‘City Father’ Ghulam Nabi Qasba whose contribution to improving civic amenities in the capital city are positively debated is keen to reintroduce and popularize cycling as a means of transport in congested Srinagar. At a time when non-motorized transport is up, its use here has nosedived from 60 to 5% in last few decades. Srinagar has only 3.7% parking accommodation for 5000 light vehicles and two-wheelers while the registered vehicles are over 180 thousand. Qasba plans to create cycle parking bays, which will be 25% of its total parking, in and around Lal Chowk, Nishat and Shalimar. Qasba plans to cycle to his office twice a week and has appeal Chief Minister to do it once. He even has plans to create a utility that will issue cycles on rent.
Maratha Light Infantry and Regimental Centre (MLIRC) has given a new identity to this Poonch town by creating a training area in a mock-up village where soldiers sharpen their counter-insurgency skills. It has been named Low Intensity Conflict Operation (LICO) Village where everything resembles Kashmiri ambience barring snow. It has a Sarpanch house, a LICO Hut, a clinic, a primary school, typical dhoks and places of worships – all erected in the thick jungle. Houses are adequately furnished as in Kashmiri homes. The most-striking feature is an underground tunnel that connects one of the rooms in the LICO Hut to an unknown destination outside. All this is for training; even foreign armies have used the area for training their commandos.
Kashmiri journalist Syed Nazakat, a Special Correspondent with The Week, has won international Christiane Amanpour Award for Religion Journalism. The award is conducted by Washington-based International Center for Journalists. Nazakat’s story Reborn in Riyadh was adjudged the best from about 50 submissions from across the world. It is about Saudi Arabia’s extraordinary rehabilitation program for former Al-Qaeda recruits. Nazakat had conducted research in Riyadh, Mecca and Madina and a series of interviews with former al-Qaeda members and the Guantanamo Bay detainees.
It was never so quick as it was this time. Two minor boys from PaK crossed the Line of Control (LoC) at Janghar in Nowshera sector of Rajouri and were arrested by 54-RR near Ashok Post. Rehmatullah, 15 and Ayatullah, 13 are brothers and sons of Mangia, residents of Churu Kharoti in Kotli. It was an inadvertent crossing as the boys said they were collected grass for their animals. A day after when Pakistan army was contacted, they did not clear the repatriation. It happened of March 24 finally at Chakan-da-Bagh only after Indian army sent photographs of the boys across and the families recognized them. The repatriation took place at battalion commanders meeting. On their return they carried gifts as well.
Defence Ministry disclosed that the army has spent Rs 450 crore under Operation Sadbhavna aimed to ‘win the hearts and minds’ of people in J&K in last 14 years. In fact Rs 80 crore were spent in 2010. The expenditure is booked on many Civic Action programmes, especially in remote areas, for infrastructure development, health care, education and ‘National Integration Tours’. The Operation Sadbhavana was launched in 1998 to “reintegrate” the population with the national mainstream. Army runs 53 English medium Army Goodwill Schools across J&K. Meanwhile action was launched against 168 personnel of army including the then Commanding Officer (CO) of an artillery unit were for their role in a clash between officers and jawans on May 10, 2012 in Nyoma, Ladakh. Those convicted include 17 Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) and 147 jawans.
Amy Jackson, British beauty, who is acting in Shankar’s ‘I’ along Vikram has taken off to Kashmir to beat the Mumbai heat and enjoy the snow. Jackson has made her acting debut with the 2010 Tamil period-drama Madrasapattinam. Shankar has always been known for his extravagance in his films. It is Jackson’s first visit to Kashmir and it would be the second film crew visiting Kashmir this year.
The enrolment in higher education is 48541 for Jammu and 78575 in Kashmir and the teacher availability is 778 in Jammu and 634 in Kashmir. That means a teacher teaches 52 students in Jammu and 123 in Kashmir.
Imports and exports from J&K to PaK from twin LoC routes between October 2008 and February 2013 were at Rs 1748.20 crore and Rs 1039.32 crore, respectively. In between 18 traders were arrested for hawala transactions using the barter system and Rs 2.38 crore recovered from them.