Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Trade unions hold protest in Jammu

Different trade unions, bank employees and Anganwari workers, today held protests in support of their demands including job security for unorganized workers, implementation of labour laws and Minimum Wages Act and release of salary and arrears.

Central Trade Unions including BMS, INRUC, AITUC, CITU and HMS, organized a joint protest rally in support of their demands including price rise and universalization of Public Distribution System, job protection, enforcement of labour laws, social security for unorganized workers, disinvestment in PSU’s and minimum wages. The protest rally was led by CITU state president and MLA, M Y Tarigami in which hundreds of activists holding placards and banners participated in the rally that took off at Bikram Chowk and culminated at Indira Chowk.

The activists raised slogans against the government for its anti-people decisions and demanded bonus, Provident Fund and increase in quantum of gratuity. While addressing the media, Tarigami demanded curbing of price rise, universalization the PDS and complete ban on speculation.  He criticised frequent hike in the prices of essential products, which lead to the overall inflationary trends, especially in food items. Speaking about the situation in the state, Tarigami said that rampant corruption is prevalent in the state, which is bound to play havoc with the state. He added that more that 93% of country’s workforce is in the unorganized sector but they have been kept outside the purview of most of the labour laws and do not have any protection in respect of working hours, minimum wages and above all kind of job security despite contributing around 65% to the country’s GDP.  He further said that the unemployment has reached alarming rate and demanded that labour laws be implemented in the state and minimum wages should be paid to workers. He also stressed upon the state government to increase wages and improve the working condition of workers.

Tarigami further appealed to the different unions in the state to come close to intensify their struggle for fulfilling their demands.

A similar joint protest rally of All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) including AICTU, TUCC, UTUC, LPR and SEWA was also held at Jammu in which activists raised slogans against the anti-labour and anti-worker policies of the government.
The activists demanded concrete measures to contain price rise including strict enforcement of all basic labour laws, removal of all ceiling on payment and eligbility of bonus, Provident Funds besides increase in the quantum of Gratuity.
Addressing the gathering, AIBEA general secretary, comrade Arun Kumar Gupta said, “Five lakh bank employees under the banner of AIBEA support the demands of central unions.  The association also opposed the Khandelwal Committee recommendations. The association also demanded stringent measures to recover loans and immediate settlement of their demands that are pending for a long time.

Meanwhile, Anganwadi Workers Welfare Association (AWWA) also held a dharna at Press Club demanding release of salary/arrears and declaring of supervisors as government employees.

The activists raised slogans in support of their long pending demands.  While speaking on the occasion, Singh demanded that Anganwadi workerss and helpers should be declared government employees and promotion orders should be issued for the surpervisors as per seniority list and rule. He further demanded fuel charges at Rs. 300/ pm, rent payment, TA/DA payment for attending meeting, Teaching Allowances, uniform supply, pension and insurance without delay.

AJKHGWA also organised a protest rally to highlight their genuine demands especially the enhancement of salary at par with Punjab home guards. 

While addressing, HGWA president Kamla Sharma said that the Punjab government has been kind enough to provide better salaries to its home guards whereas the guards in J&K are being paid only 545/- per month which is injustice with J&K home guards. She further appealed to all the political leaders to render their support for those who have been performing their duties for the last more than six years

Those who were present on the occasion included Imtiaz, Mashgoor, Mushtaq, Gulzar, Javed, Jalali, Azad, Sayed, Bimla Santosh, Babli, Shankuntla and others.

Chhari Pooja performed
KPs protest Indo Pak dialogue

Tainted Junior Doctor heads Valleys Prestigious Hospital

In one of the gross violations of the Government order, Director Health Kashmir, Dr Saleem-ur-Rehman, has asked a suspended junior Assistant Surgeon in the department to continue to head one of the prestigious hospitals of Kashmir valley, Jawahar Lal Nehru Memorial (JLNM) Hospital, Rainawari in Srinagar.

The Health and Medical Education Department under No. 118/HME of 2012 dated 17/02/2012 suspended the In-charge Deputy Medical Superintendent Jawahar Lal Nehru Memorial (JLNM) Hospital, Dr Iqbal Sofi, on February 17 but he continued to hold the chair. No doubt he was In-charge Deputy Medical Superintendent officially but under verbal orders of the Director Health Services, Kashmir, he was acting as In-Charge Medical Superintendent.

The Commissioner Secretary Health and Medical Education, G A Peer , suspended Dr Sofi on the basis of the preliminary inquiry conducted by the inquiry officer appointed by Health and Medical Education Department vide Government order No. 14-HME of 2011 dated 10-01-2011.

Dr Sofi was transferred from Sub-district Hospital Chadoora in district Budgam when the inquiry in ` 35 lakh scam in the hospital was going on against him. Despite being a junior most and a tainted official, holding only MBBS degree, he was posted as In-Charge Deputy Medical Superintendent of JLNM hospital in place of one of the senior most doctors, Dr Shafaqat Hussain on January 8, 2012. He was given drawing and disbursing powers on January 9, 2012.

Sources said that Dr Sofi was asked to head the hospital under the directions of the Health Minister Sham Lal Sharma.

After the suspension of Dr Sofi, Assistant Director School Health, Dr Masooda Shah was given charge of In-charge JLNM hospital but she was not allowed to join by Dr Sofi, who continued to hold the chair and issue without date orders in the hospital. Dr Masooda has decided not to confront the powerful Dr Sofi who reportedly has got patronage of the Director and the Minister.

Sources said that the Commissioner Secretary is being bypassed by the powerful Director, who has the patronage of the Minister. The Director has reportedly told Dr Sofi to continue as the In-charge of the JLNM hospital till he gets his suspension order cancelled from the Ministry. Even today, he was sitting on the Medical Superintendent's chair and chaired a meeting that was organised for giving farewell to the recently retired and transferred doctors. The meeting that began at 3 pm ended at 3.30 pm.

Dr Sofi is junior most Assistant Surgeon at Serial No. 1035 in the seniority list of Assistant Surgeons of the department issued by the Health and Family Welfare Department under Government order No. 556-HME of 2011 on 17-11-2011. Dr Shafaqat is at Serial number 195 in the same list and has MBBS, PG and DHM degrees and has served in the department for past 27 years.

Dr Shafaqat who was transferred to Directorate of Health Services got his transfer order stayed from the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on January 13 this year.

Dr Shafaqat is retiring by the end of this year and his transfer was done against the rules. He is not the only officer whose boss is a junior tainted officer but there are large numbers of junior doctors who have been given the coveted posts in the Health Department during past few years.

Amarnath Yatra 2011 weather
SIF organizes blood donation camp

How Sham brightened his own mornings in Health

Once a pharmacist and now Minister of Health in Omar Abdullah-led coalition Government, Sham Lal Sharma, has brazenly violated all rules, norms and principals of propriety in making appointment of almost all heads of departments (HoDs) as he went for a pick-and-choose of his favourites and sycophants. None of these appointments has been cleared by the State Government's Establishment-cum-Selection Committee (ESC), headed by Chief Secretary, or confirmed by the Cabinet, headed by Chief Minister.

