Tuesday, May 31, 2011

34.5 lakh visit Vaishno Devi

Pilgrimage to holy cave shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi ji has gone up by about two lakh during first five months of current year as compared to corresponding period last year even as police have beefed up security arrangements in holy town of Katra, the base camp of the shrine, 13 kilometers track and the Bhawan area.

In first five months, about 34.5 lakh pilgrims had darshan of natural pindies of Goddess Vaishno Devi in holy cave shrine inside Trikuta hills. During the same period last year, 32.47 lakh yatris had visited the Bhawan.

Yatra to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in the month of May was almost equal like the last year. While this year, 8.7 lakh yatris visited the cave shrine, the figure for the last year was 8.65 lakh.

Additional CEO SMVDSB, Dr Mandeep K Bhandari said the yatra to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine has increased by 2.03 lakh during first five months of this year.

The yatra was expected to pick up further in the months of June and July due to summer vacations and Amarnath yatra. Most of the pilgrims visiting Amarnath ji shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas also preferred to have darshan of Mata Vaishno Devi.

With the picking of rush, security arrangements at Katra, the Bhawan and the track have been beefed up with deployment of more police and CRPF personnel at vintage points.

SDPO Katra P N Tickoo said security has been stepped-up at the base camp of Katra and other places in view of heavy rush of yatris and some adverse inputs supplied by the security agencies. ``We are fully alert to the situation. Security has been intensified for the pilgrims. We are taking all care of the yatris’’, he added.

Mr Tickoo said police and para-military personnel to thwart the designs of anti-national elements have covered the mountains of Katra and Reasi surrounding the holy cave shrine.

Meanwhile, a number of pilgrims visiting the cave shrine have complained extortions from the hands of pithoos and ponneywallahs. They said that as against Rs 314 rate fixed for a mule from Katra to Bhawan and Rs 630 for return, they were extorting any thing between Rs 1500 to Rs 3000, or sometime, even more from the pilgrims especially those visiting the cave shrine from outside the State for the first time.

Some pithuwallahs have also started the similar practice.

Sources said all authorities including the Katra Municipality, which has been licensing pithoos, mules and poneywallahs, knew the extortions but there has been no action from anyone to save pilgrims from the loot.

Earlier, the Katra Municipality used to give the work of pithoos, poneywallahs and palkis on tenders. This time, however, the tenders haven’t been floated.

Katra Municipality Secretary Rattan Lal admitted that there had been complaints of overcharging by the pithoos and mule owners but said they have taken prompt action. The registration of erring mule owners was suspended and they were fined.

``In one case, we returned Rs 8000 (overcharged by the mule owners) from a Mumbai team by the Demand Draft’’, Rattan Lal said, adding that entire problem of overcharging will be over when their system of wi-fi is introduced shortly. For the system, two towers have already been installed at Adh-Kunwari and Bhawan while permission has been sought for installation of tower at Katra, he added.

About 87 lakh pilgrims had visited Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan in 2010, the highest ever in the history so far. If everything goes well, the yatra was easily expected to cross 9 million figure this year as it has already increased by about 2 lakh in first quarter of the year.

The Shrine Board was ultimately bracing up to receive 1 crore pilgrims a year to the cave shrine.

As against 87.2 lakh yatra in 2010, the number in 2009 was 82 lakh. In 2008, 67.92 lakh yatra was recorded while the number was 74.17 lakh in 2007. The pilgrimage was down in 2008 due to Amarnath land row agitation.

Even last year, the SMVDSB authorities were anticipating 9 million yatra to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine but the number remained slightly less due to three month unrest during summer in the Kashmir Valley. The valley unrest also had impact on the yatra to Vaishno Devi Bhawan.

While 4,21,231 yatris had darshan of natural pindies of Goddess Vaishno Devi during January this year, the similar figure for previous year was 3,99,665. In February, the yatra came down slightly and stood at 3,69,755 as against 3,77,213 last year. In March, 7,55 lakh yatris paid obeisance to the Goddess as against 7.22 lakh last year. In April this year, 9.77 lakh pilgrims visited Mata’s Bhawan as against 8.35 lakh last year.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Mela Khir Bhawani from June 9

Mela Khir Bhawani at Tulamulla is commencing from June 9, 2011 at Tulamulla. Arrangements with regard to Mela were finalised at an officers meeting held here today with the Divisional Commissioner Dr. Asgar Hasan Samoon in chair.

The Divisional Commissioner directed the concerned officers of R&B, PHE, Power, Health, SKIMS, Information and Municipal Committee etc, to ensure that all the facilities at Tulmulla are made available to the devotees coming from various parts of the country.

He asked the SSP Traffic to ensure hassle free traffic movement during the festival days to avoid inconvenience to the devotees. He said medical camps by Department of Health and SKIMS should be established and asked the Director CAPD to ensure availability of essentials including sugar during these days to devotees.

Regarding tentage facilities, the District Development Commissioner said that district administration has 4000 tents in readiness, however if needed it would be augmented and Red Cross Society will be approached had in this behalf.

The Director Tourism informed that an amount of Rs 15.50 crore has been allotted to JKPCC for renovation and up gradation of Mata Khir Bhawani Temple and the work has been to great extent completed which also include shops and Puja hall and residential accommodation. He said Hazrat Baba Hyder Ziarat, near this area is also being renovated as a part of pilgrimage Tourism.

The Divisional Commissioner urged the officers to maintain a close rapport with each other and make all possible facilities available to the devotees.

Results of 10th class jammu 2011

Like Graduation and Higher Secondary Part-II, the girls maintained a complete dominance in Secondary class examination results taking 55 out of a total of 84 positions. The State Board of School Education declared the results of 10th class today. Eighty four students shared first 20 top slots in the Merit List, only 29 of them were boys. The Government schools again fared very badly failing to secure even a single position from a total of 84, which reflected very poor management and coaching being provided to the students.

In the Higher Secondary Part-II results also, only one student from the Government institutes had figured in the Merit List of Science and Commerce.

Education Department authorities admitted that it was a major failure that students from the Government institutions even failed to secure a single position.

A total of 50.01 students passed the examination. As many as 47061 students had appeared in the examinations including 26113 boys and 20948 girls.

Tanu Devi of RMC Higher Secondary School (HSS), Kathua topped in the Merit List securing 491 out of a total of 500 marks (98.2 per cent). She was followed by Megha Sethi of Spring Dales English School, Kathua and Swadha Kailoo of Brahmrishi Bawra SVP HSS Udhampur, both of whom took 485 marks each (97 per cent). Third position went to Preeti Koul of Vishwa Bharti Public HSS Akalpur with 483 marks (96.6 per cent).

Fourth position was shared by Shifali Sharma of Indira Sagar Institute Rajpura and Diwankshi Sharma of Happy Model HSS Udhampur, who took 480 marks (96 per cent). Fifth position went to three students—Shriya Koul of Vishwa Bharti Public HSS Akalpur, Nidhi Kralia of Montessori Nargis Dutt Senior Secondary School (SSS), RS Pura and Sushant Sharma of HEM Rajouri, who secured 479 marks each (95.8 per cent).

Sixth position went to five students including Akshay Parihar of United Public HSS Channi Himmat, Mayank Kumar Gupta of RSJN HSS Kathua, Sonika Syal of New National Public HS Nowshera, Sudanshu of Brahmrishi Bawra SVP HSS Udhampur and Aarushi Sambyal of Kristu Jyoti Convent School Samba. They had 478 marks (95.6 per cent).

Sunpreet Singh of Brahmrishi Bawra SVP HSS Udhampur bagged seventh position with 477 marks (95.4 per cent).

Harmeet Kour of RRL HS Canal Road, Jammu and Sonal Abrol of Brahmrishi Bawra SVP HSS Udhampur jointly bagged eighth position taking 476 marks (95.2 per cent). Two students again shared ninth position. They are Tabun of RRL HS Canal Road and Hardik Maria of Brahmrishi Bawra SVP HSS Udhampur. Both of them secured 475 marks (95 per cent).

Abhishek Jasrotia and Sonali, both students from Spring Dales English School, Kathua and Akriti Gupta of Brahmrishi Bawra SVP HSS Udhampur shared 10th position taking 474 marks (94.8 per cent).

Eleventh position went to four students. They included Madhavi of Sacred Heart Convent, Phinter, National Academy HS Udhampur, Saksham Gupta of Brahmrishi Bawra Udhampur and Jaideep Singh Sambyal of Kristu Jyoti Convent School, Samba. They bagged 473 marks (94.6 per cent).

Twelfth position was shared by seven students including Janu Verma of Carmel Convent School, Kunjwani, Chitra Zutshi of Luthra Public HSS Talab Tillo, Akhil Bhau and Arjun Suri of St Peter’s HS BC Road, Jammu, Parul Kapoor of St Xavier Convent HS Barnai, Santosh Kumar of Montessori Nargis Dutt SSS, RS Pura and Tarush Kumar Oberoi of Christ School, Poonch. They took 472 marks (94.4 per cent).

Konika Sharma of RRL HS Canal Road, Prarthit of Shangrilla HSS Sarwal, Sagar Bhat of Silver Bells HS Paloura, Parveen Kour of Deva Memorial Secular HS Dablehar and Chakshu Gupta of HOC Billawar shared 13th position with 471 marks (94.2 per cent).

Fourteenth position went to Vaishali Sharma of Nirmala HS Dhangeer Kaleeth and Nargis Choudhary of Christ School, Poonch, who took 470 marks (94 per cent).

