Wednesday, July 29, 2009

SEX SCANDAL:Valley starts burning again, Jammu continues to suffers

*Ruckus continues in the House during 2nd session

*Omar stays away from Assembly, Secretariat

*Assembly cannot hold its session: BJP

*BJP & PP unite over ‘discrimination’ against Jammu

*Separate Assembly for Jammu region demanded

*CM not charge sheeted by CBI: Speaker

*Privilege motion admitted against Baig

*NC-PDP workers clash on streets

*NC workers want Baig behind the bars

*Mehbooba tore copies of the CBI document

*Mehbooba for judicial probe in Omar’s ‘involvement’

Ajmer Alam Wani

JAMMU, JULY 29: The infamous sex scandal that had already rocked the entire Kashmir Valley in the year 2006, inflicting huge losses to the common Kashmiri, who struggles for the day-to-day livelihood, seems started breathing again. While the Jammu region which has to strike hard every time to get its voice hear, is suffering badly as the Assembly proceedings remained dominated with the issues pertaining Kashmir region and the voice of Jammu people through (MLAs) seems echoing in the Assembly House where the present government as well as the opposition seems, interested more in creating confusions instead doing state welfare and deliberating on the issues of public importance.

The spark that was lit by the Opposition PDP by dragging the name of Chief Minister (CM) Omar Abdullah in the list of suspects involved in the 2006 sex scandal that snowballed into a massive racket that allegedly involved two ministers of the then Congress-PDP government, senior police and paramilitary officers and influential businessmen, if not handled carefully will engulf the entire state this time. The reason this time is that in the year 2006, issue and the sentiments same but the exploiters of the situation were few but this time exploiters are many which could worsen the situation than that of 2006.

Relevant to mention here that forty-three women, including a minor, were being allegedly exploited by the powerful establishment, which later prompted violent protests with mainstream and separatist groups joining hands.

If this issue is not handled and settled at the earliest, the recent Shopian rape and murder case is likely to add as fuel to fire as the Opposition PDP is already accusing NC lead Coalition Govt of shielding the perpetrator of Shopian rape and murder case.

The beginning in this direction has been made by the political activists of both National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

On the other hand Jammu region is bracing up to intensify the agitation over the shifting of Central University issue in a big way.

It was expected, as the crisis failed to settle down in the state Assembly the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) on Wednesday got united over the issue of ‘discrimination’ against Jammu. Both the parties demanded a separate Assembly for the region.

"We have come here for a purpose to take up the issues and problems of the people we represent. Our areas and the people in general are confronted with various issues but the House is not being allowed to run,” JKNPP leader, Balwant Singh Mankotia told reporters in the Assembly lawns.

“NC, PDP and Congress have to settle their scores. But why should other people suffer. The House is not being allowed to run, hence our demand for separate Assembly for Jammu is justified," he said.

Earlier as the house witnessed noisy scenes today, JKNPP and BJP members stood united and made a demand for a separate Assembly for Jammu.

Jammu region is suffering because not a single issue of the region has been taken up during the last three days,” the BJP MLAs shouted. "Close this House and give us a separate Assembly,” the members demanded

MEANWHILE: Chief Minister (CM) Omar Abdullah preferred to stay away from the proceedings of the House in the morning session. Omar also choose not to attend the Civil Secretariat as well.

The session that was believed to be replica of the earlier sessions began on a high note with National Conference (NC) legislators demanding that a privilege motion be moved against PDP senior leader Muzaffar Hussain Beigh.

As the Assembly proceedings started today morning, BJP members argued that the Assembly could not hold its session as there was no government in place following the CM’s resignation.

“There is no government in place and the Assembly cannot hold its session like this,” the BJP members shouted.

Interestingly, all the ministers of the coalition government remained present during Wednesday’s morning session; however, Abdullah stayed away.

Omar who resigned on Tuesday, after PDP senior leader Muzaffar Hussain Beigh alleged Omar of being an accused in the case prepared by the CBI during its investigations into the infamous sex scandal case. According to the PDP leader, Abdullah’s name was 102nd in the list.

Following the charge, a visibly upset Omar Abdullah said he will quit as the charge leveled against him raised a question over his character.

Omar later submitted his conditional resignation to the governor NN Vohra asking him to probe the incident and accept his resignation in case he is proven guilty.

However, Speaker, Legislative Assembly Mohammad Akbar Lone today informed the House that the Chief Minister, Mr. Omar Abdullah does not figure among those charge sheeted by CBI in connection with sexploitation case as alleged by PDP MLA Muzaffar Hussain Baig.

The Speaker issued the clarification after BJP MLA; Professor Chaman Lal Gupta raised the issue in the Legislative Assembly today.

The Speaker said that soon after Mr. Baig leveled allegation against the Chief Minister in the House yesterday, he took up the matter with Director, CBI and sought written clarification about the matter.

