Sunday, December 21, 2014

JK election results tomorrow

 Stage is set for the penultimate round of the five-phased polls in Jammu and Kashmir in which the fate of 182 candidates including two chief ministerial aspirants and Speaker of the Assembly will be sealed tomorrow.
Over 14.73 lakh voters including 7.05 lakh females are eligible to exercise their franchise at 1,890 polling stations in four districts of the state – Srinagar, Anantnag, Shopian (Kashmir Valley) and Samba (Jammu region).
All eyes will be on the eight constituencies of Srinagar– currently being represented by the National Conference (NC)– as the voter turnout has generally remained low in the district along with some parts of Anantnag and Shopian.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is contesting from Sonwar Assembly segment of Srinagar after he chose not to contest from his family stronghold of Ganderbal constituency.
Omar was also in fray from Beerwah seat, in central Kashmir’s Budgam district, which went to polls in the third phase.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron and party chief ministerial candidate Mufti Mohammad Sayeed is seeking re-election from Anantnag constituency in south Kashmir.
Depending on the eventual party positions in terms of seats won, either Omar or Sayeed is likely to be the front-runner for the chief minister’s post.
Other prominent candidates who are in fray include J&K Assembly Speaker Mubarak Gul, Omar’s close confidante Nasir Aslam Wani, Congress ministers Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed and Ghulam Ahmad Mir, and PDP’s Abdul Rehman Veeri and Altaf Bukhari.
The campaign in the four districts was by and large peaceful but militants hurled a grenade at a police station in Anantnag town on Thursday, resulting in injuries to three policemen. The ultras also planted an IED under a culvert in Shopian district on the same day but the explosive was detected by security forces and defused by a bomb disposal squad.
Security arrangements in all the four districts have been strengthened to ensure peaceful polling.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, Union Minister of State Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, cricketer-turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu and Bollywood actor and party MP Vinod Khanna campaigned for BJP candidates in the seats going to polls in the fourth phase.
The BJP, which is making its first serious bid for power in Jammu and Kashmir, has come out all guns blazing to make its presence felt in the Valley.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and Pradesh Congress Committee president Saifuddin Soz also campaigned for their candidates.
Omar, working president of the NC, was the only star campaigner for his party in the absence of his father and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah, who is undergoing medical treatment in London.
Omar crisscrossed the four districts to campaign for his party candidates including himself.
PDP’s Sayeed and party president Mehbooba Mufti also campaigned for their party candidates.
Of the 18 seats going to polls tomorrow, the ruling NC had won nine in 2008 while the opposition PDP bagged six seats. Congress had won two seats while National Panthers Party clinched the Samba seat in Jammu region.
With the fourth phase, the polling process will come to an end in Kashmir Valley as all the 20 seats going to polls in the fifth and the last phase on December 20 are in Jammu region.

Chillai Kalan Begins in Kashmir

The 40-day chilliest part of winter in Kashmir, Chillai-Kalan, began today on a warmer note as night temperatures rose across the Valley.
Chillai-Kalan, is the period when the chances of snowfall are maximum and most frequent and temperatures remain mostly below zero.
People mostly stay indoors during this chilliest part of winter as day temperature also dips drastically with night temperature being mostly below freezing leading to freezing of most of the water bodies including the famous Dal Lake.
Though minimum temperatures continued to remain below the freezing point, they went up by several degrees across the division, increasing the chances of snowfall in the region which has seen dry weather so far.
There was light snowfall in Gulmarg and other upper reaches of Kashmir valley making people to shiver with the cold as icy winds were blowing across Kashmir.
The MeT office spokesman here forecast widespread rains or isolated snowfall over the next 24 hours. He said the minimum temperature increased by over two degrees in Srinagar as the city recorded a low of minus 1.8 degree Celsius, compared to the previous night’s minus 4.4 degree Celsius.
The spokesman said that Pahalgam in South Kashmir recorded a low of minus 2.4 degree Celsius, up by over three degrees from minus 6.2 degree Celsius recorded the previous night.
The minimum temperature in Qazigund increased by four degrees from minus 5.8 degree Celsius the previous night to settle at a low of minus 1.8 degree Celsius. Kokernag recorded minus 1.7 degree Celsius”, the spokesman said.
“Gulmarg recorded a minimum of minus 2.8 degree Celsius, as against the previous night’s minus 3.4 degree Celsius. The spokesman said that Kupwara town recorded a low of minus 4.3 degree Celsius”, the spokesman said.
The spokesman said that minimum temperature in Leh was recorded at minus 6.0 degree Celsius, over seven degrees up from the previous night’s minus 13.9 degree Celsius. “Kargil registered an increase of over three degrees from the previous night’s low of minus 13 degree Celsius to settle at minus 9.6 degree Celsius”, the spokesman added.
This year, chill is more and some people attribute it to the September floods that ravaged Kashmir valley.
Meanwhile, chilly weather conditions for the fourth consecutive day with mercury much below the normal and no sunshine, kept the people indoor today and resorting to different means for warmth in Jammu.
As there was also no improvement in the prevailing foggy conditions, Rail traffic remained disrupted due to poor visibility and maximum trains reached here late behind the scheduled time. However, there was no disruption in flights, which were on time, official sources informed the News.
Almost negligible change was registered in maximum and minimum temperature in Jammu on Sunday in comparison to that of yesterday. Jammu today registered 11.8 degree Celsius day temperature, which was still much below the normal thus triggering cold wave conditions across the region. The minimum temperature witnessed a slight fall from 4.8 degree Celsius (Saturday) to 4.5 degree Celsius (Sunday).
Due to fog and consequent poor visibility, maximum trains were late in their arrival at Jammu. Jammu Mail and Pooja Express reached at 11.30 am and 12.25 noon, respectively, instead of their scheduled time 9.30 am and 8 am, respectively. Sealdah was late by four hours, Jhelum by five hours, Varanasi Express by six hours and Archana Express by eight hours. Similarly other trains were also late in arrival.