Fifteenth position went to seven students. They are Himanshi Koul of SNJ Singh Vidhya Mandir, Jammu, Vanshika Gupta of Fatima Convent HS Bishnah, Shriya Sharma of Harsh Niketan HSS Sunderbani, Anikat Mahajan, Palak and Shriya Gupta of Brahmrishi Bawra Udhampur and Priyanka Thapa of St Marry’s Convent HS Smailpur. They secured 469 marks (93.8 per cent).

Nine students bagged 16th position. They are Mahak Sawhney of Shiksha Niketan HS Gandhi Nagar, Rajat Sharma of Holy Cross Convent HS RS Pura, Sona Sharma of Neta Ji Memorial Shiksha Kender, Basohli, Pranav Mahajan of Sacred Heart Convent Phinter, Jammu, Aatif Manzoor Choudhary of Christ School, Poonch, Radhika of Happy Model HSS Udhampur, Shritika Mahajan of Brahmrishi Bawra Udhampur, Damini Sharma of Neta Ji HS Vijaypur and Amit Raina of SP HS Bari Barahamana. They bagged 468 marks (93.6 per cent).

Seventeenth position was secured by six students including Zahida Aziz of Model Academy BC Road, Gundeep Singh Isher of St Peter’s HSS Karan Bagh, Jammu, Sunanda Sehotra of Sacred Heart Convent, Phinter, Tania Sharma of Unique Model HSS Chadwal, Lalit Thappa of RSJN HSS Kathua and Bhavana Sharma of Harsh Niketan HSS Sunderbani with 467 marks (93.4 per cent).

Six students bagged 18th position. They are Gavneet Sawhney of St Peter’s HS BC Road, Aarohi Sharma of St Xavier Convent HS Barnai, Atul Sharma of Infant Jesus HSS Hiranagar, Danish Pachyala of Brahmrishi Bawra Udhampur, Vicky Podwal of Keshav Vidya Kendar HS Ramnagar and Dishma Sharma of Arvind Ghosh HSS Vijaypur. They secured 466 marks (93.2 per cent).

Nine students bagged 19th position. They are Rajat Kapoor of Shiksha Niketan HSS Jeevan Nagar, Jammu, Apeksha Koul of Vishwa Bharti Public HSS Akalpur, Rahul Sharma of St Francis HSS Akhnoor, Priya Saini of St Joseph Convent HS Arnia, Meekashi Thapa and Shavi Bhadwal of Sacred Heart Convent, Phinter,Kritika Sharma and Palak Kudyar of Brahmrishi Bawra Udhampur and Karina Sangwal of Kristu Jyoti Convent School, Samba. They had 465 marks (93 per cent).

Seven students bagged 20th position. They include Arru Khajuria of Heaven Kingdom HS Janipur, Parth Gupta and Aditya Pathania of Oriental Academy, Jammu, Shakshi Gupta of St Joseph Convent HS Arnia, Varsha Choudhary of Christ School, Nowshera, Abhishek Nargotra and Ishiya Anthal of National Academy HS Udhampur. They secured 464 marks (92.8 per cent).

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Heavy Turnout in Panchayat elections

Three districts in undivided Doda and border district of Poonch totally accounting for seven blocks in Jammu region had a peaceful polling today with writ of the militants failing to have any impact on the electorates in 12th phase of the Panchayat elections. A number of polling stations on the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch and Mandi blocks including famous cross-LoC trade route Chakan-Da-Bagh besides Sabjian and Loran areas of Mandi, known for firing and ceasefire violation by Pakistan, had a huge turnout.

A total of nine blocks in seven districts of the State went to polls today recording a percentage of 74. Voting percentage for all 12 phases stood at 78.14.

Highest turnout of 88 per cent was recorded in Nagseni block of Kishtwar district while lowest poll percentage of 54.3 was reported from Kakapora block of Pulwama district. Voting percentage in other blocks was Poonch (74), Mandi, Poonch (81), Gool, Ramban (83), Ghat, Doda (82.5), Padder, Kishtwar (83), Achabal, Anantnag (71) and Baramulla (74.6).

Election was today held for 226 Sarpanch and 1253 Panch constituencies. Nine blocks had 235 Sarpanch and 1783 Panch constituencies. While eight Sarpanches and 492 Panches had been elected unopposed, no nominations had been filed for one Sarpanch and 38 Panch constituencies, all falling in three blocks of Kashmir.

Out of a total of 3.14 lakh votes, 2.33 lakh were polled today. With the completion of 12th phase, only four phases have been left for completion of lengthy electoral process of Panchayat elections, which had started on April 13 and would conclude on June 18.

In militancy sensitive blocks of Gool in Ramban district, Mandi and Poonch in Jammu region, additional CRPF companies had been deployed in all polling stations to thwart any disruption of polling.

Gool block had been rated as highly sensitive in view of recent killing of some top militants including Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) divisional commander Abu Moosa, who had let loose a reign of terror there for several years.

Despite threats by the militants, people turned out in large numbers in Gool to cast their votes. Eighty-three per cent turnout was recorded in Gool. Reports said people even in remote and far off mountainous areas voted heavily. Almost all polling stations of the block including hubs of militancy recorded about 80 per cent voting.

A number of polling stations in Poonch, Sabjian, Loran and adjoining areas on the LoC also reported a massive turnout ranging between 75 to 90 per cent. Large queues of electorates were seen at Chakan-Da-Bagh where a polling station had been set up ahead of the Trade Centre, a route used for cross-LoC movement of civilians and trade between two parts of the divided State.

Voting in Sabjian, Digwar and Loran areas in Mandi block also passed off peacefully. Firing from Pakistan Army to facilitate infiltration attempts by the militants often rocks these areas. However, voting today passed off peacefully amid tight security arrangements made by the authorities.

At Morha Ladian polling station in Government primary school, Bhanot in Ward No. 6 of Poonch, one of the two stamps allotted for casting votes, was stolen by some unidentified persons. The stamp remained untraced.

At Digwar on the LoC, tension flared up when an entire family of 12 persons headed by Tirath Singh had been listed as dead in the voting list though all of them were alive. Tirath Singh and his family protested against the lapse.

At Chandak, Poonch, voting was held up for about half an hour when supporters of some contestants alleged bogus polling by the rivals. However, the issue was sorted out by the election authorities.

Deputy Commissioner, Poonch, Ajit Kumar Sahu and SSP Poonch Ashkoor Wani visiting the polling stations set up at the LoC to monitor voting.

Twenty-four out of 72 polling stations in Nagseni block of Kishtwar recorded above 90 per cent turnout. Total percentage of the block also stood at 90.

Reports said there was much enthusiasm among the people of Padder and Nagseni blocks of Kishtwar and Ghat in Doda. The people voted fearlessly. A large number of women had turned-out for voting in far off areas.

Sources in the Elections Department said counting had been completed for majority of Sarpanch and Panch segments by midnight tonight where voting was held in the day. About 98 per cent results had been declared by tonight while election process for 12th phase would be over by tomorrow morning.

Out of a total of 45,238 electorates in Baramulla block, 33,784 voted. In Kakapora block of Pulwama, 23,868 electorates used their right to franchise from a total of 43,958. In Achabal block of Anantnag, 42, 781 votes were polled from a total of 60,255.

In Padder and Nagseni blocks of Kishtwar district, 11,120 and 8723 people cast their votes from a total of 13,506 and 9912 electorates respectively. In Ghat block of Doda, 22,641 people used their right to votes out of 27,437 while Gool block of Ramban district accounted for 21,175 votes from 25,512.

In Mandi and Poonch blocks of Poonch district, 33,904 and 34,965 votes were polled out of a total of 41,856 and 47,249 electorates respectively.

Out of a total of 235 Sarpanch constituencies involved in today’s election, eight Sarpanches had been elected unopposed. Two Sarpanches each had been elected uncontested in Kakapora block of Pulwama and Poonch block while one Sarpanch each had won without any contest in Baramulla, Achabal, Ghat and Mandi blocks. At one Sarpanch constituency in Baramulla, no nomination had been filed.

Out of 1783 Panch segments involved in today’s polling, 492 were already elected unopposed including 94 in Baramulla block, 81 in Kakapora, 53 in Achabal, 31 in Padder, 23 in Nagseni, 48 in Ghat, 27 in Gool, 75 in Mandi and 60 in Poonch.

Of 492 Panches elected unopposed, 200 were women.

For 38 Panch constituencies, no nominations had been filed. Nineteen constituencies fell in Baramulla block, 15 in Kakapora and 4 in Achabal.

For 226 Sarpanch and 1253 Panch segments, where election was held today, 847 candidates including eight women were in fray for the posts of Sarpanches while 2967 contestants, 870 of them women, were in race for the posts of Panches.

Our Srinagar Correspondent adds:

Brisk polling was recorded in the blocks of Kakapora, Achabal and Baramulla that went to polls for Panchayats today.

Reports said that people in large numbers came out and exercised their franchise in these blocks falling in Pulwama, Anantnag and Baramulla districts. Most of the voters used their voting right within the first few hours and they had a reason to smile.

"This is the season of plantation and we need to focus on it, but at the same time we would not lose focus of our voting power. I came out early in the morning to cast my vote and I am glad over this. We are facing problems on account of drinking water, electricity and roads. Our belief is that the elected representatives would solve these problems," said Irshad Ahmad, a voter at Kakapora.

Similar views were expressed by a group of voters waiting for their turn outside a polling booth in this block. These people wanted a solution to their problems and were happy that the Government had taken this step of strengthening the democracy in the State at grassroot level.