The clarification issued by the CBI reads as: “It is clarified that nine charge sheets in CBI case RC 1 (s)/2006/SCR. III New Delhi were filed in the competent court against 17 accused persons. The name of Shri Omar Abdullah son of Shri Farooq Abdullah does not figure in the list of accused persons charge sheeted in the case”.

Soon after Speaker Muhammad Akbar Lone read the CBI letter, PDP members, led by Mufti, tore copies of the document and demanded a judicial probe into the chief minister's alleged involvement. They said his name had figured in the "shame list" that was part of the High Court (HC) judgment delivered in the case in 2007 by Justice Bashir Ahmad Kirmani.

Meanwhile, the Speaker announced receipt and admission of privilege motion against PDP MLA Muzaffar Hussain Baig for leveling allegations against the Chief Minister in violation of proper procedures and set business rules.

The motion has been moved by 12 MLAs including Abdul Rahim Rather, Ali Mohammad Sagar, Mubarak Gul, Ghulam Hassan Mir, Taj Mohi-ud-Din, G. M. Saroori, Nazir Ahmad Gurezi, Raman Bhalla, T. Namgyal, Feroz Ahmad Khan, Mohammad Yaseen and Nasir Aslam Wani.

The Speaker said the Assembly will continue its business, as Governor the highest constitutional authority in the State has informed him that the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah shall continue to run the government. The Governor has not accepted the resignation of the Chief Minister yet. He is collecting the necessary documents for making final decision, he said.

MEANWHILE: From the floor of the House the war of words between the two regional parties--National Conference and Peoples Democratic party has now reached on to the streets of Jammu and Kashmir.

A day after high drama surrounding resignation of CM Omar Abdullah workers of both the regional parties clashed with each other on the streets of Srinagar in downtown area and in Jammu National Conference (NC) leaders organized a day long hunger strike demanding arrest of former Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig for making false allegations against the youngest CM of the state.

NC workers also targeted business establishment owned by a senior PDP leader Moulvi Iftikhar Ansari and ransacked the office.

Led by Provincial President of the Jammu Province, Rattan Lal Gupta and its Women Wing Chief Laxmi Dutta large number of NC leaders and workers participated in the day long hunger strike at Shahidi Chowk. Holding placards ' Down with Mehbooba Mufti, Arrest Muzaffar Baig’ NC workers and party leaders also shouted slogans against the PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti and former Deputy Chief Minister.

Meanwhile, state police had to lob tear gas shells to disperse the clashing workers of both the Kashmir based political parties in downtown area of Srinagar city. The National Conference workers also paraded a stray dog with a picture of Muzaffar Hussain Baig pasted on its face on the streets of Srinagar in protest against the false allegations levelled against their leader.

The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly witnessed ruckus in the afternoon session on the third day Wednesday as the Opposition Peoples Democratic Party MLA’s staged a walkout.

As soon as the house assembled again the speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone asked the legislators to offer their co-operation in running the business of the house.

“We all need to co-operate so that the House transacts its routine business,” Lone told the MLAs. He said that various issues of public importance need immediate hearing and the members of the House have to act in a responsible way.

Lone requesting the members to let the House continue its business asked PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Beigh to speak in the House. However, the Treasury Bench members offered stiff resistance and did not allow the PDP leader to speak in the House.

“A privilege motion has been moved against the PDP leader. How can he speak in the house,” NC leader, Nasir Sogami replied to the speaker.

As the commotion in the house reached its zenith the Speaker asked the legislators to respond to his calls.

“We all decided in a meeting held today that we will let the house function. But the way the members of the opposition are reacting to things the House cannot function,” Lone said. Lone’s stamen triggered another round of verbal attacks from the PDP.

“If you want the house to carry out its usual business then you should first clarify over the letter which has been claimed to be written by the Director of CBI,” Mehbooba Mufti said. She said that if NC wants to come clean over the issue they should get the case dairies of the sex scandal case tabled in the House.

“If you have the courage then table the case dairies along with the list from C1 to C192 signed by the main accused Sabina,” Mehbooba told the Treasury Benches before announcing a walkout from the Assembly.

Earlier, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP President Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday demanded a judicial probe into the ‘involvement’ of CM Omar Abdullah in the sex scandal case that rocked the state in 2006. Mehbooba alleged that the CBI is aiding the CM and is trying to cover up the case.

The Assembly witnessed pandemonium again on Wednesday as the PDP members demanded a high-level probe into the 2006 sex scandal.

“We demand a judicial probe into the 2006 sex scandal case as the premier investigating agency CBI is trying to cover up the scandal and is shielding Omar Abdullah,” PDP President Mehbooba Mufti said after the speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone read out the CBI communiqué that was forwarded to him by a senior official of the agency.