Upon the superannuation of Dr Mohammad Amin Wani on 31-03-2011, Assistant Director Dr Saleemur Rehman was picked up and appointed as Director of Health Services Kashmir. It is perhaps immaterial to mention that Dr Rehman had a break in service for nearly four years or he figured in the seniority list of the department's Assistant Surgeons far beyond 550. But, it is more than significant that Dr Rehman was confirmed as Assistant Director (AD) by J&K Public Service Commission on lately as on 24-03-2009. Without the Minister's undue favour, he would have reached the rank of Director in 2019.

Days before Dr Amin Wani's retirement, Special Secretary Health, Manzoor Ahmad Shah, made a panel of seniormost officials and forwarded it to ESC and Cabinet through Minister incharge Health. According to well placed sources in the department, name of Deputy Director (DD) Headquarters, Dr Gursharan Singh, stood on the top of the panel by virtue of his seniority and performance. Without forwarding the panel to the competent authority, Minister turned down the proposal. He instead sent the file directly to Chief Minister with the recommendation that Dr Saleemur Rehman be appointed to function as Incharge Director. The CM, according to sources, approved the suggestion but made it clear that the incumbent would hold the charge temporarily till availability of the qualified and suitable official. On 01-04-2011, Dr Rehman took over as Director Health Services Kashmir.

According to sources in bureaucracy, Cabinet alone happens to be the competent authority of appointment of an HOD, including Director Health Services. The proposal, according to these sources, should have been forwarded by the Minister to ESC, on way to Cabinet, through circulation of CM. Administrative experience of seven to 10 years as AD/DD, besides continuity of service without break and top grade APRs for the previous five years, have been fixed as pre-requisites for consideration of an incumbent as HoD.

Interestingly, the administrative department of Health and Medical Education had submitted in a court just two months before that Dr Saleemur Rehman was simply an AD, who had neither seniority nor other qualifications required for appointment of a Director. This averment, duly approved by the Minister, was submitted to J&K High Court when Dr Saleemur Rehman challenged the appointment of Dr Rakesh Khajuria as Director Family Welfare, J&K. The petitioner, Dr Rehman got the order stayed from the court.

In the Letters Patent Appeal (LPA) against the Order/Judgment dated 31-12-2010 passed by Justice Hasnain Masoodi in Dr Saleemur Rehman's SWP No: 1539/2010, Senior Additional Advocate General, Ali Mohammad Magray, submitted to the court a statement of facts, on 28-01-2011, that had been drafted by Department of Health and Medical Education. It reads:

"It is respectfully submitted that the contesting respondent (Dr Saleemur Rehman) had applied against the direct recruitment post of Assistant Director filled up on recommendations of the PSC in terms of Commission's recommendation conveyed vide No: PSC/DR/HME/AD/DTO/07 dated 24-03-2009 and on acceptance of the recommendations, the appellants accorded sanction to his appointment as Assistant Director, Family Welfare, Srinagar in the pay scale of Rs 10,000-15,200 vide Government Order No: 165-HME of 2009 dated 2-4-2009….."

It adds: "That the respondent admittedly is appointed as Assistant Director Family Welfare against the direct recruitment post in terms of Government Order No: 165-HME of 2009 dated 2-4-2009 on the recommendations of PSC, therefore, for all intends and purposes of law, he (Dr Rehman) is on probation and can not be treated as a Member of the service unless he is brought on substantive appointment after declaring the period of probation as having completed successfully. Besides, the respondent (Dr Rehman) on completion of such probation has to be considered for the post of Deputy Director Health Services".

While Dr Saleemur Rehman, according to Government itself, was yet to be confirmed as Deputy Director on 28-01-2011, he got a windfall on 31-03-2011 when, without any direction from High Court or the Cabinet, he was appointed as Director of Health Services Kashmir.

An Indian tribe are isolated from civilization
Farmers awareness camp organized

Army provides computers, furniture to schools

Continuing with the Indian Army's drive for improvement of educational facilities in remote areas of the state under Operation Sadbhavana, Tithwal Brigade distributed educational aids to various schools here today.

On the occasion, three computers alongwith peripherals were presented to Government High School, Bhajnowa and desks and benches were presented to three Government Schools located in Kalsiyan of Nowshera tehsil. The presentation ceremony was held at Rashtriya Rifles Battalion Headquarter and was attended by Dr Sahid Iqbal, SDM Nowshera, Dr Koshal Sharma, ASP, Jitender Kaur Bhel, Dy CEO, ZEO , students alongwith teachers of the concerned schools besides respective village Sarpanchs.

The presentation ceremony was presided over by Commanding Officer of Rashtriya Rifles. Ved Prakash, Headmaster Government High School Bhajnowa conveyed his heartfelt gratitude to the army for this noble gesture
development of students
Traders meet in Poonch
Sarpanch locks school

VLCC launches international skin treatment

VLCC Health Care Limited, the leading Wellness brand in South Asia ND THE Middle East today announced the launch of an internationally acclaimed skin treatment ‘VLCC MESO-VIT’ in Jammu.

The treatment is directly inspired by aesthetic medicine. It is a salon treatment with a ‘Meso-like’ and repair properties.

Perfectly suited to the skin that becomes sensitive after a beauty procedure, VLCC MESO-VIT optimizes and prolongs the results obtained through the beauty procedure by activating the various mechanisms of skin cells regeneration, rebuilding of the tissues, strengthening of the natural defenses and reduced skin reactivity.

It is a professional, non-invasive treatment with the assistance of two technical tools, the skinjector and the mimics the micro-injections carried out in classical Mesotherapy.

It provides a vitamin-booster effect. Vitamins A, C and E are renowned for the skin correction properties, regenerate, lighten and protect. The efficacy of each vitamin is strengthened by the skinjection effect.

Any customer who books a package till February 29 in Jammu would get a complimentary ‘Head to Toe’ package absolutely free and who walks in for the skin consultation at the VLCC Jammu Centre stands a chance to participate in a lucky draw and win exciting prizes.

Jethmalani at dinner
New Tourism destinations

International Conference on Global Cultural

Int'l Conference on Global Cultural Routes tomorrow

The Centre for Studies in Museology, University of Jammu in association with Ministry of Culture, Government of India, Department of Tourism and Culture, J&K Government and General Zorawar Singh Auditorium Complex University of Jammu, is going to organise a three-day International Conference on Global Cultural Routes: Tourism and Socio-Economic Viability from March 1 to 3 at General Zorawar Singh Auditorium Complex.

Prof Pooman Choudhary Director, Centre for Studies in Museology while briefing the media today said the Governor and Chancellor University of Jammu, N N Vohra will inaugurate the conference on March 1.

She added that Minister for Tourism and Culture, Nawang Rigzin Jora would be the guest of honour while Prof MPS Ishar, Vice Chancellor, University of Jammu, will preside over.

Prof Poomam said experts drawn from eight countries from inter disciplinary fields are likely to participate in the conference which will be divided into technical sessions- visit to heritage sites and cultural route.

She further said that the international conference on Cultural Routes will be attended by experts from all over the world.

Prof G M Batt, who is the co-organising secretary of the conference said the conference will bring together the conclusions of global strategic study striving to improve the recognition with heritage of economic, social, symbolic and philosophical dimensions.

D L Choudhay, Administrator, General Zorawar Singh Auditorium Complex, JU, was also present.

Placement drive by Kashmir University
Aharbal project
Fai released on bond

Valedictory function of seminar held

The valedictory function of two-day long seminar organised by Government Degree College, Paloura in collaboration with Gandhian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Jammu held today.