"If we want a solution to our problems then we have to contact the local elected representative. Sarpanch comes first followed by the team of Panches. We cannot go to the MLA and seek redressal of our grievances. Credit goes to the State Government for holding Panchayat elections in true spirit and they deserve all the accolades," said group of youth.

Some of the voters were perturbed over the problems being faced by the Kakapora residents with respect to clean and potable drinking water. They wanted the Sarpanch and Panches to solve their problems.

"Our area has always remained neglected when it comes to drinking water facility. There are certain Panchayat halqas where tap water is available but in most of the Panchayat halqas, people have to consume dirty water. This I believe should be primary job of our elected representatives and I hope they deliver the goods," said Mohammad Ishaq, a resident.

There were some others in this block who think that the foremost priority should be the upkeep of the roads and they want the elected representatives to address this issue at the earliest.

"In today's world connectivity in the form of good roads hold key to the future of a nation or a State. But when it comes to our block I must say we are living in a primitive world where few drops of rain make the roads, lanes and by-lanes muddy. As such I would hope that Sarpanch and Panches would devote their attention to this problem and get it resolved," said Ali Mohammad, a resident.

Reports from Achabal and Baramulla said that people in overwhelming numbers came out to cast their vote during the elections. The electorate wanted the elected representatives to come up to their expectations and get their problems solved.

Farooq Abdullah Dancing

Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, was at his melodious best as he sang as well as danced to the tunes during a musical programme held in connection with the inauguration of Pahalgam golf course on Saturday night.

The Union Minister was joined by the golfers and tourists coming from different parts of the country as well as abroad and the event turned out to be a memorable one. The programme was organized by the Tourism Department and Space Communications acted as the event manager for it.

Dr. Abdullah could not resist the temptation as the artists were performing their items on this occasion. He took a microphone in his hand and sang some songs while receiving applauds from the people present there. He also danced to the tunes of some songs and this encouraged some others to join him.

The performance of the former Chief Minister was liked by the people present during the function and they clapped him for his artistic skills. As he was busy in his performance the artists were spell bound and they also watched him with keen interest. No one could stop clapping when the Union Minister danced to his joy while performing on a song.

Dr. Abdullah sang some Kashmiri songs and with his voice mesmerized the golfers as well as tourists present on this occasion. He asked the musicians to play fast track and on the same he danced to his joy. He thanked the organizers for giving him a chance to showcase his 'talent'.

Sharing his views the Union Minister said that music is his life and nobody can stop him in presenting these skills to the others. He said music bonds people and all the differences can be resolved with the help of music

Friday, May 27, 2011

Postal Department introduces Flat Rate Parcel Boxes

Department of Posts today introduced Flat Rate Parcel Boxes for packing the parcel and subsequent disposal to the domestic destinations.

John Samuel, Chief Postmaster General, alongwith the officials of the Postal Department inaugurated the Flat Rate Parcel Boxes Service in a function held at Head Post Office, Mubarak Mandi Complex, Jammu.

Speaking on the occasion, John Samuel said that the Flat Rate Parcel will provide an added convenience to the customers by offering them pre-paid flat rate parcel boxes. He said that the customer would not have to bother for packaging material to pack their parcels as high quality and standardized corrugated flat rate parcel boxes specially designed to ensure safe and secure transmission of the consignments have been aranged.

He said by this way customers do not require to pack their parcels in cloth or also not to do any type of wax sealing to their consignments. He said that flat rate parcel is an air express services hence the parcels were given airlift on the same lines as speed post.

Samuel further added that with this friendly service, department will be able to standardize the parcel service for operational convenience along with added facility to the customers.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

11 day long Gaytri Virat Yagya in Jammu

The eleven-day long Gaytri Virat Yagya is underway on the banks of river Tawi here. This unique type of Maha Yagya started on May 23 with Shoba Yatra. The Shoba Yatra was taken out from historical Raghunath Temple and after participating in various parts of city it culminated at the venue of Yagya on the banks of river Tawi.

The Yagya has been organized by Radha Madhav Trust under the supervision of Suresh Shastri Ji Mahraj. On the third day of Yagya, a Kalash Yatra was taken out today. A large number of devotees drawn from different parts of Jammu region participated in the Kalash Yatra, which was led by wife of Sant Suresh Kumar Ji Maharaj.

Detailing about the religious programme Sant Ji said the Gaytri Virat Yagya is being solemnized through Vedic rituals to feed and please the nature.

Sant Ji said that the main objective of performing the Gaytri Virat Yagya is to seek the divine blessings for the world peace and prosperity.

This 11,000 Kundi Yagya is unique of its kind and daily thousands of people are participating in it, Sant Ji said. The Yagya is performed daily from 8 am to 12 pm which is followed by Bhajan and Kirtan. The Bhajan Sandya is held daily by Sant Ji himself.

The Yagya will conclude on June 2 with Puranahuti. The devotees are served with Prashad daily. The Sant Ji a disciple of Maha Shakti Shri Champa Mata and Sideshwar Shri Dwarikanath Shastri Ji Mahraj said he wants to spread their message throughout the country.

Sant Ji had earlier performed a Yagya in village Mandila near Jorian in Akhnoor.

Sant Ji said that religious and business organizations are free to organize langers and other Chabeels for the devotees during the Maha Yagya period.

Sasb increases quota of helicopter bookings

To ensure that progressively increasing economic benefits accrue to the local tourism industry in Jammu and Kashmir, Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) has decided to substantially enhance the allocation of helicopter seats during the Shri Amarnathji Yatra -2011. This increase is aimed at the promotion of tourism related activities in the State and progressively increasing the involvement and participation of all the local stakeholders in the promotion of the pilgrimage-tourism interface.

Decision to this effect was taken in a meeting held by the Governor, N. N. Vohra, who is the Chairman of SASB, with the representatives of the Travel and Tour Operators of J&K, at Raj Bhawan, here today.

It was announced that the SASB would earmark and release a daily quota of 180 helicopter seats to the four recognized Travel and Tour Operators, two each from the Kashmir and Jammu divisions. Thus, 45 seats will be allocated to each of the four Travel and Tour Operators from Jammu and Kashmir. Of the daily quota of 180 helicopter seats, 140 would be for the Baltal-Panchtarni route and 40 for the Pahalgam-Panchtarni sector.

This arrangement would be reviewed in the next meeting between R. K. Goyal, CEO of the Shrine Board, and the representatives of the Travel and Tour Operators of Jammu and Kashmir regions to be held in the first week of June to take into account the actual utilization of the presently allotted quota by each of the concerned Travel and Tour Operators.

Speaking on the occasion, the Governor said that every stakeholder must work in the best interest of the State and make all possible efforts to ensure that every visitor to the State feels welcome and comfortable. He observed that this will result in both the pilgrims and the leisure tourists carrying back pleasant memories of their visits to various parts of the State. He added that this, in turn, will also significantly contribute towards promoting tourist activities for the rapid economic growth and generation of employment avenues in the State.

The representatives of the Travel and Tour Operators who participated in the meeting included president, Travel Agents Society of Kashmir, Abdul Khaliq Wangnoo, its vice president, Zaffar Baktoo, hony secretary general, Mohammed Rafiq Siah, hony treasurer, Mir Anwar, president, Travel Agents Association of Kashmir, Haji A. Rauf Tramboo, its hony general secretary, Daayal Mir, president, Association of Jammu Travel Agents, Inderpal Singh, its general secretary, Harish K. Gosain, president, Travel Agents Association of Jammu, R. S. Kotwal, its secretary, B. B. Kotwal, president, Association of Jammu Travel Agents, Amrik Singh and its general secretary, Asif Iqbal.

The Principal Secretary to the Governor and Chief Executive Officer of the Shrine Board, R. K. Goyal and the Additional Chief Executive Officer, Preet Pal Singh were present in the meeting.

Midnight open air drama in Jammu

A new drama expression was displayed in the lush green lawns of Abhinav premises at midnight where under the headlights of the stationed cars around, the audience sat inside their air conditioned vehicles enjoying the show.

Entitled as 'Dusking Odyssey' under his theatrical phrase of "Theater of Convenience', Vikram Sharma introduced a new concept of midnight open air drama which was highly acclaimed by the audience present on the occasion.

The 30 minutes play 'Marnoprant' started with lighting of a cigarette by the actor Himanshu Darshan in the dark who is suddenly caught under the focus of the beaming lights of the cars of the audience present.

Aaditya Bhanu, his co actor joins him in a high powered man-woman relation drama as actors moved comfortably around the shrubs, trees and various sculptors in the Abhinav premises under the focused lights of the headlights of the cars.

" I am a great admirer of Vikram Sharma, whose theatrical sense and acumen always exhibits a novel theme and style which I feel goes very comfortably well with the actors as well as the contemporary audience. This attempt is really praise worthy as he holds distinction for being the torchbearer of stylized drama in the State," said Lalit Magotra, President Dogri Sanstha and a renowned theatrical litterateur of the State.

Himanshu Darshan, the undisputed best actor and Aaditya Bhanu, the already established actor of the State performed in the novel venture.

The event was organized by Shivani Cultural Society and was supported by Rangshalla Theatre Group and Lakshay-the aim.

Chankaya Restaurant provided eatery and event management through its proprietor Shiv Kumar.

Those present on the occasion included Raveesh Mengi, president Lakshay -the aim, Umesh Singh, president RTG, Abhishek Magotra, Soham Kashyap, Dhanesh Dogra, Vijay Goswami, Kumar A Bharti, Harsh Jasrotia, Rishab Sharma,Ishan Sacchar, Reetu Manhas, Neha Lahotra, Shagun Wazir, Dipti Charak and Deepika Pandit.

