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  Jaitley in Kashmir, reviews security situation


Srinagar, May 17: Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and today reviewed at a high level meeting the security situation in Kashmir where militant attacks and incidents of stone- pelting are on the rise.
Jaitley, who also holds the finance portfolio, arrived here this evening and soon after chaired the security review meeting which was also attended by newly-appointed Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra and Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat, Army officials said.
The Defence Minister was briefed on the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir and steps being taken to restore normalcy in the Valley through close coordination amongst all the government agencies, the officials said.
He was also apprised about various measures to strengthen the counter-infiltration grid along the Line of Control (LoC), where Pakistani forces have been indulging in shelling and attacks.
Jaitley "lauded the valour, sacrifice and patriotic fervour of every soldier who is serving in these challenging situations for national integrity", saying the entire country is proud of them, the officials said.
He urged all soldiers to continue the good job being done and ensure safety of the  innocent people while dealing firmly with the inimical elements.
He also impressed upon the commanders to maintain strict vigil along the LoC and remain prepared to give a befitting reply to any misadventure from across.
Jaitley will preside over the GST Council meeting here tomorrow.
He is also likely to meet Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
The visit of Jaitley and Rawat to Kashmir comes against the backdrop of beheading of two Indian security personnel by Pakistani military in Poonch district earlier this month which was termed "barbaric" by India.
While Rawat hinted at retaliation to avenge the killings, Jaitley had said the sacrifice of the two soldiers will not go in vain and that the armed forces will react "appropriately".
The Kashmir valley has witnessed a spurt in incidents of violence and militant attacks in the last couple of months.
The Pakistani troops were involved in 67 ceasefire violations in the first four months of 2017, with maximum of 26 incidents reported in April, according to Army sources.
They said a total of 27 militants were killed between January and April in counter-insurgency operations.


    College students clash with police in Srinagar


Srinagar, May 17: Stone-pelting students of a college in old Srinagar today clashed with the security forces after they were stopped from taking out a march to press for release of those arrested during earlier such protests.
The students of Gandhi College boycotted their classes and came out on the main road at Babademb in downtown city around noon and tried to take out a march, officials said.
They were chanting slogans in support of the demand for release of those arrested during such protests earlier, the officials said.
When they were prevented from marching further, the students pelted stones at the police.
Police fired dozens of teargas shells and used batons to chase the students, including girls.
There was no immediate report of any casualty in the clashes which were continuing when last reports were received, they said.
The officials said a large group of students also staged a demonstration at Hajin chowk in Bandipora district of north Kashmir.
The protest ended peacefully, they said.
Kashmir has been witnessing random protests by students  at various places since April 15 when police raided a college in Pulwama district of south Kashmir.
Students of Sri Pratap Higher Secondary School in Srinagar have been indulging in protests repeatedly because of which studies were suspended for several days last month.
The school, along with government degree college Magam and boys higher secondary school Magam, in Budgam district remained closed today on the orders of the district administration.
Concerned over the continuing agitation by students, Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra held a series of meetings with Education Minister Altaf Bukhari and vice chancellors of Kashmir based universities and education department administrators last week to review adherence to educational schedules and protection of students from involvement in law and order incidents.
Bukhari, on his part, also held a number of meetings and urged legislators and the civil society to take ownership of the educational institutions in their respective areas to transform these as vibrant hubs of learning.
The minister stressed the need for making education free of "corruption and politics" and vowed to make education department an example in the state.
"We will work with dedication to make the department an example and the results will be seen on ground within three months," Bukhari had said chairing a meeting here yesterday.
He had said he would visit every constituency personally to know about the needs and issues in different schools.
"School children are our future and we have to promise them best education and for that we need to reach out to them," he said.


