networking sites ever since the incident came to the light.

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GoI approves amendments to give more teeth to NIA

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New Delhi, Jun 24: The Union Cabinet is learnt to have approved a proposal to amend two laws to give more teeth to the NIA in probing ‘terror’ cases in India and abroad, sources said Monday.

Separate bills will be introduced in Parliament in the coming days to amend the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, they said.

The amendments will also allow the NIA probe cybercrimes and cases of human trafficking, sources aware of the proposal said.

 

Amendment to Schedule 4 of the UAPA will allow the NIA to designate an individual suspected to have ‘terror links as a terrorist’. As of now, only organisations are designated as ‘terrorist organisations’.

The NIA was set up in 2009 in the wake of the Mumbai attack that had claimed 166 lives.

Since 2017, the Union Home Ministry has been considering the two laws to give more power to the NIA to meet fresh challenges, the sources pointed out.

Another proposal to introduce a bill to extend the facility of proxy voting to overseas Indians could not be taken up Monday.

A similar bill had lapsed following the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha last month.

“The agenda of the Law Ministry stands postponed,” a functionary said.

As of now, overseas Indians are free to cast their votes in constituencies they are registered.

The Bill seeks to give them the option of proxy voting, which is as of now available to service personnel only.

Another proposal to amend the Representation of the People Act related to the spouses of service voters could not be taken up on Monday.

As of now, an armyman’s wife is entitled to be enrolled as a service voter, but a woman army officer’s husband is not, according to the provisions in the electoral law.

The bill proposes to replace the term ‘wife’ with ‘spouse’, thus making the provision gender-neutral. Members of the armed forces, central armed police forces, personnel of state police forces posted outside their state and employees of the Centre posted outside India are eligible to be enrolled as service voters.

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Youths click selfies, walk alongside Leopard in Kishtwar

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Srinagar, Jun 24: Pointing towards the increasing man-animal conflict is J&K, a video that went viral on Monday shows a few youth carelessly walking right alongside a leopard on a tarred road while clicking photos and videos in some mountainous region.

The incident reportedly took place in Chingam area of Kishtwar district. The video shows at least three youth audaciously ambling near the leopard that, surprisingly, isn’t aggressive.

The incident comes to the fore      days after days after two leopards were spotted in residential areas of Budgam and Srinagar.

 

Deputy conservator of forests, wild life division, Kashmir, Rouf Zargar had told The Kashmir Monitor that one female leopard and an adult cub were spotted at Ompora, Budgam.

“They were spotted in the adjacent villages of Budgam and Airport. We are doing our best to trace them. Till the time we catch those, people should refrain from moving out during nights and in the wee hours,” he said.

There has been a spike in man-animal conflict in the last few years with several incidents of attacks by bears and leopards taking place in multiple areas of the valley.

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