Imtiaz Ali Highway Diaries is currently being shot in Kashmir and it makes its 13th episode. The film being shot in six states had its actors Randeep Hooda and Alia Bhatt at Aru in Pahalgam recording the folk with Gujjar singer Begum Jaan and her group. Scheduled to be released on February 12, 2014, the film has concluded it’s shooting in Jammu, Delhi, Punjab and Himachal. The idea is to offer the socio-cultural landscape of diverse geographies to the audience that make India.
Ruling NC’s post-militancy party headquarters, the Nawa-e-Subh complex has figured in the top 148 defaulters of the state who have more than Rs 10 lakh of power bill outstanding against them. Of them 119 are from Jammu and balance 29 from Kashmir. Cumulatively, all these defaulters have Rs 59.52 crore outstanding against them. The NC party headquarters has Rs 11.49 lakh bill pending against it. With Rs 39.89 lakh outstanding, Sheraz Cinema is Kashmir’s biggest defaulter. But it is a garrison.
Finally, the HRD ministry has started responding to the mess that the Prime Minister’s special scholarship scheme (PMSSS) created in J&K. Offering details in the parliament, the government said in 2011 it attracted only 38 students and in 2012-13, as many as 3340 students got the scholarship. Last year, the HRD released scholarships to 2858 candidates. Every year, 5000 scholarships are available of which 4500 are for general degree courses, 250 for engineering and 250 for medical studies. But PMSSS would still require intervention as students are being thrown out of colleges. In Jharkhand, for instance, 14 Kashmiri students including five girls were thrown out from Vananchal Dental College. Now these students are fighting to get their security deposit worth Rs 150000 each back!
Supreme Court finally banned the noisy sirens and red beacons. J&K Chief Minister and its Police chief were the first to respond and implement the order. While this will help traffic manning cops to stop making a distinction on the road, it will not devour the authority that the people in these cars and cavalcade carry – the authority that was so ruthlessly used by judicial-traffic officials last week at Seloo. Abdul Karim Dar had barely survived a cardiac attack and was on way to Srinagar that the ambulance was stopped for half an hour. Delay cost Dar his life. Even though investigations have started, the incident demonstrates that beacons and sirens could be less problematic than the misuse of authority.
Ahead of the Wall that would be set up on this side of the border in Jammu, the BSF is busy installing anti-sniping devices prevent sniper taking their toll. This is in addition to three-tier fencing, flood-lighting, sensors, thermal imagers and manual patrolling already in place. At places which can neither be covered by a wall or a fence, the BSF has erected hanging surveillance systems that have high-resolution cameras attached to monitor the movement. The development comes at a time when the BSF has conclusively established that the three Fidayeen who wrecked havoc on September 26 by killing 10 persons including eight security men had used LoC from Rajouri and not IB in Jammu to infiltrate.
Many people in Kashmir’s ruling party were left red faced last week when the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah threw his weight behind the movement for abrogation of section 377 that bans same sex marriages. Notwithstanding morality or religion, Omar asked how can a lifestyle choice be illegal? This makes him the courageous politician of Muslim majority J&K who could go public with his support to an idea that is taboo in Muslim societies.
Those watching Amitabh Bacchan’s Coolie might have pondered over the riddle how a small plate prevented the actor from a bullet. It had 786 written on it. It is a vanity number and now car number plates make good money. The latest is a businessman paying Rs 1.50 lakh for the number JK01-V 786. The 786 is the numerical equivalent of “In the name of the Allah”. But it fell second to the vanity number 0001 that fetched Rs 1.55 lakh last year. In Jammu the same number was bought by a woman for Rs 70,000. Interestingly, a Jammu businessman paid Rs 85, 000 for the JK02 AK-47 in 2009. Same is true with the phone numbers. Ask your leaders how much they paid for having SIM cards that people remember so easily.
Leh got record 137400 tourists, mostly foreigners, in 2013.
J&K spent Rs 24,01,46,747 for the salary of 4047 security men and Rs 55488966 on their fuel requirements for protecting 2542 persons in 2012