Dr S S Beloeria, Vice-Chancellor, Central University, Jammu was the chief guest on the occasion.

In his address, Dr Beloeria said non-violence and truth are the two principles to solve all problems and challenges in the world successfully.

Prof Savita Singh, former Director of Gandhi Samiti and Darshan Samiti in her valedictory note dwelt on the life of Mahatama Gandhi.

More than 36 papers were presented and deliberated upon in different sessions which include "Major Conflict and World Peace", "Population, Poverty, Pollution and Proliferation of Armaments" and "Conflict between India and Pakistan".

Major findings and suggestions of the seminar included B A Honours and M A in Gandhian Studies must be started by introducing and launching Gandhian Studies Department in every university of India.

Gandhian Philosophy and its principles were also highly relevant to deal not only with corruption in the corridors of power but also in the area of modern information, communication and technology.

Gandhian studies and principles of life are becoming more relevant even in the areas of management, medical sciences, engineering, vocational and professional education as well.

Prof B B Anand, organising secretary of the seminar, Prof R D Sharma, Dean Academic Affairs, JU and Prof Anurag Gangal, Head Department of Political Science and Director of Gandhian Centre were also present.

Prof Hemla Aggarwal presented the vote of thanks.

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Diabetic Foot project launched
Amritsari shawls

Poor Facilities at Jagti Camp

Panun Kashmir (PK) has appointed Sanjay Raina and Chand Jee Pandita as coordinators of the organization to coordinate with the activists of Jagti.

This was announced by general secretary, PK, Kuldeep Raina, while addressing the activists' meet here today.

Mr Raina, urged the Government to redress the complaint of the inmates of Jagti camp at an earliest with regard to supply of power, ration and cooking gas besides providing of transport facilities.

Mr Raina said the callous attitude of the Government is unacceptable as it is bound to provide basic amenities required for living and the hardships being faced by the inmates of Jagti camp have been a cause of concern for the organization.

He said the seepages in roofs and walls as well as short circuit in various quarters at Jagti has become a common problem of the inmates. He criticized the State Government for its failure in fulfilling its promises that it will overcome the inadequacies in the management of the camp affairs and also complete the unfinished construction work of the camp by improving the quality of construction wherever required but nothing has been done so far.

He said PK is committed to strive for seeking the basic facilities for the Jagti camp and it will not allow the community men to live a second class life. It is high time to enhance the cash assistance and other facilities, he added.

Aggarwals health center raided
Chhari Mubarak to leave on August 8
Separatists meet Hina

Commercial banks observe total strike

Like other parts of the country the work in all commercial banks remained paralyzed throughout Jammu region today on the call of United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) in protest against the price rise, demanding enforcement of basic labor laws, concrete measures for linkages of employment protection and stoppage of disinvestments in Central and State Public Sector Undertakings including assured pension for all.

The bank employees held a protest demonstration in front of State Bank building Hari market where economic policies of Government were criticized. They demanded minimum wages not less than ` 10000.00 per month.

The speakers criticized the privatization of public sector banks and merger of banks, removal of ceiling on voting rights of foreign investors and demanded overtime wages for late sitting including five days a week.

The protestors warned the Union Finance Minister that the bank employees will go for more such strikes in future if Government failed to concede the legitimate demands of the Bank employees.

The demonstration was addressed by C S Kohli, vice president, SBI Staff Association, Chandigarh Circle, Ram Raj Sharma assistant general secretary of the Association.

Another demonstration was held by the Bank employees in front of Press Club here. The demonstration was held under the banner of Jammu Province Bank Employees Federation an affiliate of All India Bank Employees Association, with 11 Trade Union Centers.

Addressing the protestors Com Arun Kumar Gupta, general secretary of the Federation said all the Central Trade Unions including BMS, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, AICTU, TUCC, UTUC, LPF, SEWA have jointly given call for today's strike against the anti labourer and anti workers policies.

The demonstrators opposed implementation of Khandewal Committee recommendations, opposed Banking Law Bill and other reform measures, opposed outsourcing of regular bank jobs, demanded stringent measures to recover bad loans in banks and opposed undue delay in settlement of pending demands.

The demonstrators also opposed Khandelwal Committee recommendations.

Meanwhile under the banner of Forum of Central and State Trade Unions J&K, various State and Central employees observed one days strike today. The strike is at the joint call of all the Central Trade Union in support of the demands including concrete measures to contain price rise and stop Government attacks on organized and unorganized labour class.

The strike was also against the Government’s policies of liberalization, privatization and globalization. The trade unions jointly urged the Government to review its anti people policies and initiate dialogue with the working class on all concerned issues.

Union Power Minister inspects Alchi project
Germany eases travel advisory
ELT workshop begins at KU

Media Protest Continues

Media for the second consecutive day today boycotted Jammu and Kashmir Assembly session protesting Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone’s remarks that it was under his control’.

The mediapersons, both print and electronic, this morning again assembled outside the Legislative Assembly complex and sat on dharna demanding the Speaker to ‘expunge’ his remarks.

The Speaker’s remarks came yesterday on the floor of the House when opposition raised objection over a media report in a local English Daily levelling corruption charges against Jammu and Kashmir Health Department without disclosing the source.

“There are ethics of journalism and they must disclose the source. They (media) have no right to publish any report against anybody as they are under my control”, the Speaker had said.

The PDP had also moved adjournment motion yesterday to suspend routine business and discuss the issue with the Speaker, who rejected it.

“We are with you and we have also boycotted the Assembly session for today”, Nizam-ud-Din Bhat, Senior party leader told reporters.

He, however, said the next course of action would be decided by the party in the evening.

Earlier, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Mohammad Ali Sagar accompanied by JKNPP leader Harsh Dev Singh on behalf of the government appealed to the mediapersons to resume their duties in the press gallery but in vain.

Amarnath Yatra reaches 5.72 lakh
VC for Jammu Central University
Annual Yaga of Jawala Ji Khrew

Highway through for one way

Despite snow and rain one-way traffic continues on the 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the only road connecting the Kashmir valley with the rest of the country.

Official sources said hundreds of vehicles, including those carrying passengers and empty trucks, gas and oil tankers left Srinagar and other parts of the Kashmir valley this morning for Jammu. However, no vehicle was allowed from Jammu today.

The one-way traffic continued on the highway for the past two weeks after heavy snowfall triggered landslides and shooting stones, killing 11 persons, including four members of a family.

Two way traffic will be allowed only after receiving green signal from the BRO, traffic and police officials posted at different places on the highway,said.

Despite one-way traffic, there was traffic jam for several

hours from Zig to Jawhar tunnel, a passenger told UNI over Phone.

He said there was fresh snowfall and rains on the highway but vehicles were moving towards Jammu.

However, sources said there is a danger of landslides and shooting stones because of snow and rains on the highway, particularly in the Jawahar tunnel, Shaitan Nallah, Ramsu and Penthal area.

The highway remained closed for most period of January and this month due to snowfall, avalanches and slippery road condition, resulting in shortage of essentials, particularly cooking gas in the valley.

Meanwhile, the Ladakh region remained cut off from the rest of the state since December 1 last year when Zojila pass was closed for six winter months due to snowfall. The centre and state governments have approved to construct a tunnel at Zojila to make it all weather road.

