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164

Jammu, MAY 23: A Cheetah helicopter of the Indian Air Force crash landed at Jammu and Kashmir’s Natha Top on Wednesday.
The cause of the sudden crash is yet to be ascertained.

According to IAF initial report, all crew and passengers are safe and have been rescued. “A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident which took place when the helicopter was on a routine sortie from Jammu to Natha Top at 0950 hours,” IAF spokesperson said.

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SRINAGAR, MAY 23(KMW): Governor N.N. Vohra, Chairman of Amarnathji Shrine Board, chaired a high level meeting at Raj Bhavan here today to review important security related issues in regard to the Amarnathji Yatra which is scheduled to commence on 28th June, 2018. The meeting was attended by the Chief Secretary, Home Secretary, Director General of Police, heads of State and Central Intelligence Agencies, GOC XV Corps, GOC Victor Force, senior most officers of the Central Armed Police Forces, Inspector General of Police Kashmir; CEO and Additional CEO of the Shrine Board.

S.P. Pani, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir and Major General J.P. Mathew, GOC, Victor Force, made detailed presentations regarding the obtaining and emerging security environment in the State, keeping in view the envisaged objectives of forces inimical to the prevalence of peace.

Governor stressed the need for all concerned agencies to keep a close watch and maintain effective co-ordination to ensure the smooth conduct of the forthcoming Yatra. The meeting held extensive discussions in regard to the issues relating to the obtaining security environment in the State; preparedness for meeting any unforeseen situation arising in the Yatra area; functioning of the Joint Control Rooms (JCRs) at every Yatra Camp; deployment of NDRF, SDRF and Mountain Rescue Teams (MRTs) of the State Police along with Rescue Teams of various Security Forces at identified locations on both Yatra routes; deployment of well equipped Fire Fighting units at pre-determined points; installation of X-Ray Baggage Scanning Units at appropriate locations on both the Yatra routes; Access Control arrangements at the Neelgrath, Panjtarni and Pahalgam Helipads etc.

The meeting discussed the enforcement of an effective Access Control System at the Baltal and Nunwan Base Camps and at the Domel and Chandanawari Access Control Gates; effective traffic regulation from Lakhanpur Check Post onwards; ATC arrangements for the heli services from the Pahalgam and Neelgrath to Panjtarni; transit camp arrangements; installation of CCTVs at various camps and at the Access Control Gates; etc.

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SRINAGAR, MAY 23(KMW): The Centre’s Special Representative for Jammu & Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma, called on the Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti here this evening.

During the meeting, overall situation in the State, particularly after the announcement of the Ramadhan Ceasefire by the Centre, came up for discussion.

Mr. Sharma apprised the Chief Minister about his recent interactions with a cross section of society in different areas and the situation along the borders in the State.

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SRINAGAR, MAY 23(KMW): Minister for Tourism, Tassaduq Hussain Mufti, today visited Hokarsar wetland to take stock of various activities being taken by the Wildlife Department for its conservation.

MLA Batamaloo Noor Mohammad, Wildlife Warden Rashid Naqash and various other senior officials of the department accompanied the Minister.

Mufti visited various spots in and around the wetland and stressed for implementing best practices for its conservation. He sought details regarding the measures being taken by the department to conserve the wetland.

He was informed that the department is taking various measures to preserve the Queen Wetland (Hokarsar Wetland) covering an estimated area of 25694 Kanals, besides eight other wetlands across the Valley.

The Minister was further told that wetlands like Hokarsar, Haigam, Mirgund, Shallaugh are the natural settlement for the migratory birds. He was informed that every year around seven to eight lakh migratory birds visit wetlands of Valley like graylag, gees, mallards, pintails, wagons, gadwalls, sandhill cranes, coot, terns and during last year 7.5 lakh guest birds visited the wetland.

It was said that these wetlands are paradise for these guest birds, which travel thousands of miles from Russia, China, Eastern Europe and the Philippines to spend their winter season here.