Late arrival of trains led to rescheduling of their departure also and therefore passengers had to wait for hours together.
However, there was no disruption in Air traffic and all flights were on time.
According to the Metrology Department, the prevailing cold wave is likely to further intensify in the forthcoming days. Light rains and snow may occur at isolated places in the next 24 hours, Met official said.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Last Phase of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly polls

20 constituencies spread over Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri districts of Jammu region are going to polls.

Braving winter chill, a little more than 12 per cent of the electorate on Saturday exercised their franchise in the first two hours of polling in 20 constituencies in the final phase of elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
“12.09 per cent of voting has been registered in first two hours of polling till 1000 hours in 20 segments of Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri districts”, an official spokesman said.
Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand and four of his Cabinet colleagues are among the 312 candidates whose fate will be decided in the third phase of polling on Saturday in the 20 seats spread across Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri districts.
At many places, voters lined up at polling stations much before the start of the voting time at 8 a.m.
Despite cold weather, people were seen marching towards the polling booths and long queues of electorate were seen outside the polling booths to exercise their franchise.
In Bishnah constituency at polling station 27, out of the total 640 votes, 72 have already been cast in the first hour of polling. At polling Station 28, out of 706 votes, 81 have already been cast.
Similarly, in Suchategarh constituency, at polling station 23, out of 1,009, 107 have already been cast, whereas, in polling station 28, out of 940 votes, 122 have already been cast during the first hour.
Giving details, election officials said while Akhnoor border constituency in Jammu district witnessed the highest 19.26 per cent of the voters casting their ballot, Rajouri segment registered lowest 4.61 per cent voting.
R.S. Pura border constituency saw 19 per cent of the electorate exercising their franchise, Nagorta 17 per cent while Raipur Domana saw over 16.69 per cent voters casting their ballot, Chhamb and Suchetgarh polled 16 percent each.
Similarly, Bani recorded 15.22 per cent, Hiranagar 15.02 per cent, Bishnah 14 per cent, Marh 12 per cent, Kathua 11.71 per cent, Basholi 11 per cent, Billawar 10.25 and Gandhinagar and Jammu East polled 10 per cent votes.
Besides these, Jammu West and Noushera polled 9 per cent votes followed by 8.50 per cent polling in Darhal and 7.15 per cent in Kalakote.

Holiday on Kabir Jayanti preponed

 Restricted holiday for the Jammu province on account of Kabir Jayanti will be observed on June 23 (Sunday) instead of June 25 (Tuesday).
An order in this regard was issued by the General Administration Department.