As the speaker tabled the report PDP members stood up and raised a hue and cry over the issue.

“The CBI is trying to shield the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and the Union Minister Farooq Abdullah over their involvement in the case,” the PDP members alleged.

Raising slogans against the government the PDP members demanded a judicial probe into the sex scandal case. “The entire issue needs a thorough probe so that all facts come to the fore,” they demanded.

As the assembly was witnessing uproarious scenes, Mehbooba Mufti tore the letter that was sent by the CBI proving Omar’s innocence into the sex scandal.

“The CBI probe is not acceptable to us,” Mehbooba said.

Unable to control the uproar in the Assembly the speaker adjourned the house for 15 minutes; however, the scene was no different when the House resumed its business.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

After Azad, PDP compels Omar to quit as J&K CM

New Assembly complex Srinagar: 3 sittings;2 CMs resign

“I want to keep my conscience clean and do not want to carry this stigma on my mind because I have always believed that politics should be clean and based on high standards of morality. I will always continue to strive for rich traditions which I have inherited from my grandfather Sher-i-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and my father Dr. Farooq Abdullah,” he said in his resignation letter addressed to Vohra.

*Those who lead must be clean, look clean: Omar

*CM hands over resignation letter to Governor

*Governor gives another twist to the resignation episode

*Omar asked to continue till final decision is taken

(By Ajmer Alam Wani)

“I am satisfied with my work. The motive I came with, I have largely achieved it. I don’t care who will be the Chief Minister (CM). I don’t care whether the government survives or falls.”

These were the emotional words which former Chief Minister (CM) Ghulam Nabi Azad had said in the State Assembly before driving to Raj Bhawan to tender his resignation, last year.

Yet again, history was repeated in the newly constructed State Assembly complex today, where young Chief Minister (CM), Omar Abdullah offered his resignation in reaction to the allegations dragging his involvement in the infamous sex scandal that rocked the entire Kashmir Valley in the year 2006.

It was the same month of July, when former Chief Minister (CM) Ghulam Nabi Azad of the PDP-Congress coalition government, Ghulam Nabi Azad in an emotionally charged speech during the first sitting of the house had announced his resignation from the post. And this time again it is July when Omar Abdullah submits his resignation to the Governor.

Both the Chief Ministers announced their resignations in just three sittings in the Srinagar Assembly complex.

The only difference is of dates for Azad it was July 7 (2008) and for Omar is July 28 (2009).

On the day two of the Budget Session of the state Assembly, Omar Abdullah who announced his resignation from post.

“I cannot continue in this situation, and I will tender my resignation to the state Governor till my name is cleared of the allegations levelled against me," an emotional Omar Abdullah said on the floor of the house as party leaders tried their best to persuade him to take his pledge back.

In both the cases, it was PDP which compelled first Azad and now Omar to quit as Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister (CMs).

The Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah’s announcement came minutes after the senior PDP leader, Muzaffar Hussain Baigh on the floor of the House alleged Omar’s involvement in the 2006 sex racket that sparked wide spread protests across Kashmir Valley.

On the first day of Budget session on Monday, PDP President Mehbooba Mufti had disrupted the proceedings by raising the issue of twin rape and murder of Shopian women, allegedly by uniformed men. She was demanding punishment for the killers of the Shopian women. PDP President had also accused the Speaker, Mohammad Akbar Lone of Partisan approach.

On the second sitting of the assembly, the scene was no different. The main Opposition party PDP and BJP legislators were on toes in the House, demanding permission to speak on some vital issues.

However, the commotion started soon after the Question Hour, when Baigh alleged that the Chief Minister (CM) was involved in the sex racket and his name figured at serial number 102 in the list of accused.

Asserting that politics should be clean and based on high standards of morality, Chief Minister (CM) Omar Abdullah in his resignation letter addressed to Governor has said that PDP MLA Muzaffar Hussain Beigh has levelled unsubstantiated allegations against his person attacking his character. “Those who lead must not only be clean but also look to be clean. At the end of the day one has is one’s personal credibility and self respect. Both of these Mr. Beigh tried to snatch from me through the charges he levelled”, he wrote and requested the Governor to enquire into the allegations in a time bound manner and if the Governor is satisfied that there is any basis in these allegations accept the resignation of Chief Minister immediately.

The contents of the letter are “This morning on the floor of the House, the Peoples’ Democratic Party MLA namely Sh. Muzzafar Hussain Beigh levelled unsubstantiated allegations against my person attacking my character. Those who lead must not only be clean but also look to be clean. At the end of the day all one has is one’s personal credibility and self respect. Both of these Mr. Beigh tried to snatch from me through the charges he levelled.

I would be grateful, if you could enquire into the allegations against me in a time bound manner and if you are satisfied that there is any basis in these allegations please accept my resignation immediately.

