Cong holds series of
election meetings

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Feb 4: With election day coming closer, Congress Party today organized series of public gatherings, impressing upon the people....more

RK Finance Company multi-crore scam
Depositors suspect
police, financiers’
nexus, seek CBI probe

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Feb 4: Alleging increasing level of harassment of the duped despositors in the mutli-crore R K Finance Company scam, the Depositors Action Committee....more

Members of Muffasil
Bar Associations hold
protest demonstration

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Feb 4: Members of the Bar Associations of Samba, R S Pura, Bishnah, Akhnoor, Hiranagar.......more

Election arrangements

Excelsior Correspondent

RAJOURI Feb 4: Arrangements with regards to ensuing Parliamentary By-election...more

‘Termination of services of 306 CPLs by BRO justified’
GREF not Industry
governed by Industrial
Dispute Act: Brig Panghat

Excelsior Correspondent

AKHNOOR, Feb 4: Chief Engineer, Project Sampark of Border Roads Organisation...more


Jammu and Kashmir

Nirmal blames NC,
Cong for JK militancy

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Feb 4: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Jammu-Poonch Parliamentary constituency candidate Dr Nirmal Singh has accused the successive National Conference and Congress Governments for the ongoing militancy in the State.......more

‘Cong mother of all miseries’
BSP blames BJP for Kargil,
assails NC for misrule

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Feb 4: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate for Jammu-Poonch Parliamentary by-election, Sheikh Abdul Rehman was today given a rousing......more

NC Govt discriminating with
hilly areas: Mehbooba

Excelsior Correspondent

SURANKOTE, Feb 4: Blaming successive National Conference Governments for the under-development and backwardness of hilly areas of Jammu region........more

‘Empower Women Commission’
Set up family courts to end
gender injustice: Girija

By O P Sharma

JAMMU, Feb 4: Dr Girija Dhar, Chairperson, State Women Commission has pleaded for opening family courts for expeditious settlement of family disputes in Jammu and Kashmir.........more


Cong holds series of election meetings

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Feb 4: With election day coming closer, Congress Party today organized series of public gatherings, impressing upon the people to cast their vote in favour of Congress candidate Madan Lal Sharma in the ensuing by-election for Jammu -Poonch Lok Sabha seat.

A large gathering was organized at Simbal under the supervision of Rajinder Singh, convenor All India J&K Sikh unity Forum and Romesh Lal Mottan, senior Congress leader in connection with the coming Parliamentary by-election to be held on February 21.

Among those who addressed the gathering included Ms Mohsina Kidwai, general secretary AICC, Pradesh Congress president Mohd Shaffi Qureshi, Senior Congress leader Mangat Ram Sharma, Congress MLA, Ashok Sharma and Mr Madan Lal Sharma.

The leaders said that the Congress was the only party which can meet the demands of the people in Jammu and Kashmir.

The meeting assailed the anti-Sikh policies adopted by National Conference.

Meanwhile, Congers candidate for Jammu Lok Sabha by-election, Madan Lal Sharma conducted tour of Jammu city and addressed the gathering at Krishna Nagar, Bhagwati Nagar, Talab Tillo, Bharat Nagar, Bohri, Muthi, Barnai and other adjoining areas.

He was accompanied by Yash Pal Khajuria, Vinod Sharma, Yogesh Sawhney, Capt Jagan Nath, Lalita Sharma, Raj Bakshi, Kanta Bhan, Chanchal Gandotra, Virender Manhas, Jatinder Singh and Vikram Malhotra.

Addressing the Congress workers, Sharma said that he is contesting the election only to save Jammu people from the communal and anti-people policies of BJP-NC alliance as " both yesterday’s enemies are today’s friends to curb the sentiments and rights of the people of Jammu".

Questioning BJP, the Congress asked the party to make public the development activities of four years. He advised BJP not to communalise the situation in the constituency and instead work for the development of the area.

Sharma further lamented on National Conference by saying that the Government machinery is being misused by the Ministers and political leaders.

RK Finance Company multi-crore scam
Depositors suspect police, financiers’ nexus,
seek CBI probe

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Feb 4: Alleging increasing level of harassment of the duped despositors in the mutli-crore R K Finance Company scam, the Depositors Action Committee has demanded CBI probe into the whole episode.

Addressing a press conference here today, president of the Committee Mr Lal Muni Sharma, supported by other executive members alleged that several investors registered with the Committee are regularly receiving threatening telephone calls. Their harassment at the hands of investigating agency and also by the hired criminals apparently by the financiers now in the police custody, has increased after the drama of their surrender enacted at certain quarters.

It is very unfortunate that Crime Branch has failed to provide any sort of relief to the depositors in last about one month after surrender and till now not even single dipositor has been helped in getting back the hard earned money. The Crime Branch officials have

failed to show any results. He alleged that some insiders in the Crime Branch were protecting the financiers and the possible nexus of police-financiers and the criminals can not be ruled out. With the muscle power, they have launched a campaign against the investors who are striving hard for getting their hard earned money back.

Mr Sharma said most of the depositors (about 300) registered with the Committee are from middle and lower middle class, widows etc. who had deposited their hard-earned money with the R K Finance Company. It is unfortunate that several cases pertaining to this scam are pending in different courts. The Committee members requested the Chief Justice of the J&K High Court to issue directions to the lower courts and club all the cases pertaining to the scam and hand over to one judge for disposal in order to provide justice to hundereds of duped investors.