BJP candidates attacked by PDP in Nowshera, Billawar

BJP candidate from Nowshera constituency, Ravinder Raina and another activist, were injured after he was attacked by some PDP activists near Lamberi late this evening.
Sources said that incident took place when PDP workers were reportedly distributing some items and cash among voters near Lamberi. The BJP candidate Raina along with some of his supporters rushed there after coming to know about the mater. When the BJP activists reached there, some people at the site resorted to stone pelting on them. It was darkness and Safari vehicle of Mr Raina was damaged in stoning.
The BJP activists also retaliated but rivals were more in number. They had Tata Mobile vehicle with them also hit the Safari of BJP candidate  Raina and his associate Manjit Singh were injured in the attack and were removed to Nowshera hospital.
A large number of BJP activists rushed to hospital after coming to know about the attack on Raina. They started protest against PDP candidate Surinder Choudhary and Police. The BJP candidate was later referred to GMC Hospital Jammu. In view of tension, the local administration deployed more police men.
SSP Rajouri, Dr Haseeb Mughal when contacted said that in clash between the BJP and PDP activists over an issue of alleged distribution of some items and cash at Lamberi, the BJP candidate Ravinder Raina and his associate were injured. He said in the incident of stone pelting at the site, one Manjit Singh was hit at the head while Raina on his shoulder. He said  the doctors at Nowshera hospital referred him to GMC hospital Jammu. He said that police has taken cognizance of the matter and investigation has been started.
Meanwhile, some goonda elements believed to be the supporters of Congress candidate from Billawar Dr Manohar Lal Sharma allegedly attacked BJP candidate Dr Nirmal Singh’s vehicle at Thara Kalwal in Billawar late this evening. The goons damaged vehicle, but Dr Singh escaped unhurt.
A party spokesman said that Mamta Singh, wife of  Dr Nirmal Singh has lodged a complaint with the Election Commission of India in this regard.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

203 snow trapped civilians rescued

130 Helicopter Unit – The Condors, of Indian Air Force (IAF) stationed at Jammu yet again undertook a demanding operation of rescuing stranded people from the inaccessible villages of Kishtwar region of J and K.
Braving piercing snow waves, and extreme cold conditions, IAF’s MI-17 choppers in assistance with the local administration airlifted 203 stranded people in 10 sorties from remote parts of Kishtwar region where they had been trapped for the past two days.
The operation was carried out under the captainship of Wing Commander Suresh Tiwari and Co-pilot Wing Commander Anup Sharma and Sqn Ldr Shiv. The aircraft took off at 7:30 AM and continued with the operations in the freezing temperature of minus -10 degree Celsius.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Grenade Attack in Anantnag

At least seven persons including two policemen were injured when suspected militants hurled a grenade towards army vehicle in south Kashmir’s Anantnag township.

Eyewitnesses and police officials said the suspected militants threw a powerful grenade towards army vehicle near Super Bazar in Lal chowk area. “The grenade exploded on the road near the parked army vehicle resulting into the injuries to at least seven pedestrians including two cops. The tyres and the oil tank of the army vehicle also suffered damage,” eyewitnesses said.

The injured were immediately taken to district hospital Anantnag where they are being treated. “We received seven persons with splinter injuries. Six of them were discharged after being provided treatment while a cop is still under observation,” said medical superintendent, DH, Anantnag, Dr Fazil Kochak.

The injured have been identified as Mohammad Ashraf Wani son of Ghulam Rasool Wani of Daksum, Firdos Ahmad Deka son of Mohammad Ramzan Deka of Daksum, Imtiyaz Ahmad Mir son of Abdul Gani of Munghal Anantnag, Dr Mohammad Ibrahim Chicken of Sarnal Anantnag, Mubarak Ahmad Shiek son of Gulzar Ahmad of Dandi Pora Kokernag, Imtiyaz Ahmad Malik son of Ghulam Rasool of Khriwan Anantnag and a police man Mohmmad Abdullah.

Talking to media men, senior Superintendent of police, Anantnag, R K Jala, said that seven persons including two cops who were on routine duty in the market suffered injuries in the grenade explosion.

He also claimed to have solved the case of grenade attack on police station on Sunday evening.
“We have arrested four persons involved in grenade throwing on police station. Two more people involved in the attack are still on run and hunt is on to nab them too. We are hopeful of their arrest very soon,” SSP told media men.

He identified the involved persons as Mukhtar Ahmad of Dangar pora Anantnag, Irshad Ahmad Dar of Malaknag, Amir Salati of Reshi Bazar and Muzaffar Ahmad of Pulwama.

He also said that today’s grenade attack on army vehicle was in retaliation to the arrest of the four persons involved in grenade attack on police station a day before.

“From last two days it seems that militants are trying to revive their activities in the town but we will not allow them to succeed in their designs,” the top cop of the district said.