I want to keep my conscience clean and don’t want to carry this stigma on my mind because I have always believed that politics should be clean and based on high standards of morality. I will always continue to strive for rich traditions which I have inherited from my grandfather Sher-i-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and my father Dr. Farooq Abdullah”.

MEANWHILE; Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N Vohra on Tuesday asked Omar Abdullah to continue discharging his responsibilities as Chief Minister of the state till final decision over his resignation is taken.

Reports reaching Press Bureau of India said that Governor is reported to have observed that he would be able to consider Omar’s resignation only after first being fully informed about the details of the allegation against him and, thereafter, being satisfied about the verified basis thereof.

In this context the Raj Bhavan has addressed the Legislative Assembly Secretariat to be supplied with certified copies of all the relevant statements and documents relating to the allegation under reference.

A Spokesperson of the Raj Bhavan disclosed that the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah called on the Governor today afternoon and requested him to enquire, on a time-bound basis, into the allegations made against his moral character by Muzaffar Hussain Beigh, an MLA belonging to the PDP, during the course of proceedings in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday and to immediately accept his resignation in case the Governor is satisfied that there is any basis therein.

The spokesman said that the governor, who was on his way to the Airport to leave for Delhi to attend certain engagements, deferred his departure on receiving a message that the chief minister wanted to meet him urgently. The Governor left for Delhi later in the evening, after meeting the Chief Minister.

Pertinently, Omar asked the governor to conduct an enquiry into the allegations levelled against him.

“I would be grateful, if you could enquire into the allegations against me in a time bound manner and if you are satisfied that there is any basis in these allegations please accept my resignation immediately,” Omar wrote to the governor.

“I want to keep my conscience clean and do not want to carry this stigma on my mind because I have always believed that politics should be clean and based on high standards of morality. I will always continue to strive for rich traditions which I have inherited from my grandfather Sher-i-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and my father Dr. Farooq Abdullah,” he said in his resignation letter addressed to Vohra.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Why Jammu region has to struggle for everything?


Does not Jammu region deserve a centre of IIM?

1. If State Govt, want to establish two Central Universities in J&K; it should first established the sanctioned one in Jammu.

2. If Omar feels that Central University should have two campuses to maintain balance, why not IIMs.

3. Central University Joint Action Committee sets deadline; will come on roads on July 29.

4. Central University issue has much stronger response from Jammuites than what they had shown during Amarnath land controversy.

5. How will this university work in Kashmir, which observes Bandh for almost 275 days of a year?

6. It was PM Dr. Manmohan Singh who announced publicly that Central University would be set up in Jammu and IIMs in Valley, is it not an attempt to prove PM wrong?

Baha'u'llah (born on November 12, 1817, in Tehran) had rightly said, “So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.”

You must have remembered the story from your childhood, where an old man was worried about his sons who were always quarreling among themselves. In order to teach them a lesson he ask them to break a bundle of sticks tied together. Obviously none of them could. And when the bundle was untied they were able to break each stick easily enough. The power of unity is known to all of us. But we often seem to forget it when it comes to individual success. This is unfortunate that most of us consider our success as a personal property, and others are not involved in it.

Yet a ray of hope seems somewhere, as this time, people of Jammu region have realized the they cant get anything without struggle and with unity, they can achieve the goals required to secure the future of generations to come and have started getting united over the issue of Central University.

Positive signal this time is that, all Jammu based leaders, associations, traders, students, and political activist have joined fight for the Central University at Jammu. But more is required to achieve the success. No doubt all are fighting for the Jammu cause but they are doing this at their individual levels. The need of the hour is that they should unit and started this genuine fight under a single umbrella.

Jammu people have to see into the IIM which is being set up in Kashmir. Jammu region also deserves one campus of IIM keeping in view the career of future generations.

Jammu based Congress leaders & worker have came out with their support for Central University at Jammu. State Secretary Jammu & Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) Krishan Lai Gupta along with other party leaders & workers have supported the demand of various student Organizations, for the establishment of the Central University at Jammu.

He has rightly pointed out that our Member Parliament (MPs), Member Legislative Assembly (MLAs) of Member Legislative Council (MLCs) & other senior leaders should rise above party politics & stress the concerned authorities at the Centre & the state to take final decision in this regard without any further delay.

His has rightly opined that any delay or wrong decision in this matter can give opportunity to some vested interests to flair up the situation in this otherwise peaceful city and reminded the authorities about the last year incidents in which Jammu people, students, traders, tourist, daily bread earners & laborers & especially the economy of the State had suffered to the large extent.

While pointing out that that as already land have been demarked for establishing Central University at Jammu & IIMS for Kashmir, he wished that these projects should be completed first & in the next phase Central University at Kashmir & IIMS for Jammu should be got approved . So, that question of discrimination with any region should not arise.