Dozens of far flung and remote villages, including those near the Line of Control (LoC) also remained cut off from their respective district headquarters due to closure of the Sadhna and Razdan passes in north Kashmir.

Tourist rush in Kashmir
Scholar alleges harassment by KU
Career of 7000 students at stake

Avalanche hits north Kashmir villages

A massive avalanche has hit three villages in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, damaging 11 houses and two school buildings, police said today.

The fresh avalanche hit Abdulan, Chakwali and Malangam villages of Tulail near Line of Control in Bandipora district last night.

Though no one was hurt in the incident, the avalanche damaged 11 houses and two school buildings in the area, police said.

The hilly regions of the Kashmir Valley have been hit by a spate of avalanches over the last fortnight, including two massive avalanches which swept over army camps in central Kashmir’s Sonamarg and north Kashmir Gurez region, killing 19 soldiers.

The avalanches have also extensively damaged the fence on the Line of Control, which was meant to deter infiltration of militants into the Valley.

News August 2011
Promotions in High Court Staff

12th Class Results of Leh 2011

Jammu & Kashmir State Board of School Education, which was established in 1975, located at Jammu and Kashmir, today announced the results for the Result of Higher Secondary Part Two, Winter Zone Annual and Bi -Annual 2011 (Private) Leh Ladakh Province. The Jammu & Kashmir State Board of School Education, Higher Secondary Part-II Winter Zone Annual and Bi -Annual 2011 (Private) Exam results are now available on its official website.The candidates who underwent the Higher Secondary Part-II Winter Zone Annual and Bi -Annual 2011 (Private) examinations,

can access their results now by following the link given below.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Jammu kashmir Generates Rs 7506 cr income by fruit production

The State has generated an income of Rs. 7506 crore by fruit production and its dispatches during last two years, revealed Minister for Horticulture and Floriculture, Sham Lal Sharma today in Legislative Assembly.
Replying to a question by Abdul Rehman Veeri in the House, the Minister said that keeping in view that horticulture is the mainstay of state’s economy, the government is paying focused attention on its development by long and short term measures.

The Minister said that post harvest management infrastructure has been strengthened in the State. He said terminal markets at Parimpora, Narwal and Sopore have been established, adding that 08 satellite markets have been made functional. He said to provide the platform to the growers of Jammu division for marketing their produces the work on development of Fruit Vegetable Mandis at Bishnah, Kathua, Batore, Akhnoor and Rajouri is in advance stage and would be made functional during next fiscal. Moreover, the department is also organizing weekly kissan markets in various localities of the twin cities for growers to sell their produce to the consumers at reasonable rates.

Sham said that government contemplates to establish terminal market at Bijbehara in South Kashmir. He said in this regard 440 kanals of land at Jablipora has been transferred to planning and marketing department adding that after completing all codal formalities the work on the project would be started.

Responding to the supplementaries by Ch. Ramzan, Syed Bashir, Abdul Gaffar Sofi, M. Y. Tarigami and Basharat Bukhari, the Minister assured that government is taking all necessary steps to promote horticulture in the state. He said linking production with marketing channels to achieve dividends. He said government is also working for covering growers under crop insurance scheme.

Anna ends fast
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Introduce horticulture crop insurance in J and K

MLA, M. Y. Tarigami has underscored the need for linking production with marketing channels adding that this was imperative to achieve dividents of increase in the fruit production.

Raising a supplementary to a question of Abdul Rehman Veeri in the Legislative Assembly today, Tarigami said though fruit production in the State has increased many folds but unless this production is linked to marketing, the benefits of the increase in production were not possible.

Tarigami said Horticulture is the major component of State’s economy adding that there was dire need for developing basic infrastructure for pre and post Harvest Management in this sector. He specifically urged for developing Grading and Packaging units and establishing cold chain to increase shelf life of the fruits so that it reaches to the terminal markets of the country in fresh condition. These facilities would enable fruit growers to fetch better remuneration of their produce, Tarigami added. Tarigami also urged for introducing crop insurance scheme to protect the fruit grower against the losses due to natural calamities including hailstorms and drought.

Priceless articles in Toshakhana
Heavy rains lash Jammu region
Ramdev Aruna Roy Varun Gandhi

PDP moves adjournment motion

The Peoples Democratic Party, which is expressing solidarity with media persons following their boycott against Speaker’s  remarks had staged a walk out for two minutes also this morning, has moved a Motion of Adjournment of Normal Business for February 28-02-2012 under Rule 56.

The motion moved by the party stated that the normal business would become meaningless without media scrutiny and coverage; thus the same be suspended for February 28, 2012 to discuss the issue and appeal to the press to resume normal functioning.

Text of the motion moved stated:
“Since media has gone on boycott of the proceedings of Assembly against the remarks of some ministers and the Presiding Officer made on the floor of the house by them on 27-02-2012 during the course of proceedings , an ugly situation has been created with a potential danger to divide the 4th Estate and Legislature at peril of the larger legislative practices. Also, it has the repercussions which are likely to cause irreparable loss to the state polity. As an immediate consequence, the normal business will become meaningless without media scrutiny and coverage.

Therefore, we move that the same be suspended for 28-02-2012 to discuss this issue of urgent public importance, which also should precede with an appeal to press to resume normal functioning and facilitate task of legislature to accomplish the constitutional obligation in a desirable and cooperative manner in tune with democratic spirit and public good.”

Mushaira organised
PM appeals to Anna to end fast
Message for Hoteliers

HC stays Vigilance proceedings against SSP

High Court (HC) today directed Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Vigilance Organisation Jammu (VOJ) not to proceed against Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) City South DySP Mohan Lal Kaith in a complaint filed by alleged land grabber Gola Shah.

Justice Hasnain Massodi of J&K High Court Jammu Wing today directed SSP Vigilance that not to proceed in the matter against DySP Mohan Lal Kaith till next date of hearing. A complaint filed by Ravinder Gupta alias Gola Shah was forward by Special Judge Anticorruption, Jammu.

Mohan Lal Kaith felt aggrieved with the order dated February 23, 2012 of Special Judge Anticorruption Jammu whereby Special Court has forwarded the complaint filed by Gola Shah against DySP to SSP VOJ for verification of allegations to the extent of agreement or attempt to pay and receive illegal gratification by the accused and further necessary action under law.

The petitioner submitted that 14 criminal cases are pending investigation against Gola Shah in Police Stations under the jurisdiction of the petitioner. The petitioner is one of the members of Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by the authorities to investigate the matter and that the complaint filed with Special Judge Anticorruption was intended to prevent DySP from discharging his statutory duties and influence the investigation supervised by the petitioner. The fact that the petitioner is associated with the investigation of the cases against Ravinder Gupta echoed in the order of Special Judge Anticorruption dated February 23, 2012, the petition added.

Polytechnic campus at Kargil
Main Bhi Anna
Protests across Jammu

Karan Johar shoots in Kashmir

The year 2012 has kicked off on a fantastic note for Karan Johar. After producing back-to-back blockbusters — Agneepath and Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, the filmmaker has added another feather to his cap — joining a select clique of directors, who have shot in the picturesque locales of Kashmir.