Karan Singh Visited Kheer Bhawani

Member Parliament, Dr. Karan Singh today visited Mata Kheer Bhawani shrine.
Accompanied by MLC Vijay Bakaya Dr Singh enquired about the status of Sewerage Treatment Plant for which the Union Ministry of Tourism has already spent Rs 80 lakh. The MP said he would take up the matter of payment of the balance amount with the Centre as soon as he returns back to Delhi. He was glad to see that the whole complex of the Mata Kheer Bhawani shrine was well maintained.
During his visit, Dr. Karan Singh went to the ancient Shiva temple at Gupt Ganga, which for many years has been used as transport headquarters by the CRPF. He said that the trust has already moved for the vacation of this property and thereafter the area will be developed, the Kund cleaned and the temple renovated so that it becomes a tourist attraction for the people who visit Mughal Garden every year.
He urged the Centre and the State Governments to take urgent steps to check pollution of the Dal Lake which is an essential part of the Kashmir eco system and for many centuries has been the main tourist attraction.

Anti Tobacco Day

Our country is the second largest tobacco producing and fourth largest tobacco consuming country in the world. Controlling tobacco problem in India is therefore more difficult and demands extraordinary campaign to save the innocent people from its dangerous effects. Organizations and NGOs have together made a documentary to be circulated in the entire country that visually depicts the disastrous consequences of tobacco consumption. In India tobacco is used not only for smoking but also in gutkas, chewing, huqqa, bidi and snuffing etc. Thus its disastrous effects are more widespread in the country. Unfortunately while there is much of propaganda against the consumption of tobacco as injurious to health, tobacco-producing companies are resorting to many clever and subtle ways of continuing the propaganda for use of tobacco. This has been brought to the notice of the civil society by the NGOs who met in Delhi on the occasion of the World Anti Tobacco Day.

It is now established that tobacco is most injurious to health and should be avoided at all costs. Governments have issued instructions and in most of the countries in the Western world these instructions are faithfully carried out. But in our country people addicted to the consumption of tobacco in different ways are thick skinned and may not change that soon. Therefore more stringent legislation needs to be made to deter them from the use of this dangerous material. A strong nationwide campaign is perhaps needed to help reduce consumption of tobacco. It has been seen that in our country mostly the illiterate and backward people are addicted to tobacco consumption.  Awareness and education alone can help in the eradication of this evil.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Katra Railway Station will be linked with Major States

Ahead of the launch of prestigious Udhampur-Katra rail project, a high level team of senior officers of Railways headed by Railways Board Chairman Vinay Mittal today had a detailed survey of Udhampur-Katra track including Tunnel No. 1, the major hurdle in the prestigious project after which Mr Mittal announced that the train would reach Katra in August or September this year.

Top official sources told the News Agency that the Railways Ministry, whose additional charge is presently being held by CP Joshi after the exit of Pawan Kumar Bansal in much publicized Railways bribery scam, wanted to get Udhampur-Katra railway project inaugurated at the hands of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh during his June 25 visit to the Kashmir Valley.

“The team wanted to explore whether it would be feasible to run the trains up to Katra after inauguration of the new rail project by the Prime Minister,’’ sources said, adding that the team inter-acted with the local officials, Railway engineers, experts and those engaged in execution of the project to get detailed appraisal of the project.

However, Mr Mittal ruled out such a possibility saying the train would reach Katra in August or September this year.

“All hurdles in the extension of rail track from Udhampur to Katra have been removed. Problems at Tunnel No. 1 ahead of Udhampur have also been overcome. Now the work is in progress of laying track and, hopefully, the train will reach Katra in August-September,’’ he said while speaking to reporters in Udhampur.
Replying to a question, Mr Mittal said 150 to 200 more long distance trains were being equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) while anti-collision devices were also being installed in the trains.

He added that finishing touches were being given to Banihal-Qazigund main railway tunnel.
To a question on frequent delay in arrival of trains, Mr Mittal attributed it to single track at most of the places. He said the long distance as well as local trains run on same track. Unless there were separate tracks for long distance and local trains, some problems would remain, he said, adding that separate track was being laid for goods trains.

The team would submit a detailed report to the Railways Ministry in the next couple of days on the position of Udhampur-Katra rail track.

The team headed by Railways Board Chairman Vinay Mittal comprised Northern Railways General Manager VK Gupta, Divisional Railways Manager, NC Goyal, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager, Ferozepur Division MM Singh and Divisional Traffic Manager, Jammu, Ram Nath Meena.

The team inspected Tunnel No. 1 on Udhampur-Katra track, which had become a major bottleneck in launch of the rail project to Katra town, the base camp of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi ji shrine. The project would have been completed much back but for the problems that cropped up in the construction of Tunnel No. 1.

However, most of the problems that emerged in the construction of tunnel have been overcome and the track was now almost ready barring minor hiccups but, sources said, the Railways authorities didn’t want to take any chances. They wanted the project to be inaugurated only when the trains were able to chug smoothly on the track especially if it had to be inaugurated by no less a person than the Prime Minister himself.