He disclosed that as per the record available, money to the tune of Rs 5 crores is involved, which belonged to these 300 depositors. A large number of investors have not come forward due to their own constraints. But their number may be more than one thousand.

Other executive members, Mr Anand Sharma advocate, Mr Ashwani Sharma and general secretary, Rajesh Gupta said that they were not satisfied with the investigations being conducted by Crime Branch of State Police. The Chief Minister should take initiative to hand over the case to the CBI so that the existing nexus could be exposed and the case be properly investigated up to the satisfaction of the poor investors.

Referring to the increasing life threats to the depositors, these members said that this practice was observed after the surrender of three absconding financiers. The arrest of fourth — R K Gupta is very vital at this juncture and it is believed that Crime Branch officials are well aware of his whereabouts. They further alleged that though these three cheats are in lock up yet they are availing all the facilities due to their influence. They also took serious note of the fact that some sympathisers of the financiers were trying to get their properties transferred in their favour on the basis of fraudulent documents prepared in connivance with the financiers. They urged upon the authorities to take note of this practice and book the guilty people for this fraud.

Members of Muffasil Bar Associations hold
protest demonstration

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Feb 4: Members of the Bar Associations of Samba, R S Pura, Bishnah, Akhnoor, Hiranagar, Basholi, Billawar and Bani today took out a demonstration for restoration of Fast Tract/Circuit Courts of Additional District and sessions judge. The protest was held under the chairmanship of Mr Sukhdev Singh Sambyal, president of the Muffasil Bar Associations.

The demonstration started from Indira Chowk and passed through different bazars before reaching Rajbhawan where the members handed over a memorandum to the Governor. Members all their way from Indira Chowk to Rajbhawan shouted slogans in favour of Fast Tract Courts.

In their memorandum, the members said that Fast Track Court was a Central Government sponsored scheme which was implemented in the state in April 2001 with the concurrence of Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah and the then Chief Justice Dr B P Saraf.

This concept was widely welcomed by the rural public, rural lawyers and other legal luminaries. The Fast Track Court was functioning smoothly when all of sudden on December 3, 2001, the headquarters of Additional District and Sessions Judges Fast Track/Circuit Courts were shifted to district headquarters. They informed that Muffasil Bar Associations are on continuing strike for the past two months for the restoration of the Fast Track Courts.

Election arrangements reviewed

Excelsior Correspondent

RAJOURI Feb 4: Arrangements with regards to ensuing Parliamentary By-election for 6-Jammu Parliamentary Constituency were reviewed by the Chief Electoral Officer, Mr. Parmodh Jain at a meeting of officers connected with election process held here today.

The Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Mr. Anil Goswami, Returning Officer, (DC, Jammu), Mr. Rohit Kansal, District Election Officer(DC, Rajouri), IGP, Jammu, DIG, Rajouri-Poonch Range, and SP Rajouri were present in the meeting.

It was revealed in the meeting that 3,34,970 voters including 1,61,312 female are likely to exercise their franchise on the polling day from all the four Assembly segments viz. Nowshera, Darhal, Rajouri and Kalakote of the district.

The District Election Officer, Mr. K.A. Khan apprised the meeting that out of 275 polling stations, 127 have been declared as hypersensitive, 114 sensitive and 81 as snow bound for which elaborate arrangements of security and transportation have been made. He said that the district has been divided in 12 zones and 37 sectors with appointment of Zonal and Sectoral Officers in order to maintain law and order. In addition, 329 Presiding and 989 Polling Officers have also been appointed.

Addressing the meeting, Mr. Jain asked the officers to ensure not only free, fair and orderly polls, but also make arrangements for conducting election more smoothly. He said no leave shall be granted in favour of any employee till the election process is over.

Earlier, Mr. Jain also flew to Koteranka and Thanna Mandi and reviewed the election arrangements.

The Divisional Commissioner assured the officers that he will take up the matter for enhancement of remuneration rates for employees put on election duty in far-flung areas with the authorities.

‘Termination of services of 306 CPLs by BRO justified’
GREF not Industry governed by Industrial
Dispute Act: Brig Panghat

Excelsior Correspondent

AKHNOOR, Feb 4: Chief Engineer, Project Sampark of Border Roads Organisation Brig S Panghat has said that BRO is not an Industry and never comes under the provisions of ‘Minimum Wages Act’ or the Industrial Disputes Act.

Taking serious note of the dharna staged by some casual paid labourers (CPL) recently dis-engaged by the GREF authorities in R S Pura, Brig Panghat said GREF is uniformed force of Defence Services covered under provisions of Army Act 1950 and army Rules 1954. This force has basically been raised to meet the strategical and operational requirements of Indian Army and has specific role assigned during military operations and war.

He disclosed that the main aim of the force is to construct and maintain roads and bridges as per requirement projected by Indian Army and accepted by Border Roads Development Board depending upon the availability of resources. It also undertakes works on behalf of Ministry of Surface Transport and Ministry of Home.