Currently, Karan is canning a love song for his upcoming directorial venture, Student Of The Year in the Valley. “I always wanted to shoot in Kashmir. And this time, it was a perfect opportunity when we got a love song to shoot,” says Karan, whose song is being choreographed by Farah Khan. “We were keen to capture the snow, so Farah and I decided that shooting in Kashmir would be great.”

The 39-year-old filmmaker feels that movies like Rockstar have helped bring back the beauty of Kashmir on celluloid. “What I am most happy about is that (Bollywood) cinema is revisiting such a stunning location all over again. And I am glad that we are also taking it a step further by presenting a different kind of beauty and energy,” he says.

The filmmaker, who has been shooting at places like Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Srinagar, finds Kashmiris “extremely hospitable.” “We have had the best experience ever (in Kashmir). Also geographically, it goes without saying, it’s stupendous. It’s close to how you would visualise ‘topography perfection,’” says Karan, whose Agneepath is currently making waves in the overseas market. In fact, the film recently crossed the $2 million mark in the US.

Karan, whose films My Name Is Khan (2010), Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna (2006) and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001) already feature in the biggest overseas-grosser list, says, “I have been fortunate to break overseas records at the beginning of my career. I’m glad that our banner (Dharma Productions) resonates well with overseas audiences. I feel proud to be part of movies that find a place in archives of overseas (film) business in terms of box office.”

Independence Reassessment
Politics of Economics
6.36 lakh Piligrims Visit Amarnath Yatra 2011

Vocational training for Valley youth organised

A JCB Excavator training for unemployed youth of Budgam district of Kashmir is being organized under "Operation Sadbhavana" under the aegis of the CIF (K) Force and Chief Engineer Chinar Corps at their Engineering Unit located at Badgam from Feb 6 for four weeks.

The aim of this training is to make the unemployed youth of self-employed, by earning their livelihood through use of this training. In this humane effort, 21 unemployed youth of the district are being trained in JCB Excavators handling and operations. The candidates will also be awarded civil driving license through RTO for operating JCB excavator, which will help them to get suitable employment.

30000 visit Budha Amarnath Shrine
Holy Mace to reach Amarnath

Amarnath Shrine Board Politicized

Alleging blatant politicisation of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), BJP National Executive Member and State Chief Spokesperson Dr. Jitendra Singh has accused the SASB of having surrendered its autonomous character to serve the political interests of NC led Government. He held out a strong word of caution against misguided decision to curtail the duration of Amarnath Yatra to just 39 days this year and demanded reconstitution of Shrine Board with new members selected strictly on basis of stipulated criteria.

Dr. Jitendra expressed surprise that even though the SASB is officially not under control of political administration with Governor as its chairman, over the last few years there is a systemic design to tamper with the conduct of Amarnath Yatra with the ulterior motive to appease the separatists for the benefit of Kashmir-centric so-called mainstream political parties including NC.

Dr. Singh warned against playing with the religious sentiments of people at the risk of disturbing peace in the region and said political parties which accuse BJP of divisive politics are infact themselves dividing the society in the name of religion. He said even on merit, there is no rationale for curtailment of the Yatra period. On the other hand, he said, the limited period of Yatra will pose the logistic problem of handling more than two thousand pilgrims every day.

Strongly advocating the opening of Amarnath Yatra for throughout the year like other religious yatras across the country, Dr. Singh cited scientific evidence from geologists that May to September is suitable weather for Amarnath Yatra while in case of bad weather during other parts of year, there can be provision for appropriate weather forecasts and the yatra can also be temporarily suspended.

Quoting mythological references, Dr. Singh said the period between Jyeshatha Purnima and Raksha Bandhan is auspicious for Charri Mubarak and for the rest of year there is no bar to undertake a trek across the route.

Instead of tempering with the Yatra period every year and kicking up a conflict situation, He suggested that the SASB under Governor would do well to concentrate on improving the Yatra arrangements with timely snow clearing of both the routes and adequate medical aid at base camp as well as enroute.

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NSF pays tributes to Chandrashekhar Azad

National Secular Forum (NSF) today organised a programme at University of Jammu to pay tributes to Chandrashekhar Azad.

Neeraj Sharma was the chief guest while Surjit Choudhary and Sukhdev Singh were the guests of honour.

Speaking on the occasion, Neeraj Sharma lauded the initiative of NSF to remember the martyrs who made supreme sacrifice for the freedom of the country.

He stressed upon the youth to shun violence and contribute in the development of the nation.

Neeraj further said Chandrashekhar Azad was a freedom fighter who was one of the most influential revolutionaries of the Indian Independence Movement.

Vikas Sharma, NSF president, Shafqat Malik, chairman, University Unit, Surjit Choudhary, district chairman and Sunil Kumar, chairman, Jammu Unit also spoke on the occasion.

Balveer Kumar, Jatinder Kour, Manpreet Kour, Jagdeep Kumar, Tanveer Malik, Cheeman Singh, Sanjeev Kumar, Rahul Sharma, Sandeep Parihar, Merja and Pardeep were also present.

Land Scam in Kashmir
Chhari Mubarak leaves for Amarnath cave
Dr Bloeria first VC of Jammu Central University

Sant Gora Jis Birth Anniversary Celebrated

The birth anniversary of Sant Shree Gora Ji Maharaj was today celebrated with great religious fervour and gaiety today. In this connection a function was organized at Sant Gora Ji Bhawan, B C Road by Prajapati Sabha.

The function was held under the chairmanship of Ayodhya Kumar Manwa. A large number of members of the Sabha participated in the function in which Kuldeep Raj Verma, vice chairman OBC Advisory Board was the chief guest and Mangat Ram Sharma former Deputy Chief Minister was the guest of honour.

The devotees paid their obeisance to Sant Ji and sought his blessings. The function was also attended by various social and political leaders within and outside the state.

On the occasion speakers threw light on the teachings of this great saint and urged the people to follow them. They urged the community to launch a crusade against social evils. Sabha also distributed blankets to the poor and needy. It also presented mementos to meritorious students.

On the occasion charter of demands was read by G R Dafara publicity secretary of the Sabha. Kuldeep Raj Verma, Mangat Ram Sharma, Ayodhya Kumar Manwa, Des Raj Tyagi and Jeet Singh were among others who addressed the function. The langer was also served to devotees.

During the function the demands which were in principal agreed by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah last year were also highlighted. They included issuance of OBC certificate on birth basis instead of OSC certificate, enhancement in creamy layer annual income from ` three lakh to ` nine lakh, pre matric /post matric scholarships and other educational facilities to OBC students on the pattern of SC/ST, reservation to OBC communities in Panchayat, civic bodies and other government agencies and enhancement in reservation.

Food festival in Jk
Resolution on Kashmiri Pandits in US House

KU organises counseling for MAT and UGAT

In order to acquaint the candidates of the programmes about various dimensions of MAT/UGAT, the Centre for Career Planning and Counselling, University of Kashmir (KU) today organised day long sessions at its Convocation Complex here.

About 300 students from across the Valley participated in both sessions. Prof Musadiq Amin Sahaf, Director, Centre for Career Planning Counselling said the KU shall consider CAT/MAT and UGAT scores for admission to Master of Business Administration and Master of Finance and Control (MBA/MFC) and MBA (Integrated) Programmes respectively from the current academic session.