Monday, May 23, 2011

12th Class Results of Jammu

Girls today dominated all the three streams Faculty of Science , Arts and Commerce as  in higher secondary part-II (12th) class examinations, the results of which were declared today by the Board of School Education (BOSE).

Out of a total of 40 positions in all three faculties, 22 were secured by girls and 18 by boys. Ten positions were declared in each faculty which were shared by 40 students. 

Of 10 positions in Science stream, shared by 11 students, 4 went to boys and six to girls while in commerce stream again 10 top positions were shared among 11 students where girls again dominated boys by securing 8 positions while three of them were bagged by boys. Girls had a major say in Arts where they took 9 out of 10 positions leaving only single slot for a boy Pass percentage in the exams stood at 39. A total of 44986 students had appeared in the exam. 

Nipun Gupta of BB Shanti Vidya Peeth Hr Secondary School Udhampur bagged prestigious first position in Science faculty taking 734 marks (97.8 pc) while Supriya Gupta of Shiksha Niketan Higher Secondary School Jeevan with 728 (97.0 pc) marks in Commerce stream. Chander Mohini of Govt Higher Secondary School Jourian stood first in Arts securing 701(93.4 pc) marks. 

Surbhi Pargal and Mehak Mahajan of DBN Vidya Mandir and Shiksha Niektan Higher Secondary School took second and third positions in Science with 726 and 723 marks respectively. Somika Aggarwal and Payal Gupta of Shiksha Niketan Hr Secondary School , Jeevan Nagar and Jatin Wahi of Kotwal National Institute of Teaching got second and third positions in Commerce securing 726 and 722 marks. Second and third positions in Arts went to Varun Kumar of SRML Higher Secondary School and Aarushi Jandial of RKS Girls Higher Secondary School securing 688 and 681 marks . 
Government Girls Higher Secondary School Mubarak Mandi, Jammu has secured 11 positions in the 12th class annual results, including seven in faculty of Home Science and four in faculty of Arts. 

The school swayed with seven positions in Home Science Faculty, including first position (Sonal Jain with 84.9 % marks), thirds position (Shria Abrol with 79.8 %), 4th position (Asma Amin with 73.8 % marks), 5th position (Reetika Jain with 73.9%), 7th position (Shivani Sharma with 71.4 %,) 8th position with 69.6 %) and 10th position (Neha Gupta with 67.04 percent marks). 
Similarly, the school secured four positions in the faculty of arts which include 5th position (Riya Gupta with 90.5 %), 7thposition (Kamaljot Kour with 90.1 %), 8th position (Swati Adotra with 90 %) and 9th position (Mridu Sharma with 89.4 percent marks).

Sonia lays foundation stone of bridge

Sonia Gandhi today laid the foundation stone of Jammu and Kashmir’s first cable-stayed bridge in Kathua district that will connect the state with neighbouring Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.

Flanked by Union Ministers - A K Antony, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Farooq Abdullah, M Pallam Raju, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and JKPCC Chief Saifuddin Soz, Gandhi laid the foundation of the structure on river Ravi at Basohli in Kathua district.

After West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir is the third state in the country and the first in northern India to get a cable-stayed bridge.

The bridge is an important link in the state to connect Doda-Kishtwar region and Bhaderwah tourist resort. The structure will also connect - Basohli in Kathua district with Punjab.

The 592-metre bridge is to be built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) at a cost of Rs 145 crore.

Director General of BRO Lieutenant General Ravi Shanker briefed Gandhi about the bridge saying that the proposed structure will be built on the lines of the Vidyasagar Setu (Kolkata), Naini Bridge (Allahabad) and the Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link (Mumbai).

It will also open up an alternative route to National Highway 1A and to the Kashmir Valley via Basholi, Bani, Bhaderwah, Kishtwar, Chhatroo and Anantnag and boost development of these areas, he said.

The contract for the construction of the bridge, scheduled to be constructed by September 2014, has been awarded to IRCON-SPS Construction Pvt Ltd.

Fashion Fiesta 2011 concludes

Fashion Fiesta 2011, an annual exhibition cum sale by JD institute of Fashion Technology was finally concluded at JD campus today with giving all the students Certificates of Appreciation

On the whole the exhibition was a huge success and provided a great platform to the passing out students of JD Jammu. the student designers of interior and Fashion design received huge orders for their exemplary creations and all the students on the whole received very good response for their creations and at appreciated by all the people who visited the exhibition.

Maansi Gupta centre director said such exhibitions provide a direct experience of working in the world of fashion. She also wished all the passing out students good luck in their respective fields.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Holy Ice Lingam is in Full Bloom

Snow clearance operations on twin tracks of Pahalgam and Baltal have been launched in the areas, which had received less snowfall after a police team conducted a recee of Shri Amarnath ji cave shrine and returned successfully taking a clear picture of the track, the Bhawan and its surroundings.

A team of a dozen police personnel has undertaken a hazardous journey in snow clad mountains of Baltal route, falling in Ganderbal district of the Kashmir valley. The team took photographs of snow on the track and holy cave shrine of Shri Amarnath Ji in South Kashmir Himalayas and brought with them a "very clear picture’’ of the position of Baltal track, which is known as shorter route to the abode of Lord Shiva.

Holy Ice Lingam of Lord Shiva inside the cave shrine is in full bloom, according to the team members.

IGP Kashmir S M Sahai told the Excelsior that a police team of about a dozen police personnel from Ganderbal district undertook the brave task of trekking snow clad mountains to bring back a clear picture of the extent of snowfall and other problems enroute Baltal, Shri Amarnath cave shrine and its surroundings besides some area of Pahalgam track, they could trek.

"There has been a massive snowfall around Shri Amarnath ji shrine and both the tracks, much more than the last year. It would take a lot of time and require a lot of efforts to clear snowfall and make the tracks fit for pilgrimage’’, Mr Sahai said.

According to official sources, the Shiv Lingam was in full bloom inside the cave shrine. A three tier security arrangement has been proposed for the shrine involving Army, para-military and police. While Army would man the heights, para-military and police personnel would be deployed for security of pilgrims around the cave shrine and the twin tracks leading to the holy cave.

A final touch has been given to security arrangements. Deployment of Army, para-military and police personnel would start when the tracks are made fit for undertaking journey by the security jawans, sources said.

Most likely, the deployment of jawans and logistics support would start in first week of June and all arrangements for the pilgrims would be in place a week ahead of the start of yatra on June 29, they added.

According to sources, snow clearance operations have been initiated on both the tracks in the areas where snow accumulation was less. However, there were areas where snow accumulation was very high and clearance operations could take time. Snow has also started melting in some areas and authorities hoped that a good weather in next few days would further lead to melting of snow.

Jammu and Kashmir Police had sought 65 additional companies of para-military from the Union Home Ministry for deployment for security of Amarnath ji pilgrims. The Union Home Ministry has agreed to the proposal.

Registration of pilgrims for the yatra has already touched 1.34 lakh for both tracks of Pahalgam and Baltal. The registration is being done through 121 designated branches of Jammu and Kashmir Bank across the country besides some branches of Yes Bank and Co-operative Banks.

While 70, 565 yatris have been registered for Pahalgam route, 63,610 have opted Baltal route. About 1.07 lakh yatris have registered themselves through bank counters while 26, 630 were registered via internet.

Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) was likely to register nearly 4 lakh pilgrims for 45 days long annual pilgrimage this year, beginning June 29. The yatra would culminate on August 13 coinciding with Raksha Bandhan and Shrawan Purnima.

The SASB, which managed the yatra, has geared up its entire men and machinery for making the track fit for pilgrimage and providing space for langars, installation of mobile towers, toilets and other facilities for the pilgrims on both the tracks and other places.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Maha Yagya at Swami Mirzakak Ji Ashram

Despite scorching heat hundreds of devotees drawn from different parts of Jammu thronged the Swami Mirzakak Ashram Nagrota to participate in the annual Jag of this spiritual saint and a mystic poet of medieval period in Kashmir on his 181st Nirvan Divas today to pay their obeisance to him.

On the occasion a Maha Yagya was also performed at the Ashram by Swami Mirzakak Ji Trust Hangalgund. The Maha Yagya started yesterday evening and it culminated with Puranahuti this afternoon. The devotees were served with Prashad after Puranahuti.

On the occasion the scholars threw light on Swami Ji’s life and spiritualism who kept the Kashmiri Vaakh Parampara alive. They said that his Vaakhs were as relevant today as were during the lifetime of Swami Ji.

They said the Swami Ji was a great spiritual power that he had made a prophesy while talking to his disciples against the end of tyrant Afghan rule in Kashmir and its replacement by Sikh rule and the same happened within days.

During the day Bhajan and Kirtan continued in the Ashram which was followed by Samohik Arti. The president of the Trust D N Hangloo detailed about its functioning.

The day was also celebrated at the original Samadhi of Swami Ji at Hangalgund in South Kashmir district of Anantnag where a Hawan was solemnized by Swami Kumar Ji of Geeta Satsang Ashram. A large number of devotees including the newly recruited employees in Kashmir Valley attended the function.

A langer was also organized for the Muslim Biradari of the area outside the Asthapan premises on the occasion.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Murti Sathapana performed at Maha Ganesh Temple

On the occasion of Ganesh Chaturdashi today the Murti Sathapana was performed at newly constructed Shri Mahaganesh Temple at Ganesh Vihar, Muthi, here this afternoon. This unique type of Ganesh Temple has been constructed by the displaced Hindus from village Hanand -Chawalgam in Kulgam distrct of South Kashmir and it took them three years to built the temple.