There is no provision of any agitation, unionism or the formation of an Association. Commenting on the agitational path adopted by some casual workers of GREF at R S Pura, the Chief Engineer said that terms and policies of the BRO are very clear and all the workers know about it. The members of ‘so called’ Defence Civil Workers Association are on agitational path, as appeared in a section of press is most unfortunate and unjustified.

Clarifying his position, the Brig Panghat said as per the instructions of Army during army build up along border, about 306 locals were engaged as casual workers on daily wages basis for removing silt from defence Ditch- cum-Bund (DCB) and digging it at several points. After the job was finished within some weeks, they were disengaged. Now they are pressurising the GREF authorities to accommodate them which is not possible. They have gone on staging protest dharna at R S Pura, GREF unit.

He said their agitation is illegal and unjustified. They were already told about the nature of work and moreover, after the army asked to stop the work, they were dis-engaged. Depending upon the quantum of workload available and availability of funds from the Indian Army or other agencies, a fixed target of various works is allotted to the different units of GREF under different projects. To complete the specific work targets within the stipulated time, CPLs are resorted to supplement pioneers on as required basis under provision of of Para 501 to 504 of Border Roads Regulations.

Brig Panghat further claimed that labourers thus recruited are discharged from services as and when workload is reduced or the work is completed. No casual labourer is deployed in the GREF for more than 179 days at a stretch as such their employment is casual by nature.

He said Para 503 of Border Roads Regulations clearly says: " The personnel may be employed on daily or monthly rates of pay. If on monthly rates, the period of their engagement shall be for a maximum period of six months at a time and the personnel shall not be eligible for any of the privileges of continued employment under Government. The services of the personnel are liable to be terminated at any time without notice and no terminal benefits shall be payable."

He said some elements were misguiding those people and moreover, they can be engaged at work in other sectors if they are interested to go away from their home villages. In R S Pura 306 workers were discharged on Jan 21 after army ordered the stoppage of work on DCB after laying land mines.

He said there is provision of taking 60 per cent of the people out of CPL lot for permanent adjustment as per rules. But for that they have to come under all India competition and have to under go training. No person is employed in any force without completion of requisite formalities/ procedures, he maintained.

Nirmal blames NC, Cong for JK militancy

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Feb 4: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Jammu-Poonch Parliamentary constituency candidate Dr Nirmal Singh has accused the successive National Conference and Congress Governments for the ongoing militancy in the State.

Addressing series of meetings in R S Pura and Suchetgarh constituencies at Basti, Batheen, Railway Patri, Miransahib, Badyal Brahamana, Khojipur, Chanduchak and adjoining villages, Dr Singh said that BJP has been warning the State and Central Governments about the impending dangers of terrorist violence and to take the corrective measures, but no heed was paid. He claimed that BJP cadre has been sacrificing even their lives and it was only in the regime of Party that Village Defence Committees were regularized. He promised to further strengthen the VDCs in the State.

The BJP candidate alleged that Jammu region has been facing neglect and discrimination at the hands of "Kashmiri rulers". He said that his party was committed to remove the discrimination against this region.

Raising the issue of citizenship rights to the ladies of Jammu and Kashmir who lose the same if marrying of to a non-State Subject holder, Dr Singh said that if elected, he will take up issue in the Parliament .

Senior Gujjar and BJP leader, Deen Mohd Ceethe who also addressed series of public meetings, assailed National Conference for its misrule in the State. He alleged that the ruling party was indulging in loot and plunder of the State exchequers money.

BJP MLA rom Suchetgarh, Chuni Lal, who was indisposed, also addressed the election meetings and appealed to the people to vote for Dr Singh.

In his speech, another BJP MLA Ch Piara Singh alleged that successive NC and Congress Governments in the State did nothing for the people of Jammu and Ladakh. The refugees of 1947 are still living as a second class citizens and have still to et their right to vote in the Assembly elections.

Ramprakash Sharma, a refugee leader also spoke on the occasion.

Among others who spoke in favour of Dr Nirmal Singh include Virender Mohan Magotra, Capt Khemanand Sharma.

Meanwhile, BJP MLA Ashok Khajuria toured Bishnah tehsil in order to garner support for the party candidate for Jammu-Poonch Lok Sabh by-election. Khajuria came down heavily on National Conference and Congress for scuttling the rights of people living ion Jammu region.

Making a scathing attack on National Conference Government, Sukhnandan Choudhary , BJP District President Rural in his election campaign said that Farooq Government has failed on fronts as it didn’t fulill the poll promises.

Choudhary addressed series of election meetings at Tlour, Karloop, Chonnachak, Sangrampur and Kannachack and appealed people to elect party candidate Dr Nirmal Singh.

Bharatiya Janata Party Displaced Cell chief M L Sopori has called upon all Jammu based Kashmiri Pandits to strengthen the hands of Prime Minister A B Vajpayee by giving full support and cast vote in favour of Dr Nirmal Singh.

‘Cong mother of all miseries’
BSP blames BJP for Kargil, assails NC for misrule

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Feb 4: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate for Jammu-Poonch Parliamentary by-election, Sheikh Abdul Rehman was today given a rousing reception by the public and party enthusiasts at Khour and Sohl in Akhnoor.

Addressing a public gathering, Sheikh Abdul Rehman said that the the candidate of four recognized parties are in the fray and in this by-election, people should cast their votes keeping in view the performance of each party and candidate.