He was briefed that special teams are formed as soon as Kashmir valley approaches towards winter season as migratory birds flock to their winter homes—wetlands—in the Valley to protect them from poachers.

The Minister directed for taking strict action against the people involved in bird poaching and encroachment of the wetland, besides conducting awareness programs regarding the conservation of water bodies.

Mufti was informed that migratory birds feed upon unwanted weeds and material and keep water body clean, besides these migratory birds play an important role in the tourism industry as a large number of bird lovers across the country visit the migratory birds’ places and add to the economy of the state.

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New Delhi, May 23(KMW)The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Denmark regarding cooperation in the areas of food safety. The MoU was signed on 16th April 2018.

Benefits:

The MoU will help deepen bilateral ties, mutual understanding and trust, eventually strengthening both sides in their capacity building efforts towards food safety. It will further promote understanding of the best practices in the areas of food safety in both countries and in faster resolution of issues related to food safety.

The MoU will help improve food safety standard setting by getting access to best practices and facilitating food trade of important commodities.

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JAMMU, MAY 21(KMW): Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti today visited R S Pura and condoled with the families whose kin were killed in cross border shelling at Arnia and R S Pura during past few days.

Interacting with the people there, the Chief Minister described the killings as highly unfortunate addingthese occurred when the holy month of Ramadhan had just begun and people had heaved sigh of relief due to the Centre’s welcome step of halting security operations in the State.

Mehbooba Mufti said the people of the State, who have gone through very tough times in the past, want to live a peaceful life free from violence and killings. She said the Centre’s move of halting security operations has generated a hope among people who expect positive reciprocation to it by all stakeholders to let people of the State come out of the zero-sum game of killings and uncertainty.

The Chief Minister said world over people are coming to peaceful engagement of issues as acrimony and violence has led them nowhere except deaths, destruction and devastation. She said the way North and South Korea decided to walk on peaceful engagement is an encouraging signal to the entire world that issues, no matter how complex these might be, can only be settled through negotiations peacefully as violence only kills, both humans and spirits as well.

On the occasion, the Chief Minister disbursed cash assistance of Rs. one lakh each among the families whose kin were killed in the cross-border shelling of past few days. This assistance is over and above the ex gratia relief already paid to them through Jammu Divisional administration. She also directed the Jammu Divisional administration to prepare a report of the damages suffered to houses and dwelling units during the border shelling.

Mehbooba Mufti conveyed her heartfelt sympathies with the bereaved families and prayed for peace to the departed souls.

Deputy Chief Minister, Kavinder Gupta; Minister for PHE, Irrigation & Flood Control, Shyam Choudhary; MLA, Gagan Bhagat; Vice Chairman SC Board, Bhushan Dogra; Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Hemant Sharma; IGP, Jammu zone, Dr. SDS Jamwal and officers of Divisional and District administration were present on the occasion.

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Srinagar, May 21(KMW): While paying glowing tributes to Shaheed-e-Millat Mirwaiz Moulana Mohammad Farooq, Shaheed-e-Hurriyat, Khwaja Abdul Ghani Lone and the martyrs of Hawal massacre, PPP (Peoples Political Party) Chairman and senior leader, APHC Engineer Hilal Ahmad War today reiterated his party stand that martyrs are our heroes and the sacrifices rendered by martyrs of Jammu and Kashmir will never be allowed to go waste and the leadership is under obligation to take the unfinished mission of martyrs to its logic end.

Engineer Hilal who is under house detention since Sunday evening said, “Shaheed -e- Milat faced various hardships in the form of incarceration, torture and what not for supporting the Kashmir cause.” War said Shaheed-e-Milat never shied away from struggle and sacrifices and stood firm in difficult times. He further said Shaheed-e- Milat was not only a charismatic leader but a pragmatic leader also.