Besides the Hindu biradari members from Hanand -Chawalgam village hundreds of devotees drawn from various parts of Jammu attended the function. Soon after the idol of Mahaganesh was installed on sanctum -sanctorum the slogans of Maha Ganesh Ki Jai rented the air. This was followed by samohik Arti and serving of prashad to devotees.

The temple is the replica of the original Ganesh Temple of Hanand Chawalgam and it has been constructed on two canals of land at an estimated cost of Rs 15 lakh.

The Murti of Lord Ganesh has been bought from Mahabalipuram under the supervision of Shankaracharya Ji of Kanchi Mutt. The Murti of Lord Ganesh was placed on Sanctum-Sanctorum by renowned saints and sages, amidst chanting of religious hymns.

The entire area gave a festive look as the temple premises was fully decorated by the devotees and biradari members.

In connection with the Murti Sathapana a Maha Yagya was also soliminized in temple premises. The hawan will conclude tomorrow afternoon with Puranahuti. The devotees also participated in Bhajan and Kirtan. Having total faith in their Isht Dev (presiding God) the villagers of Hanand Chawalgam believe that this Ganesh Temple will be a uniting force for them in exile also.

The Bhoomi -Poojan of the temple was performed on Ganesh Chaturdashi in 2008.

Arrangements for annual Kheer Bhawani Mela

Ardh Ratri Maha Reghrney Sewa Sanstha Trust in its meeting today reviewed the arrangements for the annual Kheer Bhawani Mela falling on June 9 at Bhawani Nagar here.

The meeting was chaired by M L Safaya president of the Trust. The meeting was informed by the various Sub Committees that the arrangements have already been completed by them.

The Trust will also approach all the concerned departments including PHE, Police, PDD, Fire Service, Health etc to take suitable steps in connection with Mela arrangements so that the devotees are not subjected to any unnecessary inconvenience.

Girls Dominate Graduation Results

Girls dominated merit list of all five streams of Science, Commerce, Arts, BCA and BBA in Graduation final year examination results, which were declared today by the Jammu University.

In 11 top slots of Science faculty, girls bagged 10 while in Commerce, girls took seven out of first 10 positions. In BCA, the girls again took 10 out of 11 places in the merit list. In BBA, seven top slots went to girls from a total of 12 while in Arts, the girls and boys shared seven and six positions respectively.

Mahima Sharma and Asha Sharma, both students of Government Degree College (GDC), Kathua students bagged first and second positions in Science taking 88.18 and 84.78 per cent marks respectively. Pryati Sharma of Government College for Women (GCW), Gandhi Nagar took third position with 83.21 per cent marks.

Samriti Sharma of GCW Gandhi Nagar and Aman Priya of GGM Science College, Jammu clinched fourth and fifth positions securing 81.33 per cent and 80.54 per cent marks respectively. Madhu Sharma of GCW Parade Ground got sixth position with 80 per cent marks.

Kritika Sharma of GCW Gandhi Nagar and Ammir Hassan of GDC Bhaderwah, both of whom bagged 79.87 per cent marks, shared seventh position in Science. Swati Beotra of GDC Kathua got eighth position taking 79.69 per cent marks while ninth position went to Pallaki Shrikhandia with 79.51 per cent marks. She was a private student. Suchita Sharma of GCW Gandhi Nagar secured 79.21 per cent marks and took 10th position.

Krishma Arora of GCW Parade topped in Commerce stream taking 77.34 per cent marks. Vaneet Kour and Sunali Bindra of the same college with 75.08 per cent and 72.21 per cent marks followed her.

Vinay Gupta of SPM Rajput College of Commerce, Jammu got fourth position taking 71.82 per cent marks, Janvi Pandey of GCW Parade Ground took fifth top slot with 71.34 per cent marks.

Sat Pal Singh of SPM Rajput College of Commerce and Sagarika Chadha of GCW Parade secured sixth and seventh positions with 70.95 per cent and 70.82 per cent marks respectively.

Eighth, ninth and tenth positions in Commerce went to Pawan Anand of SPM Rajput College of Commerce, Aarti Sharma of GCW Parade and Tushar Mahajan of SPM Rajput College of Commerce with 70.39 per cent, 70.34 per cent and 70.17 per cent marks respectively.

Rachna topped in BCA securing 78.6 per cent marks followed by Sonam Gandotra and Vikram Singh with 77.9 and 77.6 per cent marks respectively.

Sapna Manhas took fourth position securing 77.45 per cent marks. Ruhi Gupta and Vidushi Sharma shared fifth positions taking 77.15 per cent marks. Seventh position went to Richa Mehra with 75.39 per cent marks.

Shefali Gupta, Sarbjeet Kour and Ritika Mahajan claimed eighth, ninth and tenth positions securing 75.27 per cent, 75.21 per cent and 75.03 per cent marks respectively.

Deepika topped in BBA with 77 per cent marks while Pranav Jain got second position with 75.75 per cent marks. Shagun Mahajan and Aman Talla secured third and fourth positions claiming 74.9 and 74.5 per cent marks respectively.

Fifth, sixth and seventh positions in BBA went to Arun Gupta, Huma Khan and Paurav Angral with 74.45 per cent, 74.25 per cent and 74.20 per cent marks respectively. Bindu Kumari and Devyani Jamwal, who secured 74.15 per cent marks, shared eighth position.

Ranjit Singh and Kavita Choudhary got ninth and tenth positions taking 73.3 and 73.2 per cent marks respectively.

Rimpy Gupta of GDC Ramban secured first position in Arts faculty taking 76.48 per cent marks. Sahil Ravgotra of Government MAM College, Jammu, who took 74.24 per cent marks, followed her. Third position went to Nasar Anjum of GDC (Boys), Udhampur with 72.9 per cent marks.

Pallavi of GCW Parade and Sabah Rasheed of GDC Thanna Mandi bagged fourth and fifth positions taking 72.84 per cent and 72.24 per cent marks respectively. Shahid Mumtaz of GDC Rajouri, Pragati Mandotra of GCW Gandhi Nagar and Shah Nawaz of GDC Thanna Mandi shared sixth position. All three secured 71.81 per cent marks.

Seventh position went to Mohammad Asif of GDC Thanna Mandi with 71.63 per cent marks while Manopriya Tuli of GCW Parade Ground and Anjana Raina of GCW Gandhi Nagar shared eighth position with 71.39 per cent marks.

Ninth and tenth positions in Arts went to Ashwarya Jain of GCW Parade Ground and Radha Devu of GCW Udhampur with 71.03 and 70.84 per cent marks respectively.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Birthday of Sri Sri Ravi Shanker celebrated in Jammu

Various programmes were organized today in connection with celebration of the birth day of Sri Sri Ravi Shanker Ji by the Jammu chapter of Art of Living.

The volunteers organized a Chabeel at Indira Chowk Shalamar, where Prasad was also served to the people. A large number of devotees of Guru Ji attended the programme. The devotees of Swami Ji celebrated the day with great enthusiasm and fervour and took a solemn pledge to carry out the mission of Guru Ji with full determination.

Later a blood donation camp was organized by the Jammu Chapter of Art of Living in which a large number of volunteers donated blood, which was followed by a musical concert at Abhinav theatre in the evening. The renowned singer of Art of Living, Nitin Devar mesmerized the devotees with his bhajans on the occasion. A large number of devotees and volunteers of Art of Living attended the programme.

The volunteers of the organization also celebrated the day with the mentally challenged children at their Home in Channi Rama and blind girls at Roop Nagar.

According to a hand out issued by Art of Living Jammu chapter later said Sri Sri Ravi Shanker is a torch bearer of humanity and love.

It said the Guru Ji carried the message of the saints and sages for maintenance of peace and love on this universe. He has lessened the physical and mental anxieties of millions of people world over through his Mission, It added.

Describing Swami Ji one of the tallest personality among the spiritual Gurus, it said the Guru Ji’s programme includes Yoga, meditation and special breathing techniques that help in eliminating stress and improve self confidence, memory retention, clarity in perception, observation and experience.

Amarnath yatra 2011 arrangements

The Government today gave a final touch to its ‘‘summer strategy’’ in Kashmir to maintain peace in the Valley at the Unified Headquarters meeting held in Srinagar, which was chaired by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and attended by top brass of Army, police, civil administration, para-military forces and Intelligence agencies.

‘‘What kind of strategy we need to be adopt this summer in the Valley was discussed threadbare in nearly two hour long meeting and approved by the Chief Minister. The strategy would be put in place very soon’’, a senior officer, present in the meeting, told the Excelsior on the condition of anonymity.

Mr Abdullah issued a set of instructions to all security agencies and civil administration to keep the summer peaceful. The meeting decided to implement the Standing Operation Procedures (SOPs), which has been approved by Union Home Minister, P Chidambaram with immediate effect.

The SOPs was drafted by a high level national level committee headed by State DGP Kuldeep Khoda and was recently approved by the Union Home Ministry. The SOP mostly dealt with crowd dispersal and maintaining law and order with least use of force. It was based on twin objectives—ensure that law and order is maintained at all costs and keep use of force least depending upon the situation but, at the same time, didn’t allow the law and order go out of hands.

‘‘What are the likely factors which could lead to peace in the Valley this summer? What were the factors, which led to disturbances for three consecutive summers? What measures the Government and security agencies should take to maintain peace? And how to deal with various forms of protests, if at all they occur at any place in the Valley?

These were the major points of strategy for the Valley this summer.

Sources said the Government has decided to allow peaceful protests in Kashmir, if any. It has also directed police and para-military personnel not to use force on peaceful protests unless they turn violent. Some of the laser weapons, which the State would be getting by the end of June, would be used to avoid casualties on the protesters.