He added that students who want to pursue MBA or MFC through KU need to know about CAT and MAT thoroughly.
He informed that the next MAT examination will be held on May 6. Vijay and Rahul were the resource persons for various sessions.

3 days Employment fair at Hiranagar

A 3-day employment fair was inaugurated by the Minister for Higher Education, Labour and Employment Abdul Gani Malik at Hiranagar today.

Member Parliament, Ch. Lal Singh, Member Legislative Assembly, Hiranagar, Durga Dass, District Development Commissioner, Kathua Zahida Khan, Deputy Director Employment, Natasha Kalsotra, Sectoral officers and large number of unemployed youth were present on the occasion.

The dignitaries went round various stalls set up by the various departments to provide information to aspiring youth about various self-employment schemes. They interacted with the stall holders and enquired about the facilities being provided to youth.

Addressing the function, the Minister Mr. Malik appealed youth to take up self-employment ventures under various schemes launched by several departments. He said that Government cannot provide job to all, hence self-employment is the best solution of unemployment crisis.

Mr. Malik while apprising the youth about the steps being taken by the Government for betterment of youth asked the officers to ameliorate the lot of people in general and educated unemployed youth in particular.

Member Parliament Ch. Lal Singh impressed upon officers to work for welfare of youth and extend hassle free awareness, guidance and counseling to them so that the young unemployed persons would feel comfortable in taking up a particular scheme for setting up of a unit under self-employment programme.

He said Central Government is committed to extend all possible help to State Government for the purpose and it is the duty of State functionaries to make judicious use of funds being provided by the Centre.

MLA Hiranagar also addressed the function.

Earlier, District Development Commissioner Kathua apprised the dignitaries about the steps taken by the district administration for organizing employment fair.

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15th August arrangements reviewed
Yatris leave for Buddha Amarnath

Places to visit in kashmir


Gulmarg's legendary beauty, prime location and proximity to Srinagar naturally make it one of the premier hill resorts in the country. Originally called 'Gaurimarg' by shepherds, its present name was given in the 16th century by Sultan Yusuf Shah, who was inspired by the sight of its grassy slopes emblazoned with wild flowers. Gulmarg was a favourite haunt of Emperor Jehangir who once collected 21 different varieties of flowers from here. Today Gulmarg is not merely a mountain resort of exceptional beauty- it also has the highest green golf course in the world, at an altitude of 2,650 m, and is the country's premier ski resort in the winter.
The journey to Gulmarg is half the enchantment of reaching there-- roads bordered by rigid avenues of poplar give over to flat expanses of rice fields interspersed with picturesque villages. Depending on the season, nature's colours could be the translucent green of spring, summer's rich emerald, or autumn's golden hues, when scarlet chillies festoon windows of village homes. After Tangmarg, the climb to Gulmarg begins through fir-covered hillsides. At one point, known simply as View Point, travellers generally stop their vehicles for a few minutes and look out a spectacle of snow-covered mountains, almost within touching distance

PAHALGAM - The Valley of Shepherds.

Situated at the confluence of the streams flowing from Sheshnag Lake and the Lidder river, Pahalgam (2,130 m) was once a humble shepherd's village with breathtaking views. Now it is Kashmir's premier resort, cool even during the height of summer when the maximum temperature does not exceed 250C. A number of hotels and lodges cater to all preferences and budgets, from luxurious hotels to unpretentious trekkers' lodges, including J&K TDC's huts.

Around Pahalgam are many places to visit in kashmir interest, and because the resort is set between fairly steep hills, it is worth hiring a pony rather than walking. Pony fares are posted at prominent locations.

The most beautiful of these is the huge, undulating meadow of Baisaran, surrounded by thickly wooded forests of pine. Hajan, on the way to Chandanwari, is an idyllic spot for a picnic. Filmgoers will recognize it instantly as it has been the location of several movie scenes

SONAMARG - The Meadow of Gold.

The drive to Sonamarg is through the Sindh Valley which presents yet another spectacular facet of countryside in Kashmir. Situated at an altitude of 2730 m, Sonamarg (‘The meadow of gold’) has, as its backdrop, snowy mountains against a cerulean sky. The Sindh River that meanders through the valley abounds with trout and mahaseer. Ponies can be hired for the trip up to Thajiwas glacier, which is a major local attraction during the summer months.

Sonamarg is the base of a major trek that passes along several mountain lakes –Vishansar, Kishansar, Gadsar, Satsar and Gangabal. Sonamarg is also the take off station for the drive to Ladakh across the Zojila, a major pass in the Great Himalayan Range, through which the Srinagar-Leh Road passes.

Amarnathji Yatra - a journey into faith

"The Himalayan pilgrimages are the oldest organised travel system, evolved over time by Hindu sages and embodying the spirit of wander, adventure and spirituality"

One of the holy trinity, Shiva is a living god. The most ancient and sacred book of India, the Rig Veda evokes his presence in its hymns. Vedic myths, ritual and even astronomy testify to his existence from the dawn of time.

Shiva is known to have made his home in the Himalayas. He built no house nor shelter, not for himself or his bride. He was an ascetic, and yet married; he could be both for "he was the wild god sporting in the forest or taking his ease on a cloud."

Legend has it that Shiva recounted to Parvati the secret of creation in the Amarnathji cave. Unknown to them, a pair of mating pigeons eavesdropped on this conversation and having learned the secret, are reborn again and again, and have made the cave their eternal abode. Many pilgrims report seeing the pigeons-pair when they trek the arduous route to pay obeisance before the ice-lingam (the phallic symbol of Shiva).

Hundreds of vehicles leave for Srinagar from Jammu

Hundreds of vehicles, including those carrying essentials for the Kashmir valley, left Jammu this morning as authorities allowed only one-way traffic on the highway, connecting the Places to Visit in Kashmir Valley with the rest of the country.

The one-way traffic on the highway has been continuing since the past two weeks after heavy snowfall triggered landslides and shooting stones, killing 11 people, including four members of a family.

A traffic police spokesman said here today that hundreds of vehicles, including trucks loaded with essentials and passengers, left Jammu and Udhampur this morning for Kashmir.

He said no vehicle was allowed from Srinagar or any other part of the Valley.

This has been decided as a precautionary measure to avoid traffic jam on the highway. Two way traffic will be allowed after receiving green signal from the BRO, traffic and police officials posted at different places on the highway.

The highway remained closed for most period of January and February due to snowfall, avalanches and slippery road condition, resulting in shortage of essentials, particularly cooking gas.

Majority of meat and chicken shops remained closed. However, in

some areas, the butchers and those selling chicken were seen selling their products on higher rates against the government approved rates.

Ladakh region remained cut off from the rest of the state since December 1 last year when Zojila pass was closed for six winter months due to snowfall. The Centre and state government have approved to construct a tunnel at Zojila to make it an all weather road.

Dozens of far-flung and remote villages, including those near the Line of Control (LoC) also remained cut off from their respective district headquarters due to closure of the Sadhna and Razdan passes in north Kashmir.

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Media boycotts Assembly over Speakers statement

Journalists today boycotted House proceedings and sat on a dharna outside the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly complex in protest of Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone's comment that the "Media was under his control".

The remark came after Health Minister Sham Lal Sharma, in the Assembly, raised the issue of a story carried by a local newspaper against him and his department, and sought action against the newspaper.