     Suggest measures to develop livestock industry, minimize imports: Mehbooba asks Vets, Scientists

SRINAGAR, MAY 17: Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti today asked veterinarians and scientists of SKUAST to brainstorm on status of livestock management in the State and suggest measures by which dependence on import of mutton and chicken is reduced and Jammu & Kashmir can achieve self-sufficiency in the sector.
Inaugurating a National Symposium on Livestock Management and Production at SKUAST-K here, the Chief Minister wondered that livestock management in the State could not be developed as an independent sector of economy over decades and has always been treated as a subsidiary to Agriculture and Horticulture sectors. She said that the sector needs to be developed on modern lines in tune with scientific advancements.
Mehbooba Mufti further said that every year, State has to spend huge amount to import mutton and chicken and if appropriated interventions at policy, research and execution are made, this draining out of wealth could be minimized and hundreds of youth could be engaged in gainful employment. She said that Jammu & Kashmir has livestock friendly climate and topography and asked Scientists and experts at SKUAST to suggest how these friendly features are factored to improve livestock production in the State.
The Chief Minister further said that efforts need to be made collectively by the researchers and executors to give the sector a greater acceptability in terms of economic viability, job creations, production scale and ideal conditions in the State. She said that livestock business is already being practiced by around one-fourth of the State's population and it contributes around 11% to State's domestic produce. This, she said, is the silver lining, from where the sector can be expanded, particularly among youth.
Mehbooba Mufti said that the theme of the Symposium is very relevant to the emerging demands of the sector. She asked the scientists, attending the symposium, to deliberate upon areas like impact of climate change in terms of quality of produce, fodder and food availability, animal health concerns, value addition in production etc and come up with recommendations to be implemented by executing agencies.
The Minister for Animal & Sheep Husbandry, Abdul Ghani Kohli in his address also impressed upon the scientist community to come up with specific recommendations for giving livestock management in the State a boost. He stressed on bridging gap between research and practice in livestock management to achieve optimum results..


            Sham Choudhary for speeding up dredging works in Jhelum       

SRINAGAR, MAY 17: Minister for PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control, Sham Lal Choudhary today stressed upon the officers of I&FC Department for gearing up their men and machinery to further speed up dredging works in river Jhelum.
The Minister said this during a day-long tour to Baramulla and Sopore to personally monitor ongoing dredging works in river Jhelum and functioning of PHE Department in these areas.
The Minister visited site no-2 in Khadinyar area of Baramulla, where dredging works in Outfall Channel (OFC) of river Jhelum are being carried out by the Department. The Minister was informed that 2 long boom excavators have been engaged at the site for 2nd stage works.
In order to speed up the process, the Minister asked concerned officers to submit a proposal for procurement of 2 new high-tech dredging machines.
The new machines are highly advanced and will help in taking out the material from river bed faster, the Minister said.
Earlier, the Minister convened a meeting with officers and reviewed functioning of PHE and I&FC Department. The Minister was apprised of the water supply scenario in the district and works, which are being carried by the PHE Department to augment water supply to people of the area.
Sham Lal Choudhary also visited other dredging site in Sopore and was briefed by the concerned officers about ongoing works. It was informed that 2 suction dredgers have been engaged for works.
The Minister directed the officers to further pace up dredging works, so that same are finished well in time.
"Dredging work is a regular process and it needs to be taken in a planned and systematic manner so that water flows freely during monsoon season," the Minister said.

      Clean environment pre-requisite for creating healthy society: Kavinder

JAMMU, MAY 17: Speaker Legislative Assembly, Kavinder Gupta today advocated massive awareness among people about ill-effects of using polythene bags. "People are greatly instrumental in ensuring a complete ban on Poly-bags as without their participation, such common causes cannot meet the desired destination", the Speaker maintained while making a fervent appeal to people for supplementing Government's efforts in this regard.
The Speaker was speaking as a Chief Guest on concluding day of a weeklong programme, 'Swachhta Saptah' organized at the BDO office, Satwari. Kavinder elaborated in detail about importance of launching such sanitation programmes, as healthy and clean environment is pre-requisite for creating a healthy world to live in. He said that the need is to raise awareness about such missions, on a wider scale, so that real aim behind such people friendly programmes is met.



