Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Stranded passengers waiting at the Railway Station in Jammu on Tuesday as 19 trains from Jammu were cancelled in view of bad situation and curfew due to violent protests in Punjab.

JK moots tunnel to tap Ravi water potential

Will help irrigate 1.33 lakh acres of land in Ravi Basin
The State Government is contemplating to construct a water tunnel at Satwain near Thein village in Kathua district to fetch due share of water from Ranjit Sagar Dam for power generation and augmenting irrigation facilities in the district. The project, on completion, would provide irrigation facilities for 1.33 lakh acres of land in Ravi-Tawi Command Area (RTCA), enabling the State to produce additional 2.66 lakh tonnes of agricultural produce, besides generating 35 MW power.
This was disclosed by Minister for PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control, Mr. Taj Mohi-ud-Din at a press conference, here today. He said under water and power sharing agreements with Punjab government, Jammu and Kashmir is eligible to get 1,100 cusecs of water from River Ravi by gravity and 20 percent of power generated at Ranjit Sagar Dam at Thein. Mr. Taj Mohi-ud-Din said a detailed project report has been formulated for the construction of the said tunnel at Satwain which is being placed before the State Cabinet shortly. He said the project is expected to be completed within 4 years and would be instrumental in boosting agriculture sector in the area and help the State to meet its food requirements. He said the proposed water tunnel would also add to irrigation potential of Ravi-Tawi Command Area by tapping water from Ujh Barrage at Jasrota.  
The Minister said that for improving irrigation facilities in border areas of Suchetgarh, R. S. Pura and Bishnah, 700 cusecs of water from Tawi has been diverted at Belicharana to Ranbir Canal. The diversion of Tawi water to Ranbir Canal will provide better irrigation facilities in 42 villages falling at the tailend of the canal and would help to increase agriculture produce in these areas also. He said that about 85,000 hectares of cultivable land in these areas would get irrigation facilities, adding that the farmers of the area who have been cultivating rainfed crops can go for paddy cultivation.
Mr. Taj said a proposal also stands formulated for construction of a lake over River Tawi near present Tawi bridge, which will help to tame the water of Badi Tawi getting diverted towards Nikki Tawi. The Lake would be a captivating tourist destination and a picnic spot in Jammu city besides, ideal for boating purposes, he added. 
Special Secretary, Irrigation and Flood Control, Ms Sarita Chouhan, Chief Engineer, Irrigation Department, Jammu, Mr Daleep Bakshi and Chief Engineer Ravi, Tawi Irrigation Complex, Mr. B R Dogra were also present.

Tapping adventure tourism potential will improve J&K’s economy: CM

Flags off batch of 43 trekkers for Heritage Trek Expedition 
Chief Minister (CM) Mr. Omar Abdullah Tuesday said that adventure tourism has enormous potential in Jammu and Kashmir due to its varied topography, geographical and climatic conditions which needs major canvassing to transform the socio-economic conditions of people of the State.
The Chief Minister said this while flagging off a batch of 43 student trekkers of Samba and Udhampur districts from Boys PG College, under Heritage Trek Expedition, here this morning. The expedition is being organized by Youth Hostel Association of India (YHAI), in collaboration with Directorates of Tourism and Education and District Administration.
The Chief Minister said events like trekking lead to inculcating self-confidence amongst youth and provide an opportunity of healthy outdoor activity with exposure to rich heritage of our State.
While flagging off trekkers, Mr. Abdullah became nostalgic and recalled that 22 years ago, a similar event was held at Gulmarg when he accompanied his father Dr. Farooq Abdullah, who inaugurated a trekking expedition. He expressed his pleasure to have inaugurated trekking expedition from Udhampur as Chief Minister.
Highlighting the importance of trekking expeditions, especially for youngsters, the Chief Minister said such events infuse fresh energy and unique experience amongst the youth, besides strengthening bonds of communal harmony and brotherhood which have a lasting effect on the minds of youth. He called upon the trekkers to carry social message and take care of environment cleanliness along the expedition routes.  
Appreciating the role of Youth Hostel Association of India for organizing the expedition, the Chief Minister called for organizing such events on a regular basis so that new vistas of tourism and heritage could be explored to attract more visitors in the State, which besides raising economy would also help in providing employment to local youth.
Expressing optimism about prevailing congenial atmosphere in the State, the Chief underlined the need of exploring and encouraging trekking in potential areas including Kashmir and devise measures to hold such expeditions of trekkers wherein trekkers from Kashmir should reach Jammu and vice-versa to create better understanding about the culture and heritage of our State.
Mr. Abdullah assured all possible help from the State government in carrying forward the activities of YHAI in the State. 
The Chief Minister also received “Nehru Youth Award” from National President, YHAI, Mr. M. S. Pandit on the occasion. 
Giving details of various activities being conducted by YHAI, Mr. Pandit said the Association has come of age as it has completed 100 years of its existence and its network is spread over 80 countries where young tourists could avail accommodation and other related facilities at reasonable rates.
He said the present expedition with its base camp at Udhampur would provide a change to the young adventurists to trek through some of the most scenic and beautiful places of Jammu region. He said the seven-day trek touches unique heritage sites, crystal-clear water springs, lofty mountains, thick deodar forests and green meadows. He said trekkers would also be imparted general knowledge about geography, archaeology, flora and fauna and environment of the area. The activities would also be extended to other parts of the State, Mr. Pandit added.
Deputy Commissioner, Udhampur, Mr. Ajay Khajuria, while speaking on the occasion, said the district has vast potential for carrying out tourism-related activities. He hoped that with the start of heritage trek expedition in the district for the second consecutive time, further boost to trekking would be given and trekkers from outside the State would reach here to participate in such expeditions.
State Chairman, YHAI, Satpal Verma, said about 39 km expedition in the district starting from Panchari to Mantali would cover beautiful natural site including Shankri Devta, Nathtop, Patnitop, Gourikund and Sudhmahadev areas.
MLA, Udhampur, Mr. Balwant Singh Mankotia, MLA, Chenani, Mr. K.C. Bhagat, IGP, SKPA, Mr. Navin Agarwal, DIG Udhampur-Reasi Range, Mr. Gulzar Singh Slathia, DIG BSF, senior officers of Army, Air Force, District Administration, Project Director, YHAI, K.K. Gandotra, prominent citizens and students were present on the occasion.