POWERING THE POWER SECTOR
As the winter wreaked havoc, the power scenario in the valley was comparatively better, this time. Continuing the efforts to put in place better infrastructure and improved services in the sector, the measures are being taken and monitored at the top level. Taking review and seeking response from the field experts, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha chaired two meetings in a week. Directing concerned officers to work for making things “best,” LG Sinha asked them to work on war footing to identify critical issues, their probable causes and likely mitigations in order to further improve the scenario of the power supply system in J&K. Giving nod to undertake projects being undertaken under various schemes, the meeting was told that J&K government has started strengthening the 33/11 KV substations for better power supply to various under-serviced areas. The experts in the team have prepared a detailed report. They have deliberated upon the short-term solutions for transformer and link strengthening, augmentation of transmission and distribution system. There is also a roadmap for future course of action, besides the identification of issues like pilferage, overloading, ageing of transformers and their impact on power supply. Besides, the experts with JKPDD and JKPDC have held a series of meetings where immediate and short-term plans to strengthen the infrastructure and ensure improved power supply status in the Union Territory of J&K have been discussed along with identification and aligning on critical supply gaps. Also, many extensive exploratory meetings and surveys have been conducted with the local teams on transmission sites and distribution issues. The experts have Chairperson, Board of Directors, IIT Bhubaneswar and former Chairman and MD PGCIL Dr Rajendra Prasad Singh led the team of experts from the power sector. The meetings were also attended by Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam, Principal Secretary Power Development Department and Information Department Rohit Kansal and Principal Secretary to Lieutenant Governor Nitishwar Kumar.
CELEBRATING THREE-TIER PANCHAYATI RAJ
Terming the Three-Tier Panchayati Raj system as the engine of development, the Jammu and Kashmir government celebrated the recently conducted District Development Council elections during the National Voters Day last week. The event held in Jammu under the chairmanship of Lieutenant-Governor Manoj Sinha witnessed congratulatory messages for the people of J&K in general and the First-Time Voters, J&K Election Commission, Security Forces, all on-duty officers/officials in particular. In his speech, LG Sinha said with establishment of 3-tiers of democratic setup for the first time in the UT, the pace of development has been accelerated, thus paving way for progressive future of J&K. While speaking on the occasion, LG Sinha said with elected representatives complementing the government’s efforts, schemes and projects, J&K will achieve new heights of development. Underscoring the importance of educating voters, it was revealed that Electronic Electors Photo Identity Card (e-EPIC), a new system made using Digital Voters Card Technology, will soon be used in the future elections providing complete information about the voter and the area where the election is scheduled.
After receiving the first shipment of 1.46 lakh Covishield doses, Jammu and Kashmir administration has inoculated over 15000 workers last week in 100 odd sessions with the target set at inoculating 112893 health care workers. As per the data available, more than 4000 health workers were vaccinated in a single day in the UT with the pace of inoculating to be increased manifold in the coming days. The Financial Commissioner Health and Medical Education Atal Dullo chaired the meeting in which the blueprint to double the inoculations every week was discussed. The strategy to tap the untapped areas where people are waiting to receive the vaccine was also discussed. Besides, the government is also likely to start an awareness campaign among the people and dispel any notions regarding the efficiency of this vaccine.
CONNECTING PEOPLE AND PLACES COMFORTABLY
Ending a long wait, the 8.4 Kms Navayuga tunnel would be thrown open for public use in March this year. Once opened, the tunnel will connect south Kashmir’s Qazigund with Chenab valley’s Banihal. This was announced by the Chief Secretary, B V R Subrahmanyam while taking stock of the work in progress on various sections of the National Highway-44. Executed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI, the work on the three sections of the National Highway-44, Udhampur-Ramban, Ramban-Banihal, and Banihal- Qazigund including double tube Navayuga tunnel are in full swing. As revealed in the meeting, the Udhampur-Ramban section has witnessed 70 per cent work with the remaining slated to be completed by September 2021. Similarly, the work on the Ramban-Banihal section of NH-44, which had the majority of the issues regarding land acquisition and utility shifting have been resolved and the work is progressing smoothly. Once completed, besides providing secure connectivity, the project will also reduce the travel time between Jammu and Srinagar.
HIMAYAT FOR SKILLED YOUTH
In an effort to generate employment for youth trained under the central schemes, the Himayat Mission Management Unit (HMMU) has signed three Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with Multi-National Companies like Sodexo India Services Pvt Ltd, ISS Facility Services India Pvt Ltd and ISS SDB Security Services Pvt Ltd. All the three companies have a name in the market and offer bouquets of services. Pertinently, nearly 18000 candidates have been trained under the Himayat scheme while about 7600 have been provided employment in the Corporate sector in various companies. The MOUs were signed by Secretary Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Department Sheetal Nanda in Jammu.
Organised to celebrate 72nd Republic Day, Jashn-e-Jamhuria event concluded with a Hindi Kavi Sammelan at Zorawar Singh Auditorium at the University of Jammu. Acclaimed poets from across the country including Pratap Somvanshi, Sudeep Bhola, Sunil Jogi, Vishnu Saxena, Hari Narayan Harish, Jagdish Solanki, Bhuvan Mohini, and Irshad Kamil enthralled the audience with their poetry recitation. Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and his Principal Secretary Nitishwar Kumar also recited their pieces of poetry. Prominent poets from J&K including Sanjiv Bhasin, Satish Vimal, Prof. Chanchal Dogra, Nida Nawaz, Dr Nirmal Vinod, Kanwar Shakti Singh also participated. Besides young talent of J&K- Rohit Verma, Kanchan, Madima, Zahid Mir and Sushant received praises from the audience as well as from the guest poets for their riveting poetry recitation.
ANNUAL AMARNATH YATRA
This year, the annual Amarnath Yatra is expected to have a footfall of around six lakh people. Headed by the Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam, a High-Level Committee (HLC) of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) reviewed preparations for the hassle-free Yatra. The government has undertaken track-up-gradation works on Baltal & Chandanwari routes, improvements at the access control gates, establishment of temporary camps, shelter sheds, health/medical camps and Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs) at various locations. Besides, as per the suggestions of NDMA, the provisions of drinking water supply, lighting, LPG, ration, medicine, mobile connectivity and Joint Control Rooms have been established. Also, the tracks are being widened along with the installation of railings, and construction of retaining walls with special focus on laying down prefabricated cement tiles on tracks from Baltal.
ACHIEVING INCLUSIVE GROWTH THROUGH INDUSTRIALISATION
In a significant move, the J&K government has approved the adoption of an Industrial Land Allotment policy 2021-30 which will create structured industrial land banks. The decision in this regard was taken by the Administrative Council (AC), headed by Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha. Under the policy, land will be leased to investors within 30-45 days for a period of 40 years, which can be extended to up to 99 years. However, the allotted land will be liable to be cancelled in case of failure of the investor to take effective steps within the stipulated time of 2 years, failure of the industrial unit to come into production within 3 years, violation of provisions under the lease deed, and non-cooperation of an enterprise for a period of 5 years. Stated to address various land related issues impending industrial development in J&K, the government has already transferred 24,000 kanals to the Industries and Commerce department for setting up industrial estates. The Jammu and Kashmir Industrial Land Allotment Policy, 2021-30 will also cover land allotment for health and educational institutions.