He assailed Congress for its policies and termed the party as " mother of all miseries and hardships meted out to the people". He blamed the party for neglecting down trodden in particular.

In the same tone, the BSP candidate lambasted BJP, alleging that the party " sold out" the public sector, insurance, banking and other financial institutions to the capitalists, giving a " death blow" to poor labour and working class.

Referring to Kargil conflict, Rehman said that due to the inefficiency of BJP led Government, it first allowed Pakistan to grab our territory and later hundred of soldiers had to sacrifice their lives in pushing back the enemy soldiers.

Terming L K Advani as a " complete failure" as Home Minister, the BSP leader said that in his tenure, the militancy has come down from the hills of Kashmir to the Parliament.

Rehman also blamed National Conference for its misrule in Jammu and Kashmir. Instead of rooting out militancy, the NC in its garb is busy in unprecedented corruption and nepotism, he asserted.

Party general secretary Roop Lal also spoke on the occasion and appalled to the people to vote in favour of Rehman since he was the "only suitable candidate"

NC Govt discriminating with hilly areas: Mehbooba

Excelsior Correspondent

SURANKOTE, Feb 4: Blaming successive National Conference Governments for the under-development and backwardness of hilly areas of Jammu region, vice-president of the J&K Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ms Mehbooba Mufti has charged Farooq Abdullah Government with propagating wrong policies.

Ms Mufti, who has been conducting whirlwind tour of backward areas of Poonch district, regretted that after 54 years of independence, inhabitants were still living in virtually hellish conditions. "What to say of development, these areas even lack basic amenties", she said while pointing towards the backwardness of hilly areas of Poonch district.

Ms Mufti along with PDP candidate, Master Tassadiq Hussain, party vice-president Yashpal Sharma, Abdul Rehman Veeri and Mohammed Sultan Panditpuri, MLAs, Ashiq Hussain Secy and others visited Surankote, Aari, Bafliaz and other backward areas of Poonch Distt.

During interaction with PDP leaders, local people regretted that except promises NC Govt has done nothing for the upliftment and development of these areas.

While addressing corner meetings, Ms Mufti exhorted the people to teach a lesson to the rulers who are responsible for their miseries. "Use vote to give befitting reply to NC leaders", she exhorted and warned the authorities against resorting to foul means in elections.

Another meeting of the PDP was held at Bari Brahmana in which leaders of the PDP lambasted the State Government for its failure to mitigate woes of the masses. Messrs Ved Mahajan, Trilok Singh Bajwa, Daman Bhasin, Haji Noor Ahmed, Nazir Ahmed, Baldev Singh Slathia, BSM leader Tulsi Dass Langeh, Ganesh Sharma and other leaders addressed the meeting. This meeting was organised by Ganesh Sharma.

‘Empower Women Commission’
Set up family courts to end gender injustice: Girija

By O P Sharma

JAMMU, Feb 4: Dr Girija Dhar, Chairperson, State Women Commission has pleaded for opening family courts for expeditious settlement of family disputes in Jammu and Kashmir.

In an exlusive interview to EXCELSIOR, she revealed that nearly 75 per cent complaints lodged with the Commission relate to family feuds and such courts with simple proceedure and speedy process could be beneficial.

To start with family courts could be set up in the Srinagar and Jammu cities and later on opened at district headquaters and down below as well for the convenience of litigants.

Quoting instances, the Chairperson said that often women and children whose rights have been grossly violated are helpless to go through the cumbersome, long and costly process through normal law courts. Can a poor deserted or divorced woman with kids fight for her legal rights ? The cases of attrocities on brides for dowry or wife beating or denial of share in property or even maintenance to divorcee leading to physical as also mental torture often go by default and women suffer silently.

The family courts are the appropriate answer, she asserted.

In reply to another question, Dr Girija Dhar said that family courts are functional in most of the states in the country and proving useful. There is fit case for establishing family courts in the Jammu and Kashmir State.

The women who have been deprived of their rights can not afford long and labourious procedures in normal civil courts. Immediate and cost-effective justice has to be dispensed to them.

The Commission has decided to recommend to the State Government for legislation to rectify the gender bias in the matter of the Permanent Residence certificate. A women who is married to a Non-State Subject lose her right as a permanent resident of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Commission chief feels that this is sheer discrimination against women as a man marrying even outside the State do not lose their right. She pleaded that as per natural law permanent residence certificate is a birth right of every citizen so why a women after marrying an outsider be deprived of this inalieniable right?

Arguing against this provision, the Commission chief stated that it is neihter in the J&K State Constitution nor in the Indian Constitution. It is contained in an executive Order of 1925 governing the issue of State Subject to residents in Jammu and Kashmir. legislative measures must be taken to remedy the malady, she suggested,

Talking about the empowerment of women, the Chairperson, State Women Commission opines that female education hold the key and also they must be put in places at decision making level as well. She agreed that the female are now entering all portals of job opportunities but stressed that this process must be accelerated and rural womenfolk pulled out and put on path of all round rapid. The task ahead is to empower women so that they play their role effectively in the socio-economic transformation of the society.

Responding to a question, Dr Dhar said that about 150 complaints have been received by the Commission and these are dealt with under due process. Now, the women from all over Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh whose right are violated are approaching the Commission. The Commission, she pointed out has quasi-judicial powers to summon the parties and work out the settlement. Some depressing cases of discriminated and disadvantaged females have been provided justice by the commission, she added.

