Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Grenade Attack in Anantnag

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karan Singh Visited Kheer Bhawani

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

Anti Tobacco Day

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

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

Monday, June 3, 2013

Katra Railway Station will be linked with Major States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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