MEANWHILE: Extending its full support to the Central University agitation started by the students Shiv Sena Hindustan (SSH) seems a bit aggressive as it declared that no force on earth can take away this university from Jammu to Kashmir.

SSH leaders expressed their happiness that the students are leading this agitation and this agitation will go to the logical conclusion as the student do not have their vested interests like political leaders.

SSH leaders have rightly raised a question how the university can work in Kashmir, which observes Bandh for almost 275 days of a year.

Again SSH strike at the right point by asking the Chief Minister (CM) that as he is asking for two Central Universities for the state, why not asking for two IIM's (Management Institutes) for the state, which according to SSH leaders shows how concerned is CM towards Jammu.

SSH leaders have appeal to all the elected MLAs of BJP to raise this issue in the Assembly as this will be the acid test for them for fighting the cause of Jammuites.

SSH leaders said that they have been send to the Assembly by the public of Jammu to safeguard the interest, honor, pride and dignity of the Jammu region.

Moreover, a BJYM activists led by its State President, Pawan Khajuria took out a protest rally against the State Government’s move to shift Central University from Jammu and Kashmir. The protest culminated at Pt. Prem Nath Dogra Chowk where effigy of the state Coalition Government was torched. The protesters raised slogans against the coalition government for giving step motherly treatment to Jammu region.

The protest march was addressed by the BJYM State President, Pawan Khajuria saying that the NC-Congress government should realize that any discrimination with Jammu would not be tolerated.

He reiterated that when the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had publicly announced that the Central Government would establish University in Jammu and in Kashmir an IIM would set up and on what authority the State Government is establishing the university in Kashmir Valley. Rejecting the Omar Abdullah’s assertion that he will persuade Central Government to set up two Central Universities, one in Kashmir Valley and other in Jammu region as a mere eye-wash, Khajuria asked the CM to establish two IIMs as well, one for Jammu and other for Kashmir. He warned against the Jaichands of Jammu who are crassly defending the stark discrimination with Jammu by Valley-centric state government by saying that a camp office of the Central University would be set up at Jammu also.

Khajuria asked the Congress party to come out with a clear stand on this step-motherly treatment being meted out to Jammu especially when it was PM Dr. Manmohan Singh who had decided and announced publicly that Central University would be set up in Jammu and IIMs in Valley.

He warned the State Government that if the State Government persists with its discrimination with Jammu, it will have much stronger response from Jammuites than what they had shown during last year’s Shri Amarnath land controversy.

MEANWHILE: In this connection, Central University Joint Action Committee (CUJAC) organized an All Party meeting in which more than 200 intellectual and 50 organization/association nominee were present. Those who were present included Mohan Singh Dogri writer, Jagdish Dogra- Hindu Jagran, Leela Karan Sharma (BJP) Ashok Gupta (Shiv Sena) Ravinder (Organsing Secretary Sangarsh Simiti) Mudassor Nawaz (Doda Youth Welfare Association) Yash Paul Kundal (MLA-Samba) Rajesh Gupta (Distt. President BJP) Rakesh (Shiv Sena (U)) Suresh Sharma Brahaman Parthinidi Sabha, Ram Singh Slathia (Duggar Pradesh Party) Pritam Chand (Kranti Dal), Pawan Kumar (Vice President Chambers Commerce), R Gupta Shiv Sena Hindustan, Rajiv Chunii and many other from student originations.

Organizing Secretary of CUJAC Ajay Taloor said that they have decided to give 48 hours ultimatum to the CM and asked to shift the office of Central University from Kashmir to Jammu and also threaten if CU not establish in Jammu, CUJAC shall come to the road from July 29.

He also asked CM to clear its stand on establishment of Central University in Jammu and IIM in Kashmir and rejected the two campus theory. CUJAC wants full Central University in Jammu and also asked, if the State Govt, want to establish two Central University in J&K first established the sanctioned one in Jammu and then also establish one IIM, NIT in Jammu.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Omar seeks central support to harness hydel power potential

Dr. Abdullah announces series of multi crore energy oriented projects for J&K

1400 MW short term solar energy power projects earmarked

Highlighting the need for harnessing rich potential of non-conventional energy in the State, Chief Minister, Mr. Omar Abdullah Friday sought liberal technical and financial support from Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (N&RE).

The Chief Minister was heading the State team which deliberated the issues of utilizing State’s potential in the field with a high level team of N&RE Ministry led by Union Minister, Dr. Farooq Abdullah.

The Union team is here to study and assess the sectors and the areas were the union ministry could extend help to the State to utilize its potential of micro-hydel power generation and harnessing of solar, wind and other non-conventional energy.