      Zulfkar reviews functioning of LMD 

JAMMU, MAY 17: Minister for Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA), Choudhary Zulfkar Ali today enjoined upon the officers of Legal Metrology Department (LMD) for ensuring strict enforcement of various laws and Acts of the Department aimed at protection of consumer rights.
The Minister, while reviewing functioning of LMD, took a detailed district-wise review of physical and financial achievements recorded by the Department in Jammu province, during financial year 2016-17.
The Minister was informed that the Department has conducted 21293 inspections and booked 3910 erring traders in Jammu division under prevailing laws and rules with realization of Rs 54 lakh as penalty. Besides, 163 awareness cum re-verification camps have been organized in various districts. On account of standardization, revenue to the tune of Rs. 1.27 cr has been collected against last financial year's figure of Rs. 1.15 cr, thus registering an increase of about 9.5 %.
The Minister stressed upon the officers to redouble their efforts for further improving the functioning of the Department so that consumers would be provided quality services. The Minister asked the concerned officers to organize camps from July 1st to 7th in each district for creating awareness among consumers regarding their rights and responsibilities as well.
He directed the officers to check weights and measures used in commercial and industrial establishments to save consumers from any fraud in this regard. He also called for surprise inspection of petrol pumps, brick-kilns and solvent units to detect any violation of provisions of the Legal Metrology Laws.
Zulfkar also directed the officers to visit markets in their respective areas and submit periodic reports. They were also asked to ensure that the norms of Packaged Commodity Rules are strictly being followed by the shop-keepers/manufacturers/dealers, apart from ensuring that only stamped electronic/manual/weighing instruments are being used by them.


    Bali for innovative reforms to improve services in Tertiary Healthcare Centers  

SRINAGAR, MAY 17: Minister for Health & Medical Education, Bali Bhagat today reviewed functioning of Government Medical Colleges, Dental Colleges and all associated hospitals during a high-level meeting held here today and called for initiating innovative reforms to further enlarge the healthcare services in these Tertiary Healthcare Centers.
During the marathon review, the Minister received detailed account of all the essential services including, availability of manpower, diagnostic facilities, medicines, infrastructure, sanitation, parking space, implementation of various decisions taken in previous meetings and futuristic up-gradation plans to cater to increased flow of patients and ensuring efficient patient care. He emphasized upon the need for plugging all gaps and initiating necessary and timely steps to further augment the services.
On the issue of paucity of manpower, the Minister directed the heads of Departments to refer all the vacant posts of different categories to the concerned recruitment agencies and vigorously pursuing these for filling on fast-track basis. He also directed for conducting regular DPCs to fill up promotional quota posts so that the patient care does not suffer. He also directed for revision of obsolete rules of some categories enabling promotion of employees.
The Minister also called for paying focused attention on sanitation part and directed for hiring the services of Sulabh International which is a professional agency in the field. He also stressed for undertaking complete face lifting of premises of hospitals with necessary landscaping of ideal land to ensure healthy environment in and around the hospitals. For the facilities of patients and attendants, he directed for creating more facilities in the hospitals like setting up of inquiry counters, PAS system, waiting cabins, canteen service etc.

