Whenever a Bollywood crew lands in Srinagar, it creates excitement from chief minister’s office to Dal Lake. Glamour, tourism and peace makes a great cocktail. In the immediate follow up, a senior police officer escorts them as the tourism ministry officials converted into coordinators and managers for the crew. Those concessions apart, the tourism ministry this year created record of sorts by “donating” thirty percent of the Rs 10 crore publicity budget to sponsor IIFA awards ceremony at Tampa Bay, Florida (US) from April 23 – 26. A small delegation joined the stars and starlets and promoted tourism. This has led a photograph get viral on web showing Chief Minister’s political adviser making a comment. People say this photo is the net outcome of Rs 3 crore cheque. May be there are more pics and may be one day people will know that a minister’s son and huge lobby in Jammu was behind forcing tourism ministry to agree to the sponsorship.
Politics makes its own changes. For most of the last three months Omar Abdullah did not left a single opportunity to criticise Narendra Modi. But now he is Prime Minister. Omar was one of the last few Chief Ministers who flew to meet him. He also met Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Earlier, he had a detailed interaction with the visiting Defence and Finance Minister Arun Jaitely, whom once Omar drove out of the state. Omar was happy that he sent a satisfied Jaitely back to Delhi. Though Omar is not a stranger to either of the three, this is called working relationship. Politics over, it is governance now.
Babus in the secretariat will say it is occupational hazard. But when an official dies fighting a forest fire, it is not routine because he could avoid it. Identified as Nazir Ahmad Shiekh, the 44 year old was a helper in forests and received serious burn injuries while dousing a fire in compartment 57 of Butgund (Kulgam) district on June 12. He fought a battle for life in SMHS but finally succumbed. Tragically his wife is also admitted in the same hospital for critical heart ailment. The couple had two kids. A real hero, can somebody in the forests come forward and draft a policy for managing the family now. This department has a history of burying its heroes under the logs of timber.
Very soon, engineers in state’s power department will be seeking help in not getting deployed to Odisha. Yes. After Delhi allocated a joint coal block at Kundanali- Laburi to SPDC (130 mts) and NTPC (266 mts), the two are creating a JV and getting in to mine development and generating power. In the JV, SPDC will have 33% stakes but the usage of mine would be managed separately. SPDC is planning a 330 MW power station near the mine. If the coal is transported to J&K for feeding a plant, it would mean a loss of Rs 20,000 crore in 25 years. While the mine development would require Rs 2000 crore, the power project would cost slightly less than that.
Even as the political parties are seeking more autonomy to the state, its academic institutions have ignored utilizing the part that the state already has. A recent expose suggested that the University of Kashmir’s law school is neither teaching its post graduate students the Article 370 – the main source of the relationship between J&K and Delhi, but have also thrown the Ranbir Penal Code (the local IPC) into the dustbin. Both these items of vital importance were being taught till 1990s! Whose university is it?
Finally he was associated with the international cricket. Yes, Parvez Rasool, the first Kashmiri cricketer who is part of India’s national team for the first time since 1947, has played his first match against Bangladesh. An off-spinner, he took two wickets and conceded 60 runs in 10 overs. Rasool was waiting to play since his selection in 2013 tour of Zimbabwe.
It was a strange coincidence. The day PDP announced Khursheed Aalam would contest from Khanyar against NCs powerful secretary general Ali M Sagar, a new break suggested that his Baba Reshi Floor Mills was stealing power. Reports said PDD had suspended two employees including a JE for reporting the loot. After the ground staff identified the crisis, a senior team suggested it was untrue. Later another team vindicated the juniors. While the company has been penalized Rs 30 lakh, how soon will whistleblowers resume work? Will PDD wait for Aalam’s election to dismiss the two!
Public Safety Act has been invoked 16329 times since 1988 and 249 persons were booked repeatedly under it.
An estimated 15000 non-local beggars operate in Srinagar during summers, SMC says.