The IASOWA Udaan
Chief Secretary, Dr Arun Kumar Mehta last week released the first edition of the IAS Officers’ Wives Association (IASOWA) run magazine Udaan. It was released in a simple function organized by the Association and attended by Principal Secretary Information and PDD, Rohit Kansal besides the members of this body. Dr Mehta applauded the efforts of these women and asked them to make this publication a periodical affair. Praising profusely the layout and design, Dr Mehta maintained that these women had done what their husbands would rival to achieve. Kansa, who spoke on the occasion, asked them to continue all their good work besides creating awareness among the public about various positive things. Amita Mehta heads the IASOWA. While Shveta Kansal edits the magazine, its editorial board includes Anita Choudhary, Anuradha Jangid, Rajni Kumar, Geetanjali Singla and Aashna Gupta. The maiden issue carried write-ups by Shveta Kansal, Geetanjali Singla, Sapna Agarwal and Dr Mehak Khateeb.
The Jammu and Kashmir Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board has provided an assistance of Rs 150 crore to its members. It has more than 3.65 lakh registered workers in whose favour assistance has been granted, besides Rs 1000 per month in favour of 3.65 lakh workers for two months was also provided at the peak of Covid19 Pandemic.
Managing Zoji La
The Zoji La pass would eventually be left to the adventure tourists as a tunnel will pierce through it and end the winter isolation of Ladakh region. Touted to be Asia’s longest bidirectional tunnel, last week minister Nitin Gakari visited the site and advanced the deadline by three years. The 14.15 km tunnel located at an altitude of about 3,000 m will make Ladakh accessible round the year. National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) is implementing the tunnel through IL&FS under EPC (engineering, procurement, construction) mode. It would cost Rs 6808.63 crore. The tunnel would reduce the distance between Srinagar and Kargil by 27 km but would make Ladakh accessible round the year.
The tunnel has multiple segments. The first part involves the development and expansion of the 18.475-km highway between Z-Morh to Zojila. A 3-km stretch will be expanded; the rest will be newly developed. The highway will have 2 twin-tube tunnels, 5 bridges, and 2 snow galleries. The second part is building the 14.15-km Zojila tunnel itself — 9.5 m wide, 7.57 m high, 2 lanes, in the shape of a horseshoe. Besides, a 2,350-m concrete ‘cut and cover’ tunnel will be built, along with 3 ventilation caverns/shafts. Works also include construction of portals, control buildings, ventilation buildings and muck disposables along the route.
The visiting Minister told reporters that Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will get 31 tunnels with a cumulative length of 52 km with an investment of Rs 1.4 lakh crore. While 20 tunnels will be complete with a cumulative length of 32 km in Jammu and Kashmir, another 11 will be built with a total length of 20 km in Ladakh.
Currently, 123 mines, including 40 dedicated blocks, are operational in Jammu and Kashmir and additional 168 mines have been given an extension by the Mining Department to complete requisite formalities. Forest Department has been asked to expedite the process of issuance of environmental clearance in favour of 168 mines by November 2021.
A Poplar Commission
The Jammu and Kashmir government has constituted a Poplar Commission under Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (HoFF) to make suggestions about various aspects of introduction, cultivation, utilization, and regulations of poplars. Though not many details are known, the Commission is a response to a court direction seeking a policy for poplar cultivation. Poplar timber has a turnover of around Rs 650 crore in Kashmir as its timber goes into the making of apple boxes, partial construction material and, more importantly, the plyboard industry.
Last week, Dal Lake in Srinagar witnessed an IAF show themed Give Wings to Your Dreams as a part of the ongoing celebrations of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. Lt Governor Manoj Sinha formally threw it open. Diverse fighter aircraft of the IAF executed manoeuvres for a specially invited crowd in SKICC lawns. The IAF’s Suryakiran aerobatic display team exhibited their formation flying skills while the Chinook helicopter also demonstrated its capability. In his speech, Lt Governor made special mention of two female pilots from Rajouri – Mawya Sudan and Tahira Rehman, who joined IAF.
71 colleges in Jammu having an intake capacity of 27932 seats in 1st semester will now enrol 34,465. In 2020-21, only 27724 students sought admissions in colleges.
A New Fleet
To establish a safe, resilient and efficient transport system in Jammu and Kashmir, Lt Governor Manoj Sinha said the JKRTC’s existing fleet with 226 new buses and 277 trucks will improve transportation in the region. Under a different scheme, a subsidy of Rs 5 lakh was also provided to transporters for replacing buses older than 15 years. An amount of Rs 1.75 crore was given under the scheme to strengthen the transport sector in J&K and make it modern.
The Paradise Fest
To promote tourism in Jammu and Kashmir, Lt Governor, Manoj Sinha administration organized The Paradise Fest as part of the World Tourism Week celebrations at Zabarwan Park. The three-day fest was themed around Aao Kashmir. At the fest, various affiliated groups had set up their stalls including from handicrafts and there were cultural events also.