Last summer, about 110 protesters were killed in firing by police and para-military personnel at different parts of Kashmir. Sources said the security agencies have been instructed to ensure that the casualties didn’t take place but, at the same time, the law and order situation shouldn’t go out of hands.

The meeting was told that 258 youths, mostly the stone pelters or their perpetrators, were detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA) after last summer’s protests and 83 of them have been released so far. Presently, 175 youth including some separatists and instigators of violence have been detained under PSA.

A high level Government committee headed by Principal Secretary, Home, B R Sharma would soon hold a meeting to review more PSA detentions and order release of some of the detainees. Some preventive arrests have also been made during last month but simultaneously some arrested youth (under normal laws) have also been released or bailed out by the court.

Sources said the reports of infiltration by the militants also came up for a high level review in the meeting.

‘‘Till April, there had been no reports of any kind of infiltration. However, suddenly in May, we have received reports of infiltration but these reports have not been verified on ground. Efforts were being made to ascertain whether some militants have managed to infiltrate into the Valley or not’’, sources said, adding that number of the ultras in the Valley had gone to an all time low and there were reports that Pakistan Army was trying to push some groups of militants in Kashmir ahead of summer.

Arrangements for the upcoming Amarnath yatra were also reviewed in the meeting. The State Government had sought 65 additional companies of para-military from the Union Home Ministry for making tight security arrangement for the yatra. Sources said the Home Ministry has agreed to the request of the State Government. The additional companies would be ready well before start of the yatra.

It was decided in the meeting that the threat perception to Amarnath yatra was the same like that of last year. Therefore, security arrangements for the yatra right from Lakhanpur to Shri Amarnath ji cave shrine in South Kashmir Himalayas would also be same. Army would man dominant positions at the Bhawan while BSF and CRPF along with police would be deployed all along the twin tracks of Pahalgam and Baltal besides two National Highways of Pathankote-Jammu (starting Lakhanpur, the gateway of Jammu and Kashmir) and Jammu-Srinagar.

Security arrangements would be strengthened at forward base camps of Nunwan in Pahalgam and Baltal besides base camp of Bhagwati Nagar at Jammu, sources said.

Sources said all security agencies gave their view point on ensuring a peaceful summer after which the ``summer strategy’’ was finalized. The views of security agencies on Amarnath yatra and infiltration were also discussed, they added.

The meeting was attended by Deputy Chief Minister, Tara Chand, Minister of State for Home, Nasir Aslam Wani, Chief Secretary, Madhav Lal, GOC-in-C Northern Command Lt Gen K T Parnaik, Director General Police, Kuldeep Khuda, Principal Secretary Home, B. R. Sharma, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, B B Vyas, GOC 15 Corps Lt Gen Syed Atta Hasnain, GOC 14 Corps, Lt Gen R Dastane, GOC 16 Corps, J P Nehra, GOC 9 Corps, Lt Gen A K Choudhary, Director General, CRPF, Vijay Kumar, ADGP K Rajendra, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Asgar Hussain Samoon, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Pawan Kotwal, IG, BSF, Jammu, S. Chattopadhyaya, IG, CRPF, Jammu, Dinesh Kumar, IG, BSF, Kashmir, Baljit Singh, IG, CRPF, Kashmir (Operations), B N Ramesh, IG, CRPF (Administration), Ravi Prakash, IGP, Kashmir, S M Sahai, IGP, Jammu, Dilbagh Singh, IGP, CID, B Srinivas, Additional Secretary SB/North Zone Tilak Devasher, Joint Director IB, Kashmir, S K Sinha, Additional Commissioner SBK P K Patil and Special DGP CRPF, North Zone, A Uppal.

Jammu boys shine in IAS

Known for its world famous precious stones, the Kishtwar district has found yet another gem in Vimarsh -a 24 year youth from remotest village of Paryote who put everyone in great surprise when his name figured among the qualifiers in Civil Services Examination, the results of which was declared yesterday in New Delhi.

Son of Ram Lal Bhagat and Mrs Kanta Rani Bhagat, Vimarsh had earlier qualified the 2009 J&K Civil Services Examination and presently undergoing training at IMPA here. By qualifying the Civil Services examination of 2010, one more feather was added to his cap and this youth has not only brought laurels to elsewhere Doda district but also to the entire state.

A B Tech Graduate from NIT Srinagar, Vimrash has been interested in taking challenges from his school days and it was during his earlier schooling at Kishtwar that Principal of New Era Public School Hukum Chand Sain had told his parents that this boy has a lot of potential and he will excel in education provided he gets proper attention and his potential is exploited, said J R Aryan, maternal grand father of Vimarsh who has been an inspiration for him. Vimarsh had his earlier schooling at Kishtwar and later his parents shifted him to Sainik School Nagrota where from he qualified his Matric. He joined the K V Bantalab where from he qualified his 11th and 12th.

Vimarsh, who gives credit of his success to the inspiration given to him by Mr Aryan, his parents and maternal uncles. He said it were they who told me that success comes to those who dare and act. This became a mantra for my success.

My father a law graduate from Jammu University has also a great desire to see me as a Civil Servant as he had seen the sufferings and backwardness of the people in the area so he shifted us to Kishtwar for good schooling in early days. The backwardness of my people also became a factor for me to pursue the Civil Services as being a villager I can understand the problems faced by the rural folk and work for their upliftment. Vimarsh said that he wants to act as a bridge between the Government and those to be governed. An elated Vimarsh has also a message for the younger generation : "There is nothing like a weak brain and every thing is possible provided one has the will power and determination''.

Another Jammu youth Dr Sarvjeet Soodan also brought laurels to the state by clearing the prestigious Civil Services Examination. Born and brought up in R S Pura Sarvjeet got his early schooling from MHS DAV School R S Pura, Oriental Academy and Ranbir Higher Secondary School Jammu.

Giving all credit of his success to his parents Vishwanath Dil & Mrs Shashi Bala, he said ``my parents especially my father was a guiding force for me''.

A 2006 batch graduate of Veterinary Sciences from SKUAST Jammu, Sarvjeet is also undergoing a training as KAS probationer at present. Besides his parents, Sarvjeet is greatly indebted to his teachers especially those from Oriental Academy who he said made him to think that he can do some thing great in life.

As Sarvjeet had a rich educational background of his family, he was also influenced by the slogan of India shinning. So he decided to aspire for some thing bigger to touch heights. A 13th position holder in Matric Sarvjeet has a message for younger generations asking them to channelize their energies properly. As far as Civil Services are concerned one needs to be hardworking at the same time he has to be patient and resilient, he added.

Resident of Railway Line Gegian, R S Pura, Sarvjeet has given his preference to IAS or IFS.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Water Shortage in Katra

Number of pilgrims to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Cave Shrine is increasing with each passing year and so is the problem of water scarcity in Katra town. In direct proportion to the rising number of pilgrims, the problem too is escalating to the extent that as of today, there is around 50 percent shortfall in the water supply against the daily requirement of Katra town.
Sources of the Public Health Engineering Department informed that Katra town requires around 14 lakh gallons of water per day to meet the demand but the supply system only provides 8 lakh gallons of water per day. There remains shortfall of around 6 lakh gallons per day.
Besides, there are no adequate hand pumps installed by the administration to cope up the daily requirements of Katra inhabitants and thousands of pilgrims visit Katra daily. The annual pilgrimage to Katra town is increasing with each passing year and there is about 20-25 percent increase in the annual pilgrimage every year but the decades old water supply system is unable to meet the requirements.
Ram Kumar, a resident of Katra town said that in the name of beautification of Katra town, a fountain worth approximately Rs 1 crore has been installed near bus stand Katra. “Authorities have water for the fountain but not for the residents and pilgrims,” he said, adding that no new water resource tube wells or hand pumps were installed to meet the requirements.
Another resident Rajeshwar Singh alleged nexus between politicians, Municipal Council Katra and soft drinks suppliers which was responsible for the water shortage. He further added that the scarcity problem was lingering since last many years but no one bothered over it.
“There is consumption of around 10,000 packed mineral bottles per day in Katra town which is only due to the absence of public connections of water supply,” said Singh, adding that not a single hand-pump has been installed since last many years in the town due to which pilgrims were facing lot of difficulties and took packed mineral water to quench the thirst which gave huge profit to grocery shop owners.
“The consumption of packed mineral water is around 3 lakh bottles per month which is worth around Rs. 2 crores and for maintaining this profit level, no new water source is being installed in the town,” alleged Nikhil a local.
Residents further added that Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board has daily earnings in crores but for sake of profit of shopkeepers, drinking water facility was not being provided by the Board in Katra town.
When repeatedly contacted on his office phone for two consecutive days, the SMVDSB Additional CEO, MK Bhandari was not available for comment. His personal assistant informed that he was busy in a meeting and when tried to contact him on his cell phone he didn’t pick up the phone after repeated attempts.
Public Health Engineering department Executive Engineer Reasi, Mohammad Rafiq when contacted maintained that there was around 20-25 percent increase in the number of pilgrims ever year and requirement of water was also increasing. Three new tube-wells with intake capacity of 1.5 lakh gallons per day have been installed and will started supply within few days. “For completely redressal of scarcity problem, a project having intake capacity of 16 lakh gallons per day has been submitted to the Government of India under UIDSSMT plan,” Mohammd Rafiq said, adding that after approval of funds the plan would be materialised and the problem will be addressed.