Appealing to the Speaker to seek an explanation from the newspaper, Sharma alleged that a section of media was carrying out a vilification campaign against state ministers.

Sharma was backed by PHE and Irrigation Minister Taj Mohideen, who said that serious allegations have been made against some ministers.

The Speaker said that he would announce his ruling over the issue and give direction to the media.

When PDP MLA Nizam-uddin Bhat pointed that the matter cannot be decided in Assembly and it should be taken up with the Press Council of India, Lone said that "media is under his control and they will have to reveal their sources".

"Media is under control of this House," the Speaker said.

Protesting against this comment the mediamen walked out of the press gallery and boycotted the proceedings. They sat on dharna outside the Assembly complex in protest against the Speaker's comment.

The journalists demanded that Lone's statement be expunged from proceedings. They said that the freedom of press cannot be undermined by the Speaker.

The Assembly proceedings continued without presence of media, who decided to continue the boycott tomorrow.

Public Sector Banks Strike on Feb 28

Twenty two Public Sector Banks operational in Jammu and Kashmir are most likely to be closed on February 28, 2012 due to a strike call given by employees’ unions to get their long pending demands addressed.National Confederation of Bank Employees, Deputy General Sectary for J&K state,Mustaq Ahmad Bhat told JK News that it is an all India level strike call to get the genuine demands of the clerical and other lower staff addressed. “Employees of Public Sector Banks here too would observe the strike,” Bhat confirms.
Over one thousand five hundred employees of Public Sector Banks in J&K would go on strike on coming Tuesday. While at all India level more than 8,00,000 employees and officers affiliated with these unions are expected to participate in the strike. Across India there are about 87,000 branches of public sector banks, which control about 75 per cent of banking business.

Bankers expect the strike would several affected the operations of the public sector banks here particularly in the rural areas of the state. “Clearings and other inter banks operations would be hampered because of the strike. Particularly the customers of these banks would be the worst hit in the strike,” Sovais Shafi, an officer in a private sector bank here said.

The banks that would go on strike include: State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Central Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India and others.

The strike is against the privatization of Public Sector Banks and reduction of government’s equity in Public Sector Banks. “Against allowing unrestricted entry of foreign capital in banking sector, issuance of licenses to industrial houses to start their own banks,” Bhat said.

While stressing on the two demands Bhat said that employees of the banks demand implementation of uniform scheme for house building loan, vehicles loan, and festival advances to all bank staff. “Implementation of 5 days banking,” Bhat added.

The bank employees are also demand to scarp Khandelwal Committee recommendations.The committee had suggested a slew of measures, including outsourcing more and more non-core activities in a time-bound manner. The panel had also recommended raising the standard of recruitment, including the methodology and content for tests, besides making the testing of computer skills mandatory for both officers and clerks.“Seven bank unions of nine have given strike call for stringent and effective measures to recover bad loans of banks and unilateral imposition of Khandelwal committee recommendations," All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) General Secretary C H Venkatachalam on record has said.

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Farooq fake Twitter account off net

The fake Twitter account of Union Minister Farooq Abdullah today went off from the micro-blogging site with its discreet author apologising to the minister in a goodbye message.

This came a day after the Minister for New and Renewable Energy registered a police complaint against unknown persons for opening a fake Twitter account in his name and posting "some objectionable, indecorous and intemperate things" on the networking site.

Apparently facing the heat of law enforcement agencies, the author of the account made two entries in his final messages apologising to the Union Minister and his family for inconvenience caused by him.

"I had no intention, whatsoever, to tarnish the image of Mr Abdullah or to cause any harm to his image. This account was purely meant for fun," the anonymous author said.

Within minutes after posting the final two tweets past 1 PM, the page was off the micro-blogging site. However, police said that they would be able to trace the account at the earliest and bring the case to its logical conclusion.

The Minister had yesterday clarified that he had never opened any such account nor has authorised anyone to do it on his behalf.

"A complaint in this regard has already been lodged with Delhi Police with the request to initiate immediate probe in this regard," the spokesperson said.

Abdullah has expressed his anguish at "such misuse of social networking sites by unscrupulous elements which are otherwise a boon for spreading information and freedom of expression."

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Jammu kashmir

Mega training camp held for Panchs Sarpanchs

A mega training camp was organized in Hardu Suresh Khag today on the side lines of Basic Foundation Course training being imparted to 165 Panchs and Sarpanchs of Khag Tehsil.

The Camp was attended by Panchs and Sarpanchs of Khag Tehsil officers and officials of Rural Development department and officers of 14 concerned departments.

Inaugurating the training camp, the chief guest on the occasion District Development Commissioner, Budgam, Mohammad Rafi said that by subordinating 14 departments to Panchayats, the Government has revolutionised the administrative process. He said that in future all the developmental activities would be implemented after discussing the plans with concerned Panchayats. He said that Rural Development department would soon release a Panchayat Directory, which would provide all necessary information and bio data of Panchs and Sarpanchs.

Interacting with many a public delegations on the occasion, the District Development Commissioner assured them that all their grievances would be address in a phased manner.

Among others, Dr. Shah Faisal, Assistant Commissioner Development, Qazi Sarvar, District Panchayat Officer, Budgam, Block Development Officer, Khag, Mohammad Ashraf Dijoo, Officers of concerned departments and other agencies were present on the occasion.

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Government totally ignoring displaced Pandits

Kashmiri Pandit Conference (KPC) has accused the government of ignoring the displaced Pandits totally and said that the community, which is living in exile for over last 20 years has a sordid tale of total neglect.

Highlighting the problems of the community, which has been the main victim of Pak sponsored terrorism, president KPC, Kundan Kashmiri at a meeting here today demanded constitution of a Commission of Enquiry to probe the mass exodus of KPs, selective killing of innocent members of the community, loot and arson of their property. He further demanded that KPs Shrine and Temple Bill be passed in the present session of State Legislature. Besides KPs participation should be made mandatory in all nature of dialogues related to Kashmir issue, grant of age relaxation to KP youths and construction of shops at Jagti township and other camps also needs urgent attention.

Stressing on the consolidated rehabilitation of displaced Pandits in Kashmir Valley with complete writ of Indian constitution Kundan Kashmiri said it is the only solution of KPs problems. He said that KPs return to their previous locations in Valley is impossible in view of changed mind set of the people there as majority community rejected co-existence in 1989-90 by forcing the community to leave their homes and hearths.

Highlighting the problems of KP youth, Kundan Kashmiri said that almost four years have now elapsed when Prime Minister declared employment package for 6000 posts for displaced community but till now hardly around 1500 posts were filled and rest were deliberately delayed on the one or the other pretext. If government goes by this process it will take next 10 to 15 years to fill up these posts, till then KP youth for whom the package was announced will become over aged, he added.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Govt to tap pilgrim tourism potential

Lauding efforts of Shree Chandi Mata Trust for providing platform to singers, Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand said the State is rich in talent and local artists have excelled in their field not only in the country but all over the world. Such competitions go a long way in nurturing budding vocalists of the area and provides an opportunity to showcase the local talent to a wider audience, he added.

He was speaking after inaugurating Bhaint competition organized by Shree Chandi Mata Trust, Jammu and kashmir.