It is pertinent to mention here that in a bid to foil the Eid-Gah Public Rally scheduled on May 21, 2018 after Nimaz-e-Zuhr (Afternoon prayers), J & K Police has launched crackdown on all leaders of Hurriyat Conference and have detained them including Syed Ali Shah Gilani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq , Mohammad Yasin Malik, Engineer Hilal Ahmad War.

The PPP spokesman condemned the house detention of Hurriyat leaders and party Chairman in strongest words saying it amounted to State oppression and a denial of right to expression.

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Srinagar, May 21(KMW): Strict restrictions have been imposed by the administartion in parts of Srinagar city to prevent the Eidgah march. Police in riot gear has been deployed all over the city and J&K Bose and Kashmir University have called off all the exams slated for today.

Separatists had have called for a march to Eidgah grounds here in Srinagar to commemorate the death anniversaries of late Mirwaiz Maulana Muhammad Farooq and Abdul Gani Lone.

Mirwaiz Farooq was killed on May 21, 1990 while Lone was killed on May 21, 2002 by unknown gunmen.

Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, son of slain Mirwaiz Farooq, has been placed under house arrest at his Nigeen residence in the outskirts here.

Separatist Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has also been placed under house arrest in his uptown Hyderpora residence here while JKLF chief Yasin Malik has been taken into preventive custody.

Meanwhile, Prominent liberation leader and People’s Political Party (PPP) Chairman, Engineer Hilal Ahmad War has been placed under house arrest ahead of the Eidgah rally.

Strict restrictions have been imposed in Nowhatta, Khanyar, Rainawari, M.R.Gunj and Safa Kadal in the old city, while partial restrictions are in place in Maisuma and Kralkhud in the uptown areas.

Contingents of police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in full riot gear have been deployed to maintain law and order and enforce the restrictions.

Exams scheduled today have been postponed by the University of Kashmir and the Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST).

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SRINAGAR, MAY 19(KMW): Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti today hoped that Prime Minister, Narendra Modi would continue his efforts to find a lasting solution to the pain and wounds of the people of Jammu & Kashmir.

Addressing a gathering on the occasion of inauguration of 330 MWs Kishenganga Hydro Eleectric Project and foundation laying of Srinagar Semi Ring Road project here today, the Chief Minister thanked the Prime Minister for announcing unilateral halt on security operations in the State. “It certainly is a big step which needed courage and you have amply displayed that. Not only the political parties, every person in the State is grateful to you for putting the balms on their wounds”, she addressed the Prime Minister adding that the people of the State are ready to walk ten steps in response to this on the road to peace and getting them out of quagmire of violence.

Mehbooba Mufi said the step taken by the Central Government has raised hopes and faith of State’s people in the statesmanship of the Prime Minister. People here, she said, believe that it is he(the Prime Minister) who took this bold step and it can only be him who has the strength to move on and take the people of Jammu & Kashmir out of the present situation”, she said while enumerating several initiatives the Prime Minister took in normailsing relations with Pakistan in the past.

The Chief Minister said the Agenda of Alliance(AoA) of the present Government has emerged as a consensus political document in last 70 years to redress the issues and problems facing the State in a democratic way. “When you (the Prime Minister) and late Mufti sahib drew a roadmap for the State, it gradually became a consensus political document to redress the issues facing Jammu & Kashmir”, she said adding that AoA has incorporated everything which it takes for redressing the issues of the people of the State. “Be it rehabilitation of refugees, opening of cross LoC routes, dialogue, opening of Sharda Peth, compensation of Indus Water Treaty losses, it has everthing in it”, she said while pitching for moving forward on its speedy implementation.

Being a sensitive State, Mehbooba Mufti said, political narrative always over shadows the developmental narrative and as such needed to be looked accordingly. She thanked the Centre for liberal assistance in terms of PMDP or other schemes which are aimed at fast pacing the development of the State. She hoped that soon work would commence on Vailoo-Singhpora tunnel and other tunnels like Sadhna and Rajdhani are also considered for execution.