But it was indicated that the State Women Commission does not have sufficient power of punish the culprit/ guilty. Secondly, there is no investigative agency like police to go deep into complaints and verify facts for proper dispensation of justice. So this "toothless" organisation has limited role to play in the settlement of husband-wife, inlaws and bride or dowry related disputes and other such family fued. Family courts could do a lot in this sphere for disadvantaged women.

Networking with NGOs, social activists and academicians, the Commission has been holding various awareness programmes to sensitise the women about their rights and responsibilities. Dr Dhar said mass contact programme through awareness camps have been held in length and breadth of Jammu region, Kashmir Valley and Ladakh region. It is creditable that such programmes were conducted not only in major cities and towns but in farflung and border areas like Gurez, Drass, and Mulbeck.

Of late an interactive programme has been on Radio in which the chairperson personally inform the listeners about commission’s activities and also replies to questions, the response to this programme is very, she added.

Answering question about the role of NGOs in mitigating the sufferings of the women, she said genuine and professional agencies have a vast area to cover in women welfare in Jammu and Kashmir. To meet the challenging task the NGOs have to commitment and dedication, she emphasised.

A view is held by the Commission that there must be a separate Ministry for dealing with women’s issues or identifying a section of every department for dealing exclusively with women’s issues to ensure equality of opportunity and redressal of grievances. It all has to be result-oriented. The Commission pleads for reservation of atleast 30-40 per cent positions for executive jobs in judiciary, police till they also come up through skill upgradation and expertise. The present competition between unequal is gross injustice ab etc till such time . Social security steps for females have to be geared up.

To make the Commission really click, adequate staff, suitable accommodation at Jammu, infrastructure and machinery in both capitals to overcome absence during Darbar Move and sufficient funds must be provided.

The Women Commission in Jammu and Kashmir is unique in the country as it is statutory body. Modelled mainly on National Women Commission, J&K Women Commission is autonomous, unlike other States, with objective to meet our own peculiar conditions and problems relating to women. The other two members of the Commission are Ms Farida Mir and Ms Thinles Angmo while Ms Farhit Qureshi is the Additional Secretary.

Govt launches Rs 9 cr project for solar electrification
of Kargil: Kamal

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Feb 4: The un-electrified areas of Kargil district would be brought under solar energy system involving a cost of Rs 9 crore. With this, all the left over 27 habitations in the district would be electrified.

This was stated at the review meeting of District Development Board for Kargil held here today. The Minister for Industries and Commerce, Dr Mustafa Kamal, who is also the chairman of the Development Board presided.

The Minister of State for Power and Works, Mr Qamar Ali Akhoon, Mr Ghulam Hassan Khan, M P, Qari Aziz Mohammad and Haji Mohammad Abbas, Legislators, District Development Commissioner, Kargil, Dr Mohammad Din, Director, Area Planning, Mr G N Lone, Superintending Engineer, Kargil and other senior officers were also present.

The meeting was informed that 2000 energy saving lamps have been provided this year to the people to ease overloading on Iqbal Mini Hydle Project.

It was informed that Government have successfully introduced field trial of tea cultivation in Kargil district which has received tremendous response from the local populace. Efforts are underway to exploit optimally tea cultivation potential on commercial lines.

Giving details about the major achievements registered during the current year, the District Development Commissioner said that out of total plan allocation of Rs 47 crore, including additionality of Rs 7 crore, over Rs 30.55 crore have been expended upto ending January of the current financial year. He said 180 highly qualified teachers have been appointed in the district during the current year so far leaving no school without a science teacher. He said the prestigious 5-Km long Kargil bye-pass road with 50 metre span bridge over river Suru has been completed at a cost of Rs 4.93 crore. This road will ease traffic pressure in the town. In addition, he said 1.6 Kms Zamistang bye-pass road with 170 metres Bailey bridge at a cost of Rs 2.31 crore, motorable bridge at Dachay Samrah costing Rs 37 lacs and suspension bridge at Abran Zanskar costing Rs 53 lacs have also been completed this year.

About achievements made in agriculture and allied sectors, it was informed that 2000 polygreen houses were established in the district during the current fiscal as this experiment has proved successful in increasing vegetable productivity in the Ladakh region. In addition, 600 quintals of high yielding variety seeds of different crops and 4 lakh vegetable seedlings have been provided to the farmers upto ending December this year.

It was stated that 5000 high density apple plants were distributed and planted in the district so far during the current fiscal. About 1396 kanals of waste land has been developed for cultivation and vegetables worth Rs 26.58 lacs have been distributed among the drought affected areas of Sot and Your-baltak on 50% subsidy and 2710 poultry birds sold to public on cost price. Frozen artificial insemination technology has been extended to 9 villages of the district.

Regarding achievements made in irrigation and PHE sectors, it was told that Khangralthang Canal for a command area of 270 acres in Chiktan block has been completed at a cost of Rs.1.99 core whileas Rs. 25 lakhs were incurred to complete Lakthang Canal for a command area of 250 acres in Drass block. The ambitious Rs. 8.25 crore Rong Wakha Irrigation Canal under NABARD loan assistance would be completed during the next financial year. The water supply scheme for Kargil town and Baroo colony has also been completed at a cost of Rs 4.87 crore.