  Dy CM for making State self-sufficient in power generation

SRINAGAR, MAY 17: The Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh today directed officers to explore possibility for generating power, keeping in view the favorable geographical conditions of J&K, so that the State becomes self-sufficient in power generation and consumers get adequate supply of electricity.
The Deputy Chief Minister was addressing officers during 2nd meeting of Management and Finance Sub-Committee of Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation Ltd (JKSPDC) here today. The Minister of State for Power, Syed Farooq Ahmad Andrabi was also present on the occasion.
Dr Singh directed the officers to come up with a comprehensive framework for generating power so that demands of people are met. He further said that they should synergize their efforts in order to make the State self-sufficient in terms of electricity generation and transmission.
While referring to the initiatives being undertaken in power sector, the Deputy Chief Minister said that officers should ensure timely completion of various programmes being implemented in the State. He said that a special component has been provided under Prime Minister's Development Package for ensuring that the sector gets requisite flip and thrust.
Dr Singh directed officers to ensure that the work on ongoing power projects is speeded up so that capability and capacity of the State to generate power, gets requisite boost. He said that a major component of our plan is being spent on purchase of power from various agencies and by making ourselves self sufficient, we can divert funds for other developmental initiatives.

  Abolish practice of interviews for class-III, class-IV posts: Harsh


JAMMU, MAY 17: Alleging large scale malpractices, nepotism, corruption and regional discrimination in process of selections conducted by PSC, SSB and other recruiting agencies for Government jobs, scores of Panthers party activists, led by Chairman JKNPP, Harsh Dev Singh held a massive protest at Exhibition Ground, Jammu today seeking disbanding of present PSC besides abolition of interviews in recruitment for non-gazetted posts. Expressing indignation over recent discriminatory selections against posts of Assistant Professors in Higher Education Department, Harsh Dev Singh accused BJP for failing to address the most significant issue faced by Jammu youth and shamefully surrendering itself before Kashmir centric leadership for power avarice. He alleged huge regional bias in recruitments made by PSC for the posts of Lecturers and Assistant Professors in various disciplines.
He said that selection lists revealed abysmally low share of Jammu region in said recruitments and demonstrated highly parochial nature of selections. He cautioned the State government and mandated leaders of Jammu region to ponder over the grave concern of Jammu youth by addressing discrimination issue and notifying abolition of interviews for non-gazetted posts, without any delay or else get ready to face public fury. Anguished over the fraudulent selections by SSB for various non-gazetted posts, Harsh Dev Singh regretted that while the interviews for class-III and class-IV posts were abolished in rest of the country from January 1st 2016, the State Government has deliberately retained the practice with a view to use the process for vested interests. He further said that there is no justification for holding interviews for class-IV and Ministerial staff posts and provision of interview for such posts has only increased the scope for discrimination, manipulation, nepotism and corruption by vested interests.