Chief Minister said that State is fortunate that Dr. Farooq Abdullah is heading the Ministry of N&RE who has travelled all parts of the State more than anybody else and is himself aware of the potential and requirements of the State in this field. “Our remote areas of Gurez, Machhil, Drass, Kargil, Keran, Karnah, Leh, Zanskar, Kupwara, Baramulla, Bandipora, Ganderbal, Budgam, Anantnag, Shopian, Rajouri, Poonch, Reasi, Doda, Kishtwar, etc. could be benefitted to a large extent by utilizing the brooks, streams, small rivers, springs, water falls for generation of small hydel projects of 2 to 5 MWs”, Chief Minister said and sought Dr. Abdullah’s support in the regard.

Mr. Omar thanked the Union Minister and his team for visiting the State and offering schemes in the new field of N&RE. “We have the potential and you technical knowhow”, he said and urged the Union Ministry to help the State in opening a new windows in the non-conventional power generation in the State. He said that self-reliance in power generation is the priority concern of his government and every effort would be made to utilize all sources available in this field.

Chief Minister assured the Union Ministry that State Government will provide the required State share for the Central schemes to be extended to the State for its integrated and comprehensive development.

Extending fullest Centre support to the State in its endeavours of harnessing non-conventional energy sources Union Minister and former Chief Minister, Dr. Farooq Abdullah said that his ministry has identified 246 sites in the State where small hydel power projects could be launched successfully to generate 1400 MWs of power. “This would help the State to electrify remote and far-off villages within shortest period of time and utilizing comparatively very little costs”, he said and added that central ministry will provide financial as well as technical support to the State in this regard.

Dr. Abdullah said that his ministry intends to hand over setting up of 1000 micro-hydel projects under Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan (PMRP) to the State to harness hydel power potential in the remote and far-off areas. He asked the State to provide the status report of micro-hydel projects established in the State so far so that a decision in this regard could be taken.

Dr. Abdullah said that his ministry has also sanctioned electrification of 68 villages in Anantnag, Budgam, Shopian, Kulgam and Ganderbal under Remote Village Electrification Programme. He asked the State to submit proposal for more 140 such villages to the union ministry for funding.

Dr. Abdullah said that N&RE ministry will also extend help in the electrification of heritage sites, mughal gardens, streets, parks, Government Complexes and other such places and sought a detailed proposal from the State in this regard.

The Union Secretary N&RE, Mr. Deepak Gupta made a PowerPoint presentation in the meeting and identified sectors and schemes whereunder State Government could get benefits for harnessing micro, small hydel energy and non-conventional energy sources.

Speaking in the meeting, Minister for CAPD and Transport, Mr. Qamar Ali Akhnoon emphasized the need for utilizing the great potential of Leh and Kargil districts in the generation of non-conventional energy.

Principal Secretary Power Development Department, Mr. B. R. Sharma and Principal Secretary Science and Technology, Mr. Arun Kumar also made presentations in the meeting.

Elaborating on the preparedness of the State to launch new projects under N&RE supported schemes, Chief Secretary, Mr. S. S. Kapur said that both Power Development and Science and Technology Departments have been geared up to at all levels to take up the responsibility and deliver on ground. The meeting was attended by the Minster for Science and Technology, Aga Syed Ruhullah, Minister of State for Forests, Environment and Ecology, Mr. Shabir Ahmad Khan, Political Advisor to Chief Minister, Mr. Davender Singh Rana and other senior officers from the Centre and State participated in the meeting.

60,000 crore loss suffered by Kashmir during last 4000 hartals in two decades had cost each individual Kashmir Rs 20 lakh loss

Mysteriously only few hundred families prospered and attained old zamindari status

Repeated hartal system during peak summer period helped other tourist states to attract tourist who were earlier destined to visit Kashmir

The recent survey which has been conducted by reliable media agencies have revealed that Kashmir Valley has suffered heavily on economic front as a result of average 120 hartals per year which is estimated as 4000 hartals till date during the last two decades. The survey has further revealed that some mysterious hands are working as immediately on the onset of the summer season in Kashmir the entire tourist related activities are brought to an halt, which directly benefits the other tourist states whose tourist arrival graph has gone very high.

Earlier, it was not only tourist trade people who were getting directly benefited on the arrival of lakhs of tourist in Kashmir but transport industry, auto/sumo driver, handicraft industry, floriculture industry, Zaffron industry, were also receiving direct benefit particularly in summer season. The survey has revealed that those tradesmen who were associated with tourist trade, hotel industry, houseboat industry, handicraft industry and carpet industry two decades before in Kashmir are presently suffering on economic front and majority of them have come below poverty line, while as on the other hand according to the survey the tourist associated people in other states who were comparatively infancy stage two decades earlier are now running their own helicopter services and chain of the five star and three star hotels in these states.

The media survey has also revealed that during last two decades the few hundred specific families who were economically very poor two decades earlier in different parts of the Valley have accumulated mysteriously lot of riches and hundreds of kanals of land thus revived the status of being Zamindars in their respective areas. This abnormal economic reconfiguration which has emerged due to turmoil during last two decades according to survey has caused loss of rupees sixty thousand crore to the entire economy of Kashmir Valley and each individual Kashmiri has suffered loss of Rs 20 lakh.