It was revealed at the meeting that 9 school buildings including Rs. 1.70 crore higher secondary school building at Chutuk and Rs. 97.25 lakh higher secondary school building Sankoo have been completed. In addition, 24 school buildings under Rural Development Sector have also been completed by the end of December during current financial year.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Kamal said that Kargil district being the remote and backward area deserves special dispensation for its equitable development. He said Sher-i-Kashmir too was very much concerned about the prosperity of this region and called for a perspective, need based and balanced planning for development of this cut-off region of the State. He asked the concerned authorities to send local youth for advanced training in tea cultivation and processing on commercial lines as this activity could prove turning point in the economic upliftment of Kargil area.

Dr Kamal also called for exploring possibilities to introduce energy saving power lamps in the region on subsidized rates. He said an integrated water supply scheme to cater to the requirements of people during winter months also needed to be formulated.

Labour Sarai being constructed in Katra
town shortly: Shah

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Feb 4: A Labour Sarai would be constructed in Katra town shortly at an estimated cost of Rs 56 lakhs, land for the purpose has already been identified. Rs 40 lakhs would equally be shared by Notified Area Committee (NAC), Katra and Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board and the rest would be borne by Labour and Housing Departments. The proposed Sarai would accommodate the requirements of labour community of the town.

This was decided at a meeting of officers held here this morning under the chairmanship of the Housing and Urban Development Minister, Mr Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din Shah to review the pace of development in Katra town.

The Minister while reviewing the progress of work on the over all development of the holy township wanted to know the position of potable water supply. He was informed that work on the water lift project is apace and on its completion the water supply position to the township would be eased.

Mr Shah was informed that in lieu of taxes being realised from the inhabitants, the NAC is providing civic amenities like better road connectivity, sewerage, drainage and maintenance of cleanliness and other allied facilities to the people. He was shown the plan for the proposed two roads from Railway Station. He said necessary steps would be taken to acquire 22 kanals of land developed as mulberry nursery by the Sericulture Department and assured alternate site in the area. One of the proposed roads is passing through the said nursery.

The meeting was told that nearly Rs 2.75 crore available with the NAC which could be utilized for compensation to the land and structure owners whose land is proposed to be acquired for the construction of two roads.

The Minister was also shown the plan for new bus stand, on its completion this would go a long way to decongestion during May-June the peak tourist/pilgrim season.

Commissioner/Secretary, Housing and Urban Development, Mr G N Ahangar, Director, Local Bodies, Jammu, Mr Mohinder Singh, Chief Engineer, PWD, Jammu, Chief Town Planner, Jammu, Administrator, NAC, Katra and senior engineers of Union Railways and State PWD departments were present in the meeting.

Swarn Lata flays unholy alliance of NC-BJP

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Feb 4: Mrs Swarn Lata, general secretary PCC(I) while campaigning for the Congress candidate Mr Madan Lal Sharma addressed a series of public meetings at villages Kangowala, Sadoh, Kali Bari, Pangdhore, Nud, Sapwal, Barrian, Dagore, Bara and Sunjwan.

Addressing the meetings, she strongly criticised the unholy alliance between National Conference and BJP at the Centre and in State and said that the political outfits are working against the interests of the people of the State.

The BJP is misleading the people simply to help the National Conference candidate in the Parliament election, he said, adding BJP is exploiting sentiments of the people by creating tension on the border and Mandir issue.

The PCC(I) general secretary said that earlier they had created bogey of Kargil war to win the Parliament election and now they are playing the same card by creating tension on the border and hiding failures of the Government.

She further stated that both NC and BJP are playing communal card and dividing the people on the basis of religion and region. She appealed the people not to fall prey to the mischievous strategy of both NC and BJP and claimed that only Congress can maintain the national integration.

She welcomed the decision of Supreme Court staying the operation of Resettlement Act and expressed concern over the criminal silence by the Central as well as State Government over the plight of migrants from border areas.

The PCC(I) general secretary said that they (border migrants) have not been paid compensation for the loss of property and demanded that atleast 10 Marlas of land should be allotted to each family at safer place and also other facilities at par with Kashmiri migrants.

She further demanded free fertilizer and seed and atleast three months ration to the inhabitants of Kandi belt of Jammu where there is drought like condition for the last two years.

Border migrants to abstain from Lok Sabha by-election

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Feb 4: A fierce fire broke out in Naiwala migrants camp in which poor and homeless migrants became the victims. Mr Baldev Singh Bhau, chairman, Border Migrants Welfare Committee visited the camp and made appropriate arrangement for the sufferers with full and whole hearted cooperation of district and tehsil administration.

As per a release while addressing a mammoth gathering of migrants the committee chairman stated that insensitive attitude of the Central Government and its wrong policies have forced the migrants to decide about abstaining from the entire poll process.

Mr Bhau criticised the wrong decision of the Central Government to hold by-election at a time when there was war like situation in the State and lakhs of border people forced to migrate from their homes and hearths due to continuous shelling from Pakistan side.

He said despite elections the Government should become serious and sensitive towards the inhuman plight of border migrants of sector Pallanwala. He said if the expenditure to be incurred on by-election is diverted and utilized for providing shelter, food and clothings to migrants, there is possibility of minimizing the problems being faced by homeless, jobless and helpless uprooted people.

