In 10 days, as many as three parliament standing committees visiting Jammu and Kashmir. These included the committee led by Congress leader Anand Sharma on home affairs. Back home, Sharma, who committee spent eight days in the erstwhile state, has said there was red-tapism and the bureaucracy was delaying the developmental roll-out. It has said the militancy is down, though not out. Though the Home Committee remained in news, the fact is that three Committee visited and all the three were led by Congressmen. Before Sharma Committee, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) led by Congress leader, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, visited Srinagar and Ladakh, to examine the issue of protective clothing for troops stationed at high altitudes. Another panel that visited Srinagar, Pahalgam and Gulmarg around the same time was the Committee on Sub-ordinate Legislation, headed by another Congressman Partap Singh Bajwa, to study waste management, rejuvenation of water bodies like the Dal Lake, and lending by banks to priority sectors, among other issues. Now, Jammu and Kashmir will host Shashi Tharoor-headed the Standing Committee on Information Technology in September. This is perhaps the highest number of PSCs that visited Kashmir in a season after 2019. Is BJP telling Congress to see how better they managed Kashmir?
Despite being the consumables in Kashmir’s wild-food chain, the Hangul population has increased from 237 animals in 2019 to 261 in 2021
A BJP leader, who was next to Chief Minister at the peak of his career, was the first to support the “land Jihad” narrative when Ghulam Nabi Azad’s Roshni started spreading darkness. Now both of them, Kavinder Gupta and were found to be in occupation of the land under the same scheme. Kavinder Gupta along with two others, Subash Sharma and Shiv Rattan Gupta, have jointly occupied 23 kanal, 9 marla at village Ghaink in Bhalwal tehsil.
It was supposed to happen. India’s Indus Commissioner Pradeep Kumar Saxena has revealed that his Pakistani counterpart Syed Muhammad Meher Ali Shah raised objections on the construction of the 624-MW Kiru Power Project being set up on the Chenab basin. Pakistan has invoked the treaty provision that gives her the right to seek the design of a project within three months. Kiru is a run-of-river project and is planned to be implemented by a Joint Venture between the NHPC and JKSPDC. The project will be discussed when the two Commissions’ meet in Pakistan, later this year. The World Bank brokered water-sharing Indus Water Treaty gives all the waters of the eastern rivers — Sutlej, Beas, and Ravi — amounting to around 33 million acre-feet (MAF) annually to India for unrestricted use in lieu of waters of western rivers — Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab — amounting to around 135 MAF to Pakistan.
Earlier this year, during the meeting between the Indus Commissioner of India and Pakistan, Pakistan has raised objections on the designs of Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai hydropower projects in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan has also raised objections on hydropower projects in Chilling (24 MW), Rongdo (12 MW) and Ratan Nag (10.5 MW) are in Leh; while Mangdum Sangra (19 MW), Kargil Hunderman (25 MW) and Tamasha (12 MW) are in Kargil. India had said the designs of these projects are also fully compliant with the treaty.
Girls outshined boys in the University of Kashmir convocation as they took 280 of the 409 gold medals home.
The erstwhile poster boy of Kashmir cricket, Parvez Rasool, is facing an embarrassing situation as the BCCI intends to “nail him down”. The cricketer who was once selected to be part of Team India (not permitted to play) and later selected for the IPL, has alleged that some vested interests are trying to ruin his image. The entire crisis is the outcome of a single e-mail that Brigadier Anil Gupta, currently member, administration, of Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association, sent on July 26, to the Srinagar in-charge, Majid Dar: “Do we have any proof to nail him down?” Though it was politely apologised later taking the “inadvertent” route, Rasool is tense over the clear objective. By the way, Gupta has accused him of “not returning equipment belonging to the JKCA”. He has been asked to return the pitch-roller or face “police action”. JKCA is currently being managed by BJP office-bearers.
In a brief shoot-out, the Jammu and Kashmir police killed TRF chief, Mohammad Abbas Sheikh and his deputy, Saqib Manzoor. Police said a posse of their shooters had gone in civvies. Abbas lived in South Kashmir and was the most senior militant alive and Saqib was from the city. Police said it was the biggest success as Abbas was the TRF architect. Abbas has been a militant since 1996. Arrested in 2004, he moved out a year later and rejoined militancy and was against arrested in 2007 and remained in jail till 2011. After his second release, he became a tailor but returned to militancy in 2014. Reports said he was the seventeenth person from his extended family who was killed, since 1990. His sister is in jail under UAPA. Police said he topped the list of 10 most wanted insurgents.
In seven days, Punjab Police said they recovered 16 Kgs of Heroin at Madhopur as it was being taken out of Jammu and Kashmir.
With the Covid19 pandemic playing havoc with the economies, Kashmir is witnessing a crisis as the carpet appetite has fallen the world over. Against Rs 369.81 crore exports in 2016-17, Kashmir carpet exports were at Rs 299 crore in 2019-20. Now the planners are trying to be innovative to get back the buyer attention and manage the unlocking of capital from the inventory. With Geographical Index (GI) already in pocket, authorities have pushed the hand-knotted carpet, with its intricate and colourful floral patterns, to adore a special cover of the Indian Postal Service.
Authorities have decided to revive and repair Mansar Haveli in Samba and Laddan Kotli Fort in Udhampur. In the first phase, the historic buildings will be restored and thrown open to visitors. In the second stage, the preservation of miniature paintings and murals will begin. Mansar Haveli is located near the lake. By now it is seventy per cent restored but will take some time more. It witnessed reconstructed archways, stabilization of slopes and filling of cracked walls. Surkhi and Nanak Shahi bricks were used by the same skilled workers who earlier restored one of the major entrances of the historic Mubarak Mandi complex. Its restoration is expected to cost Rs 68 lakh. Similarly, at an investment of Rs 94 lakh, Udhampur’s Laddan Kotli Fort is being revived. Built by a later Chenani king, the fort is spread over nine kanals of land with houses and farms to its eastern side and forests on the other.
In order to avoid the departing second wave getting active again and paving way for the third wave, authorities have enforced a strict protocol, at least in the tourist spots. In Mughal Gardens in the city periphery, the health officials huddle at the entrance and seek certificates from the visitors about the Covid19 inoculation. In case, they fail to prove that they have taken the vaccine, they are asked to undergo a quick RAT. This has been done at a time when the tourist footfalls are gradually improving.
Covid19 has infected a total of 324647 people across Jammu and Kashmir of whom 4404 have died. Even though the new infections are in the 100-150 range on daily basis, still more than 1060 people are currently the active cases.