Calling upon the organizers to make the event a regular feature, the Deputy Chief Minister said every year a national level Bhajan competition is organized at Katra and local as well as national artists participate in the same, adding that success of the competition can be adjudged from the fact that winners of the competition have earned name and fame in the music industry.

Reiterating resolve of the Government for promoting pilgrim tourism, Mr. Tara Chand said focused attention is being paid to promote religious tourist circuits of the State and all out efforts have been initiated to upgrade required infrastructure at these world famous pilgrim destinations.

He said tourism is an important contributor to State's economy and Government is fully determined to tap the vast potential of pilgrim tourism in all three regions of the State.

Underscoring the need to provide better facilities to pilgrims, he said Ghulam Nabi Azad has shown personal interest in the project for upgrading infrastructure of Machail Yatra and measures have been initiated to improve the arrangements on the lines of Mata Vaishno Devi Yatra.

"Machail Yatra is growing every year and as per an estimate it has crossed five lakh last year, now we have to initiate measures for promoting the yatra in a much bigger way," he added.

Among others the function was attended by, Padam Shree S.P. Verma and Special Secretary, Housing and Urban Development Kuldip Lal Khajuria.

Various demands were projected by the Trust, including Bhawan/ Sarai at Jammu and Padar and up gradation of facilities for the visiting yatris.

Responding to the demands, the Deputy Chief Minister said all genuine demands of the Trust would be examined and necessary action taken.

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Shoba Yatra of Bhagat Kabir

An impressive Shoba Yatra was taken on the occasion of Nirvan Divas of Bhagat Kabir here today. The Shoba Yatra started from Satwari Chowk and later culminated at Bhagat Kabir Temple, Court Road, Janipur.

Hundreds of devotees drawn from different parts of Jammu participated in the Shoba Yatra, which was taken out by All J&K Kabir Sabha and the members of All J&K Megh Sudhar Sabha also participated in it. The Shoba Yatra after passing via Bikram Chowk, Indira Chowk, Rehari Chungi, Ambphalla, New Plots culminated into a religious congregation at Kabir Temple Old Janipur.

As the Shoba Yatra left the Satwari Chowk the slogans of Jai Kabir-Dhan Kabir rented the air. The Shoba Yatra was led by ex Minister Mula Ram and president of the Sabha F C Bhagat.

The devotees of Sant Kabir attired in colorful costumes and riding on tractor trolleys and two wheelers took part in Shoba Yatra. They were reciting the Dhohas of Sant Kabir, an apostle of peace and brotherhood enroute.

Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand who was the chief guest at Janipur function while paying rich tributes to Sant Kabir said the message of great saints have humanistic values and promote peace and mutual co-existence.

Urging the people to follow the path shown by great saints, he said the teachings of Sant Kabir are more relevant today. He described Bhagat Kabir a great saint of Bhakti movement and said his teachings have universal appeal.

MLA Chenani, Krishan Chand Bhagat, M L A RS Pura, Prof Garu Ram Bhagat, ex Minister Mula Ram, Special Secretary, Planning G R Bhagat and president of the Sabha F C Bhagat, also attended the function.

Dina Nath and Baski Ram of Kotli Shah Doula also gave the religious discourses. The State and district office bearers of the Sabha paid rich tributes to the Sant Kabir on the occasion.

A resolution was moved by F C Bhagat demanding that Kabir Jayanti be declared as Gazetted Holiday and it was passed with one voice by the gathering.

Mr Bhagat appealed the gathering to extend all support to the Sabha so that the dream of Sant Kabir is realized.

He also highlighted the achievements of the Sabha saying it is providing financial assistance to 500 meritorious students, besides it is giving appreciation letters to those community members who are selected in KAS and MBBS.

Bhagat Mahasabha organized another function at village Bala Chak, R S Pura in which thousands of devotees took part and paid their obeisance to Bhagat Kabir. A Satsang and Kirtan was held by Swami Milkhi Ram Bhagat of Gorda Waley. While singing the Shabad, Dohe, and Sakhian of Sant Kabir, Swami Ji asked the Sangat to follow the teachings of this great saint. He said only his teachings can bring Megh community out of backwardness.

He said the children should be made aware about the teachings of this great saint. The Sangat demanded declaration of Kabir Jayanti as gazetted holiday.

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Amarnath Yatra 2012 from June 25

As recommended by the Sub-Committee of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board headed by Sri Sri Ravi Shanker, this year Amarnath yatra 2012 will be for 37 days beginning from June 25 and will conclude on August 2 coinciding with Raksha Bandhan.

The recommendations of the Sub-Committee, which was constituted in July 2011 to advise the Board regarding the duration and schedule of the yatra in 2012 and beyond, were accepted in the meeting of the Shrine Board held under the chairmanship of Governor, N N Vohra at New Delhi.

The Board directed the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to timely commence the registration of pilgrims and ensure the effective management of the Yatra. He was also asked to arrange a Special Pooja on the day of Jyestha Purnima, which falls on June 4. This Pooja, if possible, will take place at the Holy Cave or at any other suitable location in the Yatra area.

The Board further directed that all possible efforts should be made, in coordination with all concerned agencies, to make a timely assessment to determine whether it would be feasible to consider advancing the Yatra by a few days, prior to June 25. 

In this regard, a specific review of snow melting and pace of snow clearing work would be undertaken in the first week of June. It was further resolved that if pre-ponement before June 25 is found possible, even by few days, the CEO will organize registration of Yatris through a speedy mode like on-line or even spot-registration.

The Board noted that a growingly large number of pilgrims have been losing their lives during the pilgrimage, particularly due to cardiac related ailments. As many as 45, 68 and 107 people had lost their lives in 2009, 2010 and 2011 Yatras respectively.

In this context, the Board observed that time has come to consider more effective approach and decided that pilgrims will have to furnish a health certificate issued by a Registered Medical Practitioner (RMP) at the time of registration. The enforcement of such a pre-condition had also been advised by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

The Board directed the CEO to issue a very clear advisory to inform every intending Yatri to undergo a medical check-up to assess his/her fitness for undertaking the arduous yatra. 

Referring to the helicopter services from Pahalgam to Panjtarni, which were started in 2009 on experimental basis for about two weeks before conclusion of yatra, the Board said heli services had been gainfully utilised by over 5000 yatris every year during the 2010 and 2011 pilgrimage.

The CEO informed that fresh contractual arrangements for the helicopter services from Baltal and Pahalgam to Panjtarni are being worked out and the schedules and rates would be notified shortly.

Expressing satisfaction over the measures taken for environmental protection, including the effective operation of two Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs), based on the eco-friendly biological treatment, at the Baltal and Nunwan base camps, the Board desired that these measures should be sustained and progressively enlarged and upgraded for the future yatras. 

It was informed in the meeting that a comprehensive plan had been drawn up in this regard, in consultation with Sunita Narain, Director, Centre for Science and Environment, Delhi, who is also the Member of the Board. The Board also approved the proposal for significant augmentation of the toilet facilities at various camp locations in the yatra area.

All the Board members Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Dr Kapila Vatsyayan, Justice (Retd.) G D Sharma, Dr Sunita Narayan, Vijay Dhar, Pt Bhajan Sopori and Dr (Prof) Ved Kumari Ghai besides R K Goyal, Chief Executive Officer and Preet Pal Singh, Additional Chief Executive Officer of the Shrine Board attended the meeting.

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News October 2011