He alleged that all the leaders of political parties during all these years of injustice have remained interested in their own petty interests and none came forward for their help on humanitarian ground. Now the migrants have realized that the main aim of the politicians who are only multiplying the problems of the common masses and see only their own vested interests instead of solving the grievances of the people. These politicians have always maintained a criminal silence over the miseries and inhuman plight of migrants since the day of migration.

Mr Bhau regretted that the dependents of the Government employees, particularly the army personnel’s parents and others are being deprived of the monetary benefit. He said it was very unfortunate that the Government has turned a blind eye towards the pitiable and inhuman plight and their genuine and basic problem of the border migrants so far. Mr Bhau also stressed upon the Government to sanction the next relief package from April 2002 onwards.

Sagar exhorts people to vote for NC candidate

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Feb 4: Exhorting the people to give a befitting reply to the politicians exploiting religious, regional and casteist sentiments, senior National Conference leader and Minister for Works Mr Ali Mohd Sagar has called for strengthening the hands of secular and nationalist forces in the State.

Addressing a series of election rallies in Dansal area of Nagrota assembly segment of Jammu-Poonch Lok Sabha constituency Mr Sagar said NC is the only party in the State which has worked above religious, regional or social politics. He said that NC has always strived for strengthening the bonds of national integrity, secularism and communal amity in the State.

Mr Sagar said, "NC has safeguarded not only the highest virtues of secularism and nationalism in 1947 when entire sub-continent was engulfed in flames of communal violence but also made huge sacrifices during the ongoing bloody turmoil to uphold integrity of country".

He said NC became the target of the wrath of country’s enemies as they see the party as a biggest hurdle in the secession of the State from rest of India. He said unfortunately some politicians are playing the card for their vested interests which only helps the enemy to exploit the situation to their advantage. He added that some people were now raising the bogey of division of the State on religious and regional lines which was detrimental for the integrity of the country. "This will lead to disintegration of the whole country into bits and pieces which otherwise is a bed of people from different religions, races and cultures and proclaiming `Unity in diversity’", he said.

Launching a scathing attack on PDP Mr Sagar said that these are the same people who are responsible for bringing miseries to the people of the State and the present turmoil is the outcome of their policies. He also held them responsible for erosion of special status granted to State under Article 370 of Indian Constitution. Mr Sagar said that Mufti Syed in known for changing his colours like a chameleon and resorting to speaking different languages in different regions of the of the State.

Mr Sagar said tremendous contribution made by NC Government during the past five years towards rebuilding of the State was before the public and that NC does not need anybody’s certificate for services rendered to the public. He said besides reconstructing hundreds of gutted bridges, school buildings and hospitals, the Government has extended better road communication facilities and drinking water to every nook and corner of the State. He added that education system which had gone haywire was brought back on rails and more than 1 lakh job avenues were created for unemployed educated youth. He said people are the best judges and when the time comes they will decide in favour of the party which has really done something for them despite facing unlimited difficulties. He said present Government has strived for equitable development of all the three regions of the State.

Mr Sagar asked the Government to cast their vote in favour of NC candidate Ch Talib Hussain in the coming Lok Sabha by-polls and reject the politics of communalism and double standards.

The NC candidate Ch Talib Hussain and legislators Ch Mohd Hussain and Nizam-ud-Din Khatana also addressed these rallies. The Sarpanchs and Panchs of the area were also present.

Peerzada inaugurates training programme for eco-clubs

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Feb 4: A 3-day Master Training Programme under National Green Corps (NGC) scheme associating school children to create awareness about the preservation of environment and control of pollution in the State commenced here today.

The Minister for Forests and Environment, Peerzada Ghulam Ahmad inaugurated the training programme, which has been organised by the State Pollution Control Board.

Speaking on the occasion, the Minister said that the scheme has already been implemented in all the districts of the State. He said students of about 100 schools have been associated with this programme to begin with. He said besides financial assistance such schools will be provided free resource material which will help them in conducting various environmental activities. He said the teachers of eco-clubs and the resource persons who are eminent environmentalists of the State will deliver lectures to the master trainers. He said after the training, the master trainers will go to their respective districts for further launching eco awareness campaigns to create awareness among the masses at grass root level.

The Minister also released the latest work done and the reports conducted by the Board. These included environmental health input assessment, water quality status of river Jehlum and status of solid waste management and sewerage management during Amarnath yatra last year, status of bio-medical waste management in Kashmir division and Air quality report of Srinagar district 2001.

Later, the Minister distributed the awards among the participants of the Eco club.

The Commissioner/Secretary, Forests, Mr B S Jaswal also spoke on the occasion and sought people’s participation to control pollution in the State.

Earlier, the Chairman, Pollution Control Board, Mr P Patnaik threw light about the significance of this programme.

The Member-Secretary of the Board, Mr Anayat-ullah Khan highlighted the activities of the Board. Mr. Satish Sharma, Prof of Jammu University who is also the member of WWF from J&K State also spoke on the occasion and assured that the WWF will wholeheartedly support all efforts to control pollution in the State.