 DB provides relief to employees of Farmers’ Societies


aJAMMU, MAY 17: A Division Bench of Jammu and Kashmir High Court at its Jammu Wing comprising Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Alok Aradhe have provided relief to the employees of Farmers' Societies after having gone through several rounds of litigation.
The case of the petitioners is that they were employees of six Farmers Service Cooperative Societies which were ordered to be wound up on 27.07.1990 by the Registrar, Co-operative Societies J&K, Jammu, in terms of the provisions of Section 65 read with Section 66 of the Jammu and Kashmir Cooperative Societies Act, 1960 (hereinafter referred to as "the said Act"). Thereafter the said societies were liquidated. The order of winding up had been passed on the basis of alleged embezzlement/ mismanagement/ misdeeds in the running of the said Co-operative Societies. The present appellants went through several rounds of litigation. The same have been set out in detail in the impugned judgment and we are not repeating the same in order to avoid prolixity. However, the crux of the matter is that two earlier writ petitions being SWP No. 1648/1998 and SWP No. 1371/1998 were disposed off by a judgment and order dated 31.05.2001. One of the directions contained in the said judgment dated 31.05.2001 was that the State Government would also consider the claims of the petitioners in the same way as has been done in the case of employees of Rural Electric Cooperative Society, Samba, and would accord same treatment to the petitioners. Apparently the respondents considered the case of the petitioners and passed a speaking order dated 19.12.2002 directing consideration of these employees in Government Service on the analogy of the employees of Rural Electric Cooperative Society Samba.
The Division Bench after hearing both the sides at length observed that the finding of Single Judge in the impugned judgment, that the appellants had no technical qualification and, as such, they could not be given the same treatment as that of the employees of the Rural Electric Cooperative Society, Samba, and that absorption was not warranted on account of bad financial conditions of the State, cannot stand, particularly because the very direction given by the earlier Single Bench, on 31.05.2001 had attained finality on account of the dismissal of LPA No. D-8/2002".
Senior Counsel PN Raina appearing for the appellants has also drawn our attention to page 128 of the appeal paper book, which is a copy of Government Order No. 382 PDD of 1997 dated 16.12.1997 with regard to winding up of Rural Electric Cooperative Society Limited, Vijaypur Samba and absorption of employees of the Society. That very same order indicates that 101 Daily Rated Workers and Work charged employees were also treated in a similar manner in the matter of regularization. Apart from this, 159 subordinate employees were also absorbed as employees of the Power Development Department.
This has been pointed out in the context of the assertion of the respondents that the employees of the Rural Electric Cooperative Society, Samba, were technicians, whereas the record speaks otherwise.
The DB further observed that since the directions given by the Court on 31.05.2001 had attained finality and were clear, the respondents could not sit in appeal over the directions of the Court and give it an interpretation which ran counter to the direction of the Court. In these circumstances, the impugned judgment cannot be sustained and the respondents are directed to comply with the earlier directions dated 31.05.2001, to which we have referred above, in letter and spirit within a period of six months from today. The DB further observed that at this juncture the Counsel for the respondents submits that two of the Societies, Farmers Service Society Samba and Bari Brahmana have been revived. If that be so and if any of the appellants have been re-employed in those societies, then the direction, insofar as they are concerned, need not be complied with. Insofar as the employees of other Societies are concerned, the direction has to be carried out as indicated above. With these observations Division Bench allowed the LPA. (JNF)

Alleged hushing up of RDA Scam by SVO


JAMMU, MAY 17: In the much publicized Public Interest Litigation highlighting the alleged hushing up of Rajouri Development Authority Scam wherein instead of registering an FIR despite the approval of the Director Vigilance, the same was converted by SVO into a Regular Departmental Action against the delinquent officers/ officials of Rajouri Development Authority.
A Division Bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court at its Jammu Wing comprising Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice Janak Raj Kotwal in a significant order directed the General Administration Department to conclude the enquiry against then CEO, Rajouri Development Authority within four months.
After hearing Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed appearing for the PIL and Senior Additional Advocate General Seema Shekhar appearing for the State Government, the Division Bench headed by Justice Alok Aradhe observed that in compliance of order dated April 10, 2017 Senior Additional Advocate General has filed the status report on April 21, 2017 in which it is stated that a departmental enquiry has already been initiated against the then CEO Rajouri Development Authority and the documents have also been supplied to the Tourism Department. However, the response from the Tourism Department is awaited. As soon as the response from the Tourism Department is received, the GAD shall make an endeavour to conclude the departmental enquiry expeditiously.
After considering the status report filed by GAD and the submissions of Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed appearing for the PIL, the Division Bench comprising Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice Janak Raj Kotwal directed the General Administration Department (GAD) to conclude the enquiry against then CEO, Rajouri Development Authority within four months. The Division Bench further directed the Registry to list the petition for further orders in the month of September, 2017. (JNF)