Governor, N. N. Vohra; Union Minister for Roads & Highways, Nitin Gadkari; Deputy Chief Minister, Kanvinder Gupta; Union Minister of State for Power, R K Singh; Minister of State in PMO, Dr. Jitendra Singh; Minister for Public Works & Culture, Naeem Akhtar; Minister for Power, Sunil Sharma, other Ministers; former Chief Minister, Dr. Farooq Abdullah; Member Parliament, Muzaffar Hussain Baig; legislators; Chief Secretary, B B Vyas; Director General of Police, Dr. S P Vaid; officers from NHPC, NHAI and State Government were present on the occasion.

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi inaugurated the 330 MW Kishenganga Hyro Electric Project which has come up at a cost of around Rs. 6000 crore. He also laid the foundation of Semi Ring Road project for Srinagar city which is expected to cost Rs. around Rs. 2000 crore.

Earlier, the Prime Minister was received at the Srinagar airport by Governor, N N Vohra; Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti; Deputy Chief Minister, Kanvinder Gupta; Minister for Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Abdul Rehman Veeri; Minister for Revenue, Ghulam Nabi Lone; Minister for PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control, Sham Lal Chaudhary; Chief Secretary, B B Vyas; Director General of Police, Dr. S P Vaid and other senior officers.

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JAMMU, MAY 19(KMW): Prime Minister Narendra Modi today formally inaugurated two important infrastructure development projects which have been completed by the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board. The first is the Tarakote Marg between Katra and Adhkuwari for providing convenience to on-foot pilgrims. The other project is the Siar Dabri-Bhawan Material Ropeway. These projects were inaugurated at a function held at General Zorawar Singh Auditorium at Jammu University today.

Governor N. N. Vohra, Chairman of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board; Ms. Mehbooba Mufti, Chief Minister; Sh. Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport, Highways & Shipping; Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in PMO; Sh. R. K. Singh, Union Minister of State for Power; Dr. Nirmal Kumar Singh, Speaker J&K Legislative Assembly, Sh. Kavinder Gupta, Deputy Chief Minister, Sh. Naeem Akhtar, Minister for Public Works and Culture, Sh. Sunil Kumar Sharma, Minister for Power and Development; Sh. Jugal Kishore Sharma, Member of Parliament were among the many dignitaries who were present on the occasion.

Governor expressed his gratitude to the Prime Minister for graciously agreeing to inaugurate two important infrastructure development projects which have been implemented by Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board.

Recalling that two years ago, in April 2016, Prime Minister had inaugurated Shri Mata Vaisho Devi Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Kakryal and the Shrine Board’s Sports Complex, Katra, Governor informed that in the past two years the Hospital has provided medical care to over 2 lakh patients and free treatment, valuing Rs 37 crore, to the poor and needy.

Earlier, Governor Vohra gave a brief description of the two projects whose pictures were shown on the screen. Tarakote Marg is a 7.5 km long ramp style track which connects Banganga to Adhkuwari. This track, costing over Rs. 80 crore, has been constructed for pilgrims who wish to walk to the Shrine. He said that the opening of this Marg shall very significantly decongest the existing Banganga – Adhkuwari track on which mules and ponies also ply. Tarakote Marg provides well designed facilities for the comfort and convenience of the pilgrims. The Shrine Board has also constructed a 1.5 km Link Road to connect the existing Banganga – Adhkuwari track to the new Tarakote Marg.

As regards the second project, Governor informed that the operation of the Material Ropeway will enable transportation of construction and varied other materials from Siar Dabri to the Shrine. This Ropeway, costing about Rs. 12 crore, will enable the movement of 5000 kg of materials per hour to the Shrine and this shall very significantly decongest the existing track on which goods and materials are presently being transported in carts and on mules.