Brahman Sabha performs Yagnopavit ceremony of 100 children

As a part of Bhagawan Parshuram Ji Jayanti celebrations, the Dogra Brahmin Pritindhi Sabha solemnized the Yagnopavit ceremony of 100 children at Brahman Sabha today.

The sacred thread investiture ceremony is a cultural and custom in Hindu tradition. The children wore the sacred thread which as per the Vedic language is known as Janeu.

The Commandant CRPF, B K Choudhary from Bihar also attended the hawan along with his grandfather.

President Brahman Sabha, Ved Parkash Sharma, said that the objective of the ceremony is to teach the mankind about significance of oneness in thought, word and deed for leading a peaceful and progressive life. It is one of the important Vedic Sanskars which is essential for man’s physical, mental and spiritual development. A person with Yagnopavit should lead a clean and self disciplined life only then this sacred thread become strong and radiant thus imbibing great moral ethos in human beings.

He said the proud symbol of duties to be performed by everyone who follows Arya Dharma is Yagnopavit. A large number of devotees attended the function. The devotees were served with prashad after Puran ahuti.

The other office bearers of Brahman Sabha including general secretary, Shakti Sharma, Dr Chander Moli Raina, Mul Raj Malhan Shastri and various prominent citizens were present on the occasion.

The ceremony was performed with vedic traditions and learned Brahmins recited the Vedic hymns during the function. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Santosh Wins Award for Dogri

Santosh Khajuria from Jammu wins Tagore Literature Award for Dogri

Even as the nation comes together to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, Samsung India and Sahitya Akademi felicitated the best literary contributions by writers in eight Indian languages at the second edition of the 'Tagore Literature Awards' held in Mumbai today.

Named after the legendary poet, Sri Rabindranth Tagore, the 'Tagore Literature Awards' awards instituted by Samsung India and the Sahitya Akademi in 2009, seeks to recognize the best literary contributions by writers in eight Indian languages every year, with 24 Indian languages being covered by the end of the third year. This is the second year of the Tagore Literature Awards.

The winners of the 'Tagore Literature Awards 2010' are: Mr. Debabrata Das for 'Nirbachita Galpa' (Assamese); Ms. Santosh Khajuria for ' Badlondian Bahaaraan' (Dogri); Prof. R.G. Jadhav for 'Nivadak Samiksha' (Marathi); Mr. Brajnath Rath for 'Samanya Asamanya' (Odia); Mr. Vijay Dan Detha for 'Bataan Ri Fulwari - Vol.14 (Rajasthani)'; Mr. Somai Kisku for 'Namalia' (Santali); Mr. S. Ramakrishnan for 'Yaamam' (Tamil) and Mr. Chander Bhan Khayal for 'Subah-e-Mashriq Ki Azan' (Urdu).

US not to release out Laden images

The US will not trot out the "gruesome" images of slain al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden with a bullet hole in his head as "trophies" because it feared that it will incite violence and lead to national security risk.

The decision not to release the pictures was announced by President Barack Obama in an interview to the CBS news which would be telecast on Sunday, his spokesman Jay Carney said.

During the interview, according to Carney, Obama said the decision in this regard was taken following consultations with his top national security advisors including the Defence Secretary Robert Gates, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

During the interview, Obama said there is no doubt that bin Laden was dead and the world would never see him and that the post mortem images on the dead body would not be released.

This is fact which is now known to the world and to his supporters, however, there will still be some who would still not believe this, the President argued.

"We discussed this internally. Keep in mind that we are absolutely certain that this was him. We’ve done DNA sampling and testing. So there was no doubt that we killed Osama bin Laden," Obama was quoted as saying by Carney in the CBS interview.

He added that it was important to make sure that very graphic photos of a man who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool.

"That’s not who we are. We don’t trot out this stuff as trophies," Obama said.

"The fact of the matter is this was somebody who was deserving of the justice that he received, and I think Americans and people around the world are glad that he is gone.

"But we don’t need to spike the football, and I think that, given the graphic nature of these photos, it would create some national security risk, and I’ve discussed this with Bob Gates and Hillary Clinton and my intelligence teams, and they all agree," Obama said, adding that he has seen those pictures. Obama has announced he will not release photos that show Osama with a bullet hole in his head.

Reacting to the picture that he saw of bin Laden, Obama said: "It was him".

When asked about people in Pakistan who consider it a lie or as another American trick, Obama said: "The truth is that we were monitoring world—that we are monitoring—we were monitoring, rather, worldwide reaction. There is no doubt that Osama bin Laden is dead. Certainly, there is no doubt among al-Qaeda members that he is dead".

He said now that the al-Qaeda leader is dead a photograph is not going to make any difference.

Even if there are folks who deny it, the fact of the matter is, bin Laden will not be seen walking on earth again, Obama said.

Carney had yesterday described the images as "gruesome".

Carney said as the President described it is not in America’s national security interest to allow those images, as has been in the past, been the case, to become icons to rally opinion against the United States.

"The President’s number one priority is the safety and security of American citizens at home and Americans abroad. There is no need to release these photographs to establish Osama bin Laden’s identity.

"And he saw no other compelling reason to release them, given the potential for national security risk and, because he believes, as he said so clearly, this is not who we are," Carney said.

A day earlier, CIA Director Leon Panetta, said that the final decision on whether to release the picture would be taken by the White House.

"The bottom line is that, you know, we got bin Laden and I think we have to reveal to the rest of the world the fact that we were able to get him and kill him," Panetta said.

Asked about Panetta’s claim that a photo would be released, Carney says there’s a "compelling argument" for releasing information.

The spokesman said Obama was "engaged" in the discussion.

Republican leader, Sarah Palin, however, demanded that the pictures of Osama bin Laden be released.

"Show photo as warning to others seeking America’s destruction. No pussy-footing around, no politicking, no drama; it’s part of the mission," Palin said in a message posted on her Twitter account.

Several lawmakers spoke against the release of the pictures.

"I don’t want to make the job of our troops serving in places like Iraq and Afghanistan any harder than it already is. The risks of release outweigh the benefits," said Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

"Conspiracy theorists around the world will just claim the photos are doctored anyway, and there is a real risk that releasing the photos will only serve to inflame public opinion in the Middle East," he said in a statement.

"Osama bin Laden is not a trophy – he is dead and let’s now focus on continuing the fight until al-Qaeda has been eliminated," Rogers said.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hamilton wins in China

Briton Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) won on Sunday in Shanghai China Grand Prix Formula 1, after a great comeback final seconds left the championship leader, Germany's Sebastian Vettel, while the other Red Bull's Australian Mark Webber was third.

With this win, Hamilton, second overall, is about 21 points behind defending world title Vettel, winner of the first two races in Australia and Malaysia and was the favorite in China, after dominating the three free trials and have achieved Saturday's pole position.
Vettel became the end of the race in the lead, but Hamilton beat him with four laps and got his first win of the season against their biggest rival theory for the title.
The key was in the final outcome of the strategy, as the Englishman opted for three tire changes for two of Vettel, who tried to hold up the line with theirs, despite the degradation, allowing Hamilton to pass command of the race and finally be the winner.
Third place was surprisingly for Webber (Red Bull), who signed a master race and managed to finish on the podium after a disappointing performance on Saturday in qualifying, which had been relegated to the eighteenth position of the grid.
- Final standings of the China Grand Prix Formula 1:
1. Lewis Hamilton (GBR / McLaren), the 305.066 km in 1h36: 58 226 (average speed: 188.758 km / h)
2. Sebastian Vettel (GER / Red Bull) to 5,198
3. Mark Webber (AUS / Red Bull) to 7,555
4. Jenson Button (GBR / McLaren) at 10,000
5. Nico Rosberg (GER / Mercedes) to 13,448
6. Felipe Massa (BRA / Ferrari) at 15,840
7. Fernando Alonso (ESP / Ferrari) at 30,622
8. Michael Schumacher (GER / Mercedes) to 31,026
9. Vitaly Petrov (RUS / Lotus-Renault) to 57,404
10. Kamui Kobayashi (JPN / Sauber) at 1:03.273
11. Paul di Resta (SCO / Force India) 1:08.757
12. Nick Heidfeld (GER / Lotus-Renault) at 1:12.739
13. Rubens Barrichello (BRA / Williams) at 1:30.189
14. Sebastien Buemi (SUI / Toro Rosso) at 1:30.671
15. Adrian Sutil (GER / Force India) 1 lap
16. Heikki Kovalainen (FIN / Team Lotus) at 1 lap
17. Sergio Perez (MEX / Sauber) at 1 lap
18. Pastor Maldonado (VEN / Williams) at 1 lap
19. Jarno Trulli (ITA / Team Lotus) at 1 lap
20. Jerome d Ambrosio (BEL / Virgin) at 2 laps
21. Timo Glock (GER / Virgin) at 2 laps
22. Narain Karthikeyan (IND / Hispania) at 2 laps
23. Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA / Hispania) at 2 laps
NOTE: The other participants did not complete classified
- Drivers' standings after the GP of China:
1. Sebastian Vettel (GER) 68.0 pts
2. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) 47.0
3. Jenson Button (GBR) 38.0
4. Mark Webber (AUS) 37.0
5. Fernando Alonso (ESP) 26.0
6. Felipe Massa (BRA) 24.0
7. Vitaly Petrov (RUS) 17.0
8. Nick Heidfeld (GER) 15.0
9. Nico Rosberg (GER) 10.0
10. Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) 7.0
11. Michael Schumacher (GER) 6.0
12. Sebastien Buemi (SUI) 4.0
13. Adrian Sutil (GER) 2.0
14. Paul di Resta (SCO) 2.0
- Constructors' standings:
1. Red Bull 105.0 pts
2. McLaren 85.0
3. Ferrari 50.0
4. Lotus-Renault 32.0
5. Mercedes GP 16.0
6. Sauber 7.0
7. Toro Rosso 4.0
8. Force India 4.0

Hillary Clinton explained operation Geronimo

Hillary Clinton explained his gesture in the photo while watching the operation "Geronimo"

It may be my way to avoid one of my cough and allergy spring," said U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to explain the gesture captured in the photo released by the White House at the time watching the military operation, Geronimo, where Bin Laden was killed.