Court awards 2 yrs imprisonment, fine for outraging modesty 


JAMMU, MAY 17: Judicial Magistrate Majalta, Touseef Ahmad Magray has convicted the accused Rajinder Singh alias Raju, S/o Rashpal Singh, R/o Thalora, Tehsil Majalta, District Udhampur in case FIR No: 73/ 2015 and sentenced him to two years imprisonment with a fine of Rs. 2500 for commission of offences under Sections 354 and 458 of Ranbir Penal Code (RPC).
A case was registered against accused Rajinder Singh in Police Station Majalta under FIR No: 73/2015 for the commission of offences under Section 354 and 458 RPC. After completing the investigation, the Challan was produced by police in the Court of Judicial Magistrate Majalta. The case was pursued by the Prosecuting Officer Mrs. Abhilasha on behalf of State while Advocate Amit Sharma pleaded the case of accused.
The Court while convicting the accused held that prosecution has been able to establish the guilt of accused beyond any reasonable doubt. While commenting on quantum of punishment, the Court held that at a time when crimes against women are on the rise and the accused while finding the complainant all alone in her house with her minor kids trespassed into her house and outraged her modesty, in such a scenario the accused doesn't deserve any leniency and accordingly this Court convicts the accused to two years imprisonment with a fine of Rs.2500. (JNF).

Haq reviews progress of MGNREGA works


ANANTNAG, MAY 17: Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Abdul Haq, today convened a meeting to review the progress of MGNREGA works undertaken by Rural Development Department in Anantnag district.
The meeting was informed that during the last fiscal, Anantnag district had an available budget of R 57.99 crore under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), out of which R 57.52 crore were expended by the end of the financial year.
To cater to the demands of jobs under MGNREGA, the RDD has been able to provide jobs to 83228 job card holders including 29705 women and 61 differently-abled persons in the district. The jobs were provided to 42946 households and 915 households completed the target of 100 days during the last fiscal.
Detailing about the works, the Minister was briefed that the Department constructed 1120 check dams, 83 water harvesting tanks, 34853 cubic metre micro irrigation works and renovation of 19 traditional water bodies in the year 2016-17, while as under MGNREGA the Department has also carried out work on 28075 cubic metres of flood protection bunds and 104 kilometres of drainage works.
Under Rural Connectivity Programme, the department has constructed 157 kilometres of road length, 274 Kms of lanes and 76 culverts in the district during the last financial year.
The meeting was further told that on the directions of the Minister, the department has proposed 183 vulnerable spots where flood protection works by using Gabion structures in flood prone areas are to be executed under MGNREGA and 13th Finance Commission. The works involve a cost of R 51.77 crore.
Under Convergence programme, the Department has also taken up construction of 14 fisheries units at the cost of R 3.18 lakh, while as 5 playgrounds were also developed at the cost of R 13 lakh in convergence with the Department of Education.
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister directed the concerned officers to ensure that all the ongoing developmental projects are executed efficiently and in a time-bound manner so that their benefits reach to the common masses.
The Minister also reviewed the progress of ongoing anti-Polythene drive of RDD and stressed upon the officials to work religiously to ensure the objective of polythene-free State is realized.
He was informed that the Department collected 2395 Kilograms of used polythene and seized 15.5 kg polythene, besides recovering R 5000 as fine from the violators in the district.

Seminar on 'Sleep Apnea in Children' organised at ASCOMS


JAMMU, MAY 17: A seminar on 'Sleep Apnea in Children' was organised to commemorate 'World Hypertension Day' at ASCOMS auditorium here today. More than 250 delegates including faculty, residents, medical as well as nursing students besides many doctors from other hospitals attended this significant seminar.
Dr Rajesh, Professor and Head Department of ENT, Dr Satish Mehta noted ENT surgeon, Dr Nitika Mehta senior resident ENT and Dr Prenika Shangloo senior resident Paediatrics from ASCOMS spoke on various aspects of Sleep Apnea. It was a very interactive session and on the spot prizes were given to the delegates who attended quiz session.
The event was organised by Medical Education Unit in association with Departments of Paediatrics and ENT.
Dr Ravinder K Gupta, Professor and Head Department of Paediatrics, Organizing Secretary convened the event. Dr Sandeep Koushal Asst Dean DMC Ludhiana, Dr G S Saini, Dr Pramod Kalsotra and Dr Narender Khullar were guests of honour.
The Chief guest Dr Pawan Malhotra Director Principal and Dr Sandeep Koushal presented awards to the speakers.

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