Sources said the Department was mulling to extend Jammu Mail and Samparak Kranti, both Jammu-New Delhi trains to Katra from Udhampur, Delhi-Pathankot Express from Pathankot (Punjab) to Katra and introduce new trains including Katra-Kalka (Chandigarh) Express (bi-weekly), Delhi Sarai Rohilla-Udhampur Express,  (fully air conditioned) and Ahmedabad-Udhampur Express initially.

Besides a set of local trains from Jammu to Katra and Pathankot to Katra could also be introduced to clear the rush of Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrims from Jammu and Pathankot to Katra. At the later stage, more trains could be introduced to Katra or extended from Jammu and Udhampur.

Sources said the trains would link Katra to various major stations of India.
Worthwhile to mention here that the Prime Minister is scheduled to inaugurate Banihal-Qazigund railway line during his June 25 visit to Kashmir along with Mughal Road. The Railways Ministry wanted to explore the possibility on whether the project could be ready for inauguration on June 25.

The high level Railways team headed by the Chairman Railways Board that inspected railway track at Udhampur, Katra and Tunnel No. 1 returned to New Delhi this evening. Sources said that work on 25 km-long Udhampur-Katra rail link is almost complete and Railways will hand it over to Commissioner Railway Safety (CRS) for approval to run trains up to Katra.

“Safety clearance from CRS is mandatory for making new line operational. Barring the laying of ballast-less track on the 3.1 km long T1 tunnel, the most difficult tunnel in the route, all other works in the Katra route are nearly complete now,” sources said.

Katra station is ready with three platforms and two more platforms were proposed to be constructed later. With the commissioning of the new route, pilgrims will be able to reach the base camp of Mata Vaishno Devi shrine at Katra without having to break their journey at Jammu.

However, sources were of the view that it wouldn’t be possible to take 30,000 to 35,000 pilgrims daily to Katra by train and other passenger services would remain in force. Half a dozen trains could take 6,000 to 7,000 pilgrims to Katra while others would have to take either local train from Jammu to Katra or travel by bus and other modes of private transport.

The Udhampur-Katra rail route, coming up at an estimated cost of Rs 960 crore, passes through inhospitable terrain, making it an extremely challenging engineering project.
The route consists of seven tunnels and 30 small and big bridges, including a 185-feet high tunnel. A total of seven tunnels span over 10 km of the 25-km stretch.

Friday, May 31, 2013

9.3 cr for jammu kashmir students scholarships

The Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of Indian, has launched a Special Scholarship Scheme for the students of Jammu and Kashmir, appearing for Class XII or equivalent examinations through the State Board of School Examinations (BOSE) or Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) affiliated schools, located within the State.
Official sources said under this scheme of the Central Government, 5000 scholarships will be given every year to the students of Jammu and Kashmir, who take admissions outside the State to pursue higher education in general degree courses, Engineering and Medical studies in the Government Colleges and Institutes and other non-Government institutes recognized by AICTE or University Grants Commission.
The Government has split 5000 scholarships giving major share i.e. 4500 scholarships to general degree courses. Rest of 500 scholarships would be equally distributed (250 each) to Medical and Engineering students.
“An amount of up to Rs 30,000 per annum for general degree courses, up to Rs 1.25 lakh per annum for Engineering and up to Rs 3 lakh per annum for Medical students is being given to every scholar as tuition fees,’’ sources said, adding that in addition to this, hostel fees and incidentals is also being given for all categories of courses up to a ceiling of Rs 1 lakh per annum.
Sources said that the HRD Ministry was making efforts to popularize the scheme among the students by publicizing it at the school level.
“In order to improve the delivery mechanism and also effectively monitor the progress of the scheme, it has been assigned to the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) for implementation through an e-portal from the academic year 2012-13.]
Meanwhile, the AICTE has invited online applications from the eligible students through its web portal by advertising it in the leading newspapers. On the basis of the recommendations made by the AICTE, an amount of Rs 9.3 crore has already been released to 1048 students to the AICTE by the HRD Ministry, sources said.
It may be mentioned here that some of the students studying outside the State under the HRD Ministry’s scholarship scheme had been asked by the management of their colleges to clear the fees or their admissions would be cancelled.
It was after the issue highlighted by the students that the HRD Ministry had made AICTE as nodal agency for implementation of the scheme.. The HRD has also called for fresh verification of credentials of the students, who were studying in different colleges or had applied for further studies under the scheme.
Sources in the State Government now said that the fresh HRD directive was likely to remove confusion among the students and help those students, who had taken admissions in various Colleges under the scholarship scheme.