Governor informed that the third project, which will become operational early next month, is the Rs 65 crore Passenger Ropeway which will transport 800 pilgrims per hour from the Shrine to the Bhairon Temple. He noted that the one way journey on foot to Bhairon Temple, which presently takes about an hour, will be covered in less than three minutes. He said that the Board has decided to charge a highly subsidized to and fro ticket of Rs. 100 to enable the largest possible number of pilgrims to avail this facility.

Governor observed that for the first time, the Shrine Board has got made a Master Plan of the Shrine and its adjoining areas and, in the past several years, the Board have been implementing a continuing series of planned projects for strengthening the infrastructure and progressively enhancing facilities to be provided to the pilgrims. Besides constructing a new, airy and well lit Tunnel through which pilgrims move to the sanctum sanctorum; enlarging the area for the Atka Arti, to nearly three times its earlier size; constructing a modern complex around the Adhkuwari Temple and adding several newBhavans near the Shrine, at Adhkuwari, Katra, and Jammu, for providing increased accommodation to the pilgrims, they have also constructed a Spiritual Growth Centre, a modern Gurukul and a College of Nursing. He further added that the University set up by the Shrine Board, now in its fourteenth year, has 1600 resident students who hail from 23 States. The Engineering college of this University has been recently graded as being among the top 100 Engineering Colleges in the country.

Governor noted that besides devoting continuing high priority to enlarging facilities for promoting education and health facilities in the region the Board is devoting very special attention to ensuring effective cleanliness and sanitation in the entire pilgrimage area. The Board has established the required number of Sewage Treatment Plants; modernized the existing toilets and constructed new toilets for men and women; established a Biogas Plant to utilize the mule dung which is collected from the tracks; and installed a number of Ultra Filtration based water kiosks all along the tracks to provide hundred percent clean water to the pilgrims.

Besides fencing over 50 km of the Shrine land boundary, Governor informed that they are implementing a major project for stabilizing the mountain slopes to ensure against rolling stones which have been causing serious injuries among the pilgrims.

Governor informed that an Audio System plays bhajans and soft music round the clock along the entire length of the track to the Shrine and a modern Nursery has been set up which supplies several lakh plants every year for greening the area along the tracks and in the surrounding hills. He said that they were in the process of rebuilding the Durga Bhavan to provide accommodation for about 4000 pilgrims. After the completion of this project, the Board shall achieve the goal of ensuring that 80% of the entire accommodation near the Shrine is in the “free of charge” category.

In pursuance of the Board’s responsibilities towards the residents of nearby areas, Governor observed that they were making considerable investments for improving the civic facilities in Katra town and several works are under way for upgrading the civic facilities in the adjoining villages. The Board is providing educational scholarships to the children of Baridar families and financial assistance for the marriages of their daughters. They have also promoted the establishment of women’s Self-help Groups which manufacture Prasad and other materials which are purchased by the Shrine. He observed that on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee celebrations of the Shrine Board, the Board deposited Rs 1 lakh each in the names of 156 girls who were born during 2012. Besides, they were also providing Rs. 500 per month to the parents of each girl for her nourishment and early education.

Governor informed that the Shrine Board has recently taken another major decision to launch the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Kanjak Samriddhi Yojana for promoting the welfare of girl children in nineteen remote villages in the Bhomag area. Under this Yojana they were providing Rs 1000 per month for fourteen years to girl children in the 0-5 year age group. The maturity amount, after the girls achieve the age of 21 years, can be utilized for their higher education and marriages.

On the occasion Governor thanked every member of the Shrine Board, each of whom has made extremely valuable contribution towards the Board’s functioning.

State Government Ministers, Members of Parliament, Legislators, Chief Secretary, Members of the Shrine Board, senior Civil and Police officers, Principal Secretary to the Governor and Chief Executive Officer of the Shrine Board, other senior officers of the Board and prominent personalities from various walks of life were present on the occasion.

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