In the image, which shows the team's president of the United States watching live the military operation, Clinton has one of his hands covering his mouth.

The photograph became the most viewed picture in the history of Flickr.
It includes Yahoo News:
Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said today that in the photo where she looks with her mouth covered and expression of concern following the operation in which Osama Bin Laden was murdered, was actually hiding a possible fit of coughing.
"It could be my way to avoid one of my cough and allergy spring," Clinton responded today to a question about what was going through his head at the time.
"Those were 38 minutes from the most intense. I have no idea what we were seeing in that particular millisecond when the photograph was taken, "the head of state in Rome, where he participated in a meeting on Libya.
His remarks quickly turned back across the United States and is considered one of the iconic images of that dramatic day that ended with the considered number one enemy.
This gesture of Hillary was seen in a photograph released by the White House, in which the diplomat was following "Operation Geronimo" with, among others, the U.S. president, Barack Obama.
But what many interpreted at the time as a sign of great tension that filled the "Situation Room" White House, now turned into something far more trivial causes and comments from Americans

Geelani under house arrest

Police has put Hurriyat hardliner and chairman of breakaway faction of Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani under house arrest fearing trouble as the separatist leader was going to lead the funeral prayers in absentia for Osama bin Laden at Batmaloo after the Friday prayers.

Reports said that a large posse of police personnel was stationed at Hyderpora residence of Geelani and he was asked to stay in. The police personnel told the Hurriyat hardliner that he is under house arrest and as such can't move out.

The police personnel laid a cordon around the house of Hurriyat hardliner and subjected everybody entering the house to questioning. Some of the police personnel could be seen posted at the main road leading towards the entrance of Hurriyat hardliner.

Geelani has asked the Imams across the Kashmir valley to offer funeral prayers in absentia for Bin Laden after the Friday prayers.

Parshuram Jayanti Yatra

An impressive Sant Yatra was taken out on the occasion of Bhagawan Parshuram Jayanti here today. A large number of Sants drawn form different parts of Jammu region and other devotees of Bhagwan Parshuram participated in theYatra which was led by Raj Guru Mahamandleshwar Swami Vishawatmanand Saraswati Ji Maharaj.

The Sant Yatra started from Parade Ground and after passing through Moti Bazar, Pacca Danga, Chowk Chabutra, Jain Bazar, Link road, Purani Mandi, City Chowk, Kanak Mandi, Rajinder Bazar, Shaheedi Chowk, Raghunath Bazar, City Chowk, Ranbireshwar Chowk culminated at Parade.

The people and members of various business and trade organizations welcomed the Sant Yatra enroute by installing welcome gates and showering flowers on them. The devotees enroute paid obeisance to Bhagwan Parshuram Ji to seek blessings from him.

Parshuram's chariot came on a well decorated vehicle and the devotees accompanying the Yatra were reciting bhajans and hymns enroute.

Besides a Jhanki of Bhgawan Parshuram, Baba Ranpat Dev, Baba Jitoo and Baba Kalik Dev were also the part of the Yatra.

The programme was organized by Dogra Brahman Pratinidhi Sabha. Over week long programme in connection with celebrations of Parshuram Jayanti started from May 1 with Kalash Yatra. It was followed by daily religious discourses by Swami Ji.

The members of Dharmarth Trust and priests of Raghunath temple greeted the Sant yatra on reaching near the temple by showering flower petals on them while the members of Muslim Federation had installed welcome gates at Rajinder Bazar.

The people had also installed stalls to offer soft drinks and water to the Sants and other devotees participating in the yatra en-route.

Giving religious discourses Swami Ji said that the religious programme was performed for the restoration of peace in the trouble-torn state.

The president of the Sabha Ved Parkash Sharma and its general secretary Shakti Dutt Sharma said that Sabha will organize a Yagnopavit ceremony at Brahmin Sabha tomorrow in which the sacred thread wearing investiture ceremony of 100 Hindu youth will be performed. He said people interested in such ceremony can even approach the by 7 am tomorrow.

Cross Vote Explaining by BJP

With responding to BJP high command's show cause notice on alleged cross voting in Legislative Council, the seven BJP 'tainted' MLAs today kept their replies all set on similar lines denied having cross voted against their party candidate. Baldev Sharma, MLA from Reasi and Master Lal Chand, MLA of Banni in a media briefing today released the copy of their replies to the show cause notices issued by the BJP high command to them on charge of cross-voting.
Sources said that the party leadership has made unsuccessful attempts to split the group of 'tainted' MLAs further by wooing two to three MLAs individually by offering them a clean chit if they abandon the group of seven to bring their targeted group within the ambit of anti-defection law.
Meanwhile, in a new development, Bharat Bhushan, another BJP MLA today took the matter of 'Show Cause Notice' issued by the President of Party's Central Disciplinary Action Committee (CDAC) to the local court of Sub-Judge, Jammu and got an interim instruction to CDAC to restrain from acting upon the impugned show cause notice dated 22.04.2011 till filing of objection by the disciplinary committee by 23rd May 2011.
The copies of the their replies released to the press revealed that both have suggested to the Party whip Ashok Khajuria for abstaining from the voting keeping in view the party strength of eleven MLAs in the house against minimum 26 MLAs required to ensure win of party's candidate in LC election. They said that this suggestion was given only to keep the flock together and also because Mr. Khajuria was spreading the word that there would be chance of cross voting by party MLAs.
Both the MLAs pointed out the absence of their whip from the important meeting of party MLAs and senior leaders at Circuit House which was briefed by the group of party MPs lead by BJP's former national president Mr. Raj Nath Singh. 'The said MLA was having a meeting over dinner with a former bureaucrat who was specially in the town to breach the BJP legislators bastion by mustering support of party MLAs,' the duo alleged.
"The proximity of Ashok Khajuria with the party which is beneficiary of cross voting is well known. It is not understandable as to how I am the one who is in the dock and Ashok Khajuria is treated as holy cow," Reasi MLA averred in his reply.
Baldev Sharma and Lal Chand both reiterated that they had voted in favour of the Party's candidate in Legislative Council election i.e. Thakur Ranjit Singh and there was no question of cross voting so far they are concerned for any consideration. They said, "We are pained to receive such a show cause notice accusing us of cross voting against party nominee thus questioning our integrity and loyalty to the party."
Lal Chand, in his reply, asked the party that he was suffering from cancer and instead of asking for his well being, allegations have been leveled against him that he has purportedly indulged in cross voting for some consideration.
They said that the party has not responded to their open offer of undergoing Narco Test or any Test with other four party MLAs.
"What shocked us more was that our party, in a hasty action, held us accused of such an act which we never did and without going deep into the conspiracy hatched by the beneficiaries with the help of one of our party's MLA well known for his close proximity with the ruling alliance.
"People of this region, so do we, failed to understand on what basis the party leadership arrived at who voted against the party candidate when it was a secret ballot and there was no question of showing the choice. Further any sort of showing the preference ticked in the vote would have invalidated the vote itself."
While the party felt embarrassed over the development, the duo said that they would not be mute spectators to machinations of others as their Image, integrity and long public life were at stake.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee

The All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC) has expressed concern over the continued alleged negligence of the minority Sikh community at the hands of respective governments from time to time and injustices faced by them in the state over the past six decades.

The community, in view of these observations, has sought the opposition parties in the State, to play their role and take up the issue and ask the government as to what efforts had been taken to uplift the Sikhs of J&K during the past six decades.

“The APSCC will come out with concrete plans at state level to give shape to its efforts”, said Jagmohan Singh Raina, chairman of the All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC) at a function held at Gurudwara Guru Nanak Dev Ji at Bejbehara in south of Kashmir. The function was attended by Sikhs across the J&K.

Elaborating further, Raina stated that Sikhs are the major decisive voter in 20 important constituencies of the State whose votes have been playing key role in the election of candidates to the State Assembly. But, the most unfortunate part is that these MLAs have never come forward for any help in solving the crises and problems faced by Sikh community in these constituencies.

“These minister and MLAs have been a number of times apprised of the problems faced by the Sikhs in their constituencies but they have let down the genuine demands of Sikh community. We now warn them if this time they failed to overcome the problems faced by the Sikhs then our community is left with no other option than to launch a campaign across the state which will further be taken to national capital for the intervention of civil society”, Raina said.

The APSCC Chairman added that some of these MLAs now are the ministers in the coalition government led by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. They include Javid Ahmad Dar, who just won by 216 votes, Nasir Aslam Wani by margin of 816 votes, Raman Bhalla by 2263votes and, Surjeet Singh Slathia by a margin of 1212 votes. He added that “Other MLAs should under¬stand the importance of each and every vote cast in their favor and should not turn a blind eye towards Sikh community. Otherwise the members of the minority community would be forced to reconsider their support to the candidates contesting future elections, He said
During the gathering at Bejbehara, President GPC Anantnag Tirath Singh also expressed complete solidarity with APSCC for highlighting the genuine Sikh demands pending since 6 decades. The other Sikhs leaders included Ranger Balwant Singh, Amir Singh and others who spoke on the occasion.