The survey has also revealed that due to 4000 hartals each school going Kashmiri child from kindergarten upto University level has lost 20,000 precious class periods. This has resulted into educational chaos and reduced efficiency of schools, colleges and University going students.

The survey also revealed the disaster caused due to 4000 hartals have far reaching dimensions on other social, education, cultural, commercial, intellectual, philosophical, regional, scientific, sports and other sectors.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Answer to unemployment is in tourism development: Omar

‘Showcase God-gifted places of natural beauty, scenic splendour’

Laying stress on the upgradation of infrastructure at all the tourist resorts of the State, Chief Minister, Mr. Omar Abdullah Friday said that God has bestowed His blessings upon Jammu and Kashmir by granting unbeatable places of natural beauty and enchanting scenic splendour. “We have to properly showcase the chaste tourist places and upgrade the infrastructure to encourage large scale tourist inflow from all across the world throughout the year”, he added.

Mr. Abdullah was reviewing the activities and achievements registered by the Gulmarg and Wullar-Mansbal Development Authorities at a high level meeting here.

Mr. Omar asked the officers to endeavour for restoring the State’s position as choicest tourist destination and said that this is the sector where lies the answer to the problem of unemployment. He said Tourism Development Authorities have a pivotal role to play in this direction and make the sector vibrant and remunerative for the greater chunk of people directly and indirectly.

The Minister for Tourism, Mr. Nawang Rigzin Jora, Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Ghulam Hassan Mir, Minister of State for Tourism, Mr. Nasir Aslam Wani, legislators, Mr. Nizam-ud-Din Bhat and Mr. Mohammad Ashraf, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Mr. Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, Secretary Tourism, Ms Tanveer Jahan, Director Tourism, Kashmir, Mr. Farooq Ahmad Shah, CEOs of the Gulmarg and Wullar-Mansbal Development Authorities, Managing Director, Cable Car Project and other senior officers were present in the meeting.

Mr. Abdullah said the slopes and snow in the Gulmarg have made it the world’s best skiing destination and asked the Gulmarg Development Authority to work in coordination with Cable Car Corporation in upgrading and improving Cable Car facilities in the area. He stressed on introducing more chair-car and chair-lifting facilities in Gulmarg especially for the skiers and adventure sports persons during the winter season.

The Chief Minister also asked the Authority to work out a plan for introducing snow-scooters in Gulmarg during the winter. “You could help the youth to procure snow-scooters by arranging easy loans for them from the J&K Bank and providing subsidy over it. They can hire the scooters to the riders in the winter and earn their livelihood”, he said and added that similar planning for initiating mountain biking can be introduced in Gulmarg and other feasible areas to generate economic activities for the youth.

Mr. Abdullah asked the Gulmarg Development Authority and Tourism Department to think over creating some good and befitting programmes for the tourists at Gulmarg in the evening. “Evening recreation like table tennis, badminton, other indoor sports, light and sound and appropriate cultural shows based on the culture and heritage of the State can be thought over along with open restaurants”, he said.

Chief Minister said that Wullar and Mansbal lakes provide unique tourism attraction and possess tremendous potential for the tourists from all over the world. He said while creation of infrastructure for the tourists is imperative for the purpose, the conservation and protection of these water bodies is all the more important.

Mr. Omar emphasized on phasing works according to the priority and ensuring their completion within shortest possible time. “It is not wiser to expand works programme and provide little money to each work. The better option would be to select most important works and make required funds available for these to complete within the prescribed timeframe”.

Speaking in the meeting Agriculture Minister, Mr. Ghulam Hassan Mir called for an integrated and comprehensive development programme for the Gulmarg, Tangmarg and Drung areas and asked the Gulmarg Development Authority to work in coordination with other agencies in carrying forward the works on faster track and completing these within the timeframe.

Mr. Mir said that he had launched the programme for the development of Drung to showcase this village for the tourists at one hand and on the other reduce the pressure on Gulmarg visited by lakhs of people both during the summer and winter months. He said Drung has been declared tourist village and the scheme of paying-guest accommodation development should be implemented here so that the people can develop infrastructure for the tourists in the area.

Minister for Tourism speaking in the meeting asked the executing agencies to formulate proposals for central funding under Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan-II (PMRP-II) to accelerate the pace on development works.

Mr. Jora called for coordinated approach by all the agencies involved in the development of tourism for the creation of tourist infrastructure and showcasing the new areas for global tourism.

The meeting was informed that for the revival of tourism in Gulmarg, resources are being arranged from the State Plan, Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan (PMRP) and Finance Commission Awards.