Volunteers training camp organised by DAHWA

Excelsior Correspondent

UDHAMPUR, Feb 4: A volunteers training-cum-awareness camp was organised by Destitute And Handicapped Welfare Association (DAHWA) at Goal Mela Rathian, under the chairmanship of Mr S S Sumbria.

While addressing Mr Sumbria explained the people about the objectives of DAHWA, viz "Jago Jagao" and "Parho Parhao", be united and fight for common cause of the people irrespective of colour, caste or religion. He also made known the gathering about Total Literacy Campaign launched by DAHWA in Udhampur district and stressed on the people to make this programme a grand success so that all the persons in the district could be made able to read and write, which could only be possible by the help and cooperation of all the people.

Mr Sumbria was accompanied by Dr Prince Mohan Sharma, Education Expert DAHWA, M L Sharma, joint secretary, K K Sharma, organisor, the students and staff of Bharat Bhoomi Public School, Bharat Nagar Jakhain and Amar Jyoti Public School Goal Mela Rathian.

The prominent workers namely Satish Kumar, Raj Kumar, Balbir Singh, Darshan Singh, Sham Lal, Rakesh Pandita, Darshan Sadotra, Mohan Mistri and Mrs Sunita thanked Mr Sumbria for his great struggle for upliftment of down trodden people of SC/ST/OBCs. The people complained that due to high frequency UHF, the black and white televisions, which are thousands in number in rural areas are not receiving signals and demanded that this snag should be corrected at an earliest.

Dr Prince Mohan Sharma explained the necessity of TLC and provided training to the volunteers as how to motivate illiterate persons to make them literate, how to fill up survey forms and consolidation forms etc. Messrs M L Sharma and K K Sharma also spoke.

MIER celebrates its 66th Foundation Day

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Feb 4: An impressive function was organised by the students of different wings of Model Institute of Education and Research (MIER) on its 66th Foundation Day. The function was presided over by Dr Arun K Gupta, Director MIER.

Prof M R Puri, noted educationist and former Vice-Chancellor University of Jammu was the chief guest on the occasion.

The function started with the unfurling of the institutional flag by the chief guest amidst sounding of bugles. Prof Puri alongwith institutional authorities and other distinguished guests paid homage to the Founder Director of MIER late Mr H L Gupta and his co-partner late Mrs Shanti Gupta by laying floral wreaths on their portrait.

In his address, Dr Arun K Gupta recalled the growth of the institution from two students in 1936 to its present status catering to the educational requirements of about 5,000 students in its various wings.

According to Dr Gupta, a huge amount of about Rs 8 crore has been spent to provide technical education through Model Institute of Engineering and Technology (MIET). He disclosed that at present 18 research projects are in progress under SIRO, a scheme of Government of India.

He further disclosed that the alumni of this institution had risen high in life occupying high offices in various fields. He stated that many educational changes were in the offing modernizing education at MIER.

On the occasion, a cultural programme was presented by the students of the institution which received thunderous applause from the spectators.

In his address, Prof M R Puri said that late Mr H L Gupta was a visionary and his concept of education 66 years back has brought into being the present status of Model Institute of Education and Research. He said that he was fully confident that with the efforts of Dr Gupta, Dr Renu Arun and their team of dedicated teachers the institution will sooner or later achieve the status of deemed university.

Vote of thanks was presented by Dr Renu Arun, Joint Director MIER while compering was done by Dr (Mrs) Ira Bhan, Prof, Annie Koul, Ms Anchal and Ms Rishta.

Prof Y R Malhotra, Maj Gen J S Jamwal, Prof A K Kaul, Mr Ram Sahai, Prof Abdul Aziz, Prof O P Baru, Dr Subash Gupta and Mr K R Gupta were among others who attended the function.

Sharma launches door-to-door campaign in Akhnoor tehsil

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Feb 4: Mr Dharam Pal Sharma, former MP and senior Congress leader, who has been made incharge of election for Jammu (Rural) conducted door to door campaign in Maira Mandrian, the home village of NC MLA and former Minister Mr Govind Ram Sharma.

As per reports Mr Dharam Sharma exhorted the people to cast their vote in favour of Congress candidate Mr Madan Lal Sharma. in Ward Number 3 of Mandrian the people spoke about the former Minister Mr Govind Ram Sharma and alleged that they have been discriminated against in their own village for the reason of siding with the Congress Party. The people of Ward-3 of Mohalla Puran Hakim alleged that 30 houses of the ward have so far not been provided with drinking water facility while in the same ward in Mohalla Kothewalla 2 houses were given water connection and remaining six were denied the commodity for obvious reasons.

The people also told Mr Dharam Pal Sharma that a meager number of 4 wire crates required to stop erosion of their cultivable land in Mohalla Girdhari Lal were not erected. Mr Vishwa Nath Bhagat of Ward-4 Mandrian alleged that no developmental works have been executed even under water Shed programme. Mr Sharma also made special mention of problems of Nardi-Dwacharwan and urged the people to cast their vote in favour of Mr Madan Lal Sharma, Congress candidate from Jammu-Poonch Lok Sabha seat.

Mr Sharma also exhorted the people and the partymen to extend warm welcome to the central leader Mrs Mohsina Kidwai and PCC chief M S Qureshi along with other Congress leaders who are visiting Akhnoor tomorrow on their way to Rajouri and Poonch districts.


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