The meeting was told that the Golf Course at Gulmarg is being developed and upgraded at a cost of Rs. 4.10 crore for which Rs. 2 crore is central assistance. Similarly, Kungdoori is being developed at a cost of Rs. 4.35 crore and Rs. 4.47 crore have been allocated for the procurement of equipments for snow clearance and snow grooming and Botapathri area is being developed as a camping site at a cost of Rs. 2 crore.

It was also said in the meeting that upgradation of ice-skating ring at a cost of Rs. 3.3 crore is in progress at Gulmarg and an amount of Rs. 2.30 crore is being spent for the development of Drung as tourist village.

The meeting was told that construction of Wullar Vantage Park at Garoora, Bandipora at a cost of Rs. 131 lakhs has been almost completed while as Rs. 16.50 lakh Gulshan Park at Bandipora, Rs. 23 lakh restoration of ancient temple at Mansbal, Rs.. 15 lakh Mansbal Parking Area, Rs. 105 lakh picnic spots, civic facilities, Rs. 49 lakh Mansbal tourist resort circular road and Rs. 275 lakhs pedestrian walk way around Mansbal lake have been completed fully.

The Wullar-Mansbal Development Authority has also conserved and maintained 30 springs the water of which runs into the Mansbal lake.

The Chief Executive Officers, Gulmarg Development Authority and Wullar-Mansbal Development Authority presented PowerPoint presentations in the meeting explaining all aspects of the programmes in hand and in the pipeline for the development of these tourist areas.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Vigorous drive against land encroacher on anvil

Bhalla reviews working of Revenue and Relief Departments

After assuming the charge Minister for Revenue and Relief, Mr. Raman Bhalla took review of the Revenue and Relief departments in an officers meeting here today.

Secretary Revenue, Mr. Ejaz Iqbal, Settlement Commissioner, Mr. B.D. Sharma, Custodian General, Mr. Kifayat Sayed Rezvi and senior officers attended the meeting.

The Minister while taking the appraisal of the functioning of the departments asked the officers to render dedicated service to the people making promptness and responsive attitude the benchmark of their functioning.

Mr. Bhalla said the department is confronted with a challenge of land grabbing and encroachment of government property which has turned into a nexus. He said department has to take stringent measures to break this nexus and eradiate the menace of encroaching public property for personal gains.

He said that a vigorous drive against land encroachers will be launched to evacuate the state land. He also cautioned the revenue functionaries allegedly involved in encroachment of state land in the state, adding that they will not be speared at any cost. He directed the concerned authorities to identify the land that has illegally been occupied.

The Minister asked the Custodian General to evacuate the custodian property from the illegal occupants and make an inventory of such property so that same could be used for better purposes.

Mr. Bhalla issued strict instructions to the Revenue officers for speeding up the land acquisition cases for developmental projects across the state, as delaying of such cases affects timely completion of the projects. He also stressed for simplifying the compensation procedures..

The Minister also asked the officers and field functionaries of Revenue department to simplify the issuance of State Subject and other certificates and ensure that the beneficiaries are not let to suffer for unnecessary delays. He said that disposal of files at appropriate quarters in a timeframe be ensured so that dispensation of justice is not marred.

Later, the Minister also met a number of deputations and a large number of individuals.

Deputations of Numberdar Association led by President, Mr. Bashir Ahmad Teli, interact with the Minister and put forth their demands.

Another deputation from Kargil led by former Minister, Haji Nissar Ali raised their demands and discussed various issues with the Minister. Besides, as a large number of individuals also met the Minister and put forth their demands.

The Minister listened patiently and assured them that their demands would be look into.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Kargil tourism festival concludes

The two days Kargil Tourism Festival concluded here at Khree Sultan Choo Sport Stadium Kargil yesterday. Executive Councilor, Tourism, Mr. Punchok Tashi was the chief guest on the occasion.

In his address, Mr. Tashi lauded the efforts of tourism department for successful conduct of such event to promote tourism and to preserve age old tradition of the area. He said that all efforts are being made by the Hill Development Council, Kargil to promote tourism sectors and to revive the ancient tradition of the district to attract foreign and domestic tourists to Kargil. He further said that Kargil district has a rich potential of multi tradition and culture of different tribes like Shina, Dard, Purki, Balti, Ladakhi and Kashmiri etc. He said by tapping and exploring these unique traditions we can boost and flourish our tourism industry in the region for socio economical development of the people.

On the occasion, colorful traditional cultural programmes were also presented by the artists of various ethnic groups which include Dard, Shina, Balti, Purik tribes. For the first time artists from outside the state also participated in the festival and performed Punjabi Bangra, Assami Bangoo dance, Minipuri marshal arts and Khokhori dance which mesmerized the audience. Later, the Executive Councilor distributed prizes among the participants.

The festival was inaugurated on July 12, by chief Executive Councilor, LAHDC, Kargil, Kachu Ahmad Ali Khan.