For the past nine years, Qurat-ul-Ain is releasing a compiled collection of her brother, Shamim Ahmed Shamim’s work. Shamim was a noted Urdu journalist, writer and parliamentarian.
As has been the case for the past nine years, this year too, the latest edition of ‘Aina Numa’ was released among prominent personalities of the state by S.R. Kidwai, acting president of Anjuman i Tarraqi Urdu.
This edition has around 35 articles on various social and political issues which were earlier published in ‘Aina’, the Urdu newspaper run by Shamim. The articles, like in the previous edition are selected and produced by Shamim’s younger sister Qurat in association with Mohammed Shafi Khan.
While addressing the gathering, Qurat said Shamim always deserved the love and respect from people and every year, she gave them a chance to be together and remember him.The event was held in College of education.
She started the mission of keeping her brother alive through his work around a decade back, and since then has managed to print out nine editions of Shamim’s articles successfully. Shamim died in the 1990’s of cancer. He was in his 40s then.
The audience of distinguished members unanimously agreed that even after such a long time, Shamim’s writings hold the same relevance in today’s time. His readers appreciate him for his foresightedness. In one of his articles, Shamim has commented on the future of Indian Muslims with respect to their existence within the structure. He has also predicted the shaping up of the internal situation of Pakistan.
In the gathering Shamim was admired and remembered fondly for his professional skills of being a fearless journalist and a delightful writer who criticized with dignity.
Micky Mahodie RETIRES
Amrinder Singh Micky who was at the forefront of a crisis over the choice of Secretary Legislative Council has completed his four and a half year term. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has already presided over a farewell function and now the race in Congress is at its peak about the person who will replaced him as chairman of the LC.
Micky’s jaunt in politics is just an accident. His brother, who has passed away, was a Congressman and a personal friend of Ghulam Nabi Azad. So Azad decided to get him in politics and gave him a seat in LC that eventually paved the way for him becoming the chairman of the legislative council. Micky basically is a transporter. He owns more than 250 vehicles, a number of B.Ed Colleges and a chain of petrol pumps besides massive land estates from Srinagar to Delhi. A resident of Jammu, Micky has two daughters who study in UK.
Officials who have worked with him suggest Micky was cool and could run the house smoothly despite presiding over a house that had better read members and political veterans.
Newspaper reports that Micky had claimed over Rs 48 lakh as TA/DA as he burnt 14000 litres of fuel during his tenure besides taking Rs 399000 as discretionary grants. At the end of his stint, Micky announced ‘gifting’ one ambulance to 17 hospitals in Jammu region from his Constituency Development Fund. This is in addition to Rs 66 lakh that he spent from his CDF on life saving drugs, equipments, dialysis machines, ventilation for Jammu hospitals, so far. Officials said most of his CDF money was unutilized so he decided to spend it in one go through transparent means. This is first such major expenditure that any lawmaker lacking specific constituency will be making.
Post-Micky, race for his replacement is on at high-pitch. After initial hiccups and a controversy involving the twin Congress camps led by Prof Saif ud Din Soz and Ghulam Nabi Azad, the high command has finally approved the nomination of Amrit Malhotra. It is Malhotra’s second inning as MLC, this time as chairman.
NHPC In The DOCK
A cabinet subcommittee tasked to unravel the mystery regarding the state government’s relationship with India’s hydropower major, the NHPC is suggesting the cabinet to start takeover process for 480-MW Uri project as per the conditions laid down in the agreement.
Project’s depreciated value is Rs 2100 crores. The loud-thinking followed NHPC’s failure in offering required documents that could enable it to get licences for its operations under J&K Water Resources Act-2010. The hydropower major, in fact, said it lacks any documents about its flagship 690-Salal Power Project and there is no agreement on record about the Dul Hasti project.
The NHPC, however, is paying the water usage charges under law. This amount is being deposited in a separate account as per the directions of the court. The money will be released once the petition is disposed off.
State Water Resources Regulatory Authority (SWRRA) that is empowered to charge the users has set a November 12 as deadline for the NHPC to complete the formalities for continuing operation under the law. If they fail to prove the ownership of the projects they are operating in the state, J&K government has every right to take over these projects.
State’s energy deficiency has been at the centre of the public discourse but now it is getting diverted towards the NHPC that lacks even the basic documents that could establish rights over the land its projects occupy.
This is being increasingly termed as total illegal and a deliberate effort to neutralize state’s stiff land owning laws in case of non-locals individuals and institutions. Under the law, state can offer land to the central government owned institutions on the request, if made by the president. This takes place after state’s land transfer act is temporarily amended.
NHPC is currently operating four power stations – Salal, Uri (I), Dul Hasti and Sewa (2), with cumulative installed capacity of 1680 MWs. NHPC had sales turnover of Rs 4046.59 crores last fiscal as it sold 18604 million units of energy it generated. Its four operational projects in J&K contributed 8842 million units making 47 percent of the total NHPC generation in the financial year. J&K gets 12 percent of the generations as royalty.
Of the four projects under construction, the 240-MW Uri (2) and 44-MW Chutak in Kargil are almost ready. NHPC sources said they have completed initial reservoir filling at Uri (2) in August besides that of Chutak as well. Interestingly while the NHPC is about to start generations at Uri (2), it still lacks an agreement with the state government. Corporation MD flew to Srinagar in June to request the state government that the agreement be signed now.
This Shangri La has survived dark during nights for all these decades. But now, the situation seems to be changing for the better. While NHPCs twin projects at Chutak and Nimu-Bazgo will start generating more than 80-MWs of energy within two years, the state-owned Power Development Corporation seem to have grand plans. In fact, the proposed power projects kept Chief Minister Omar Abdullah busy in arid Leh last week. He laid foundations of many hydroelectric projects including 6-MW Rs 43.61 crore project at Dah, Rs 41.67 crore 5-MW project at Hanu, besides the 2 stages of Drass-Suru project at Dandal (Kargil). While 35-MW stage-I involves Rs 424 crores investment, it would cost Rs 720 crores to generate 60 MWs.
Tension in BHADERWAH
An ‘obnoxious’ comment made by a history lecturer, Saroj Saini, in her class disturbed the peace in the town of Bhaderwah. Saini passed a comment on the religious policies of Feroz Shah Tuglaq, which irked students of the majority community, and they started shouting against the teacher. In turn, students of another community retaliated in support of their teacher and her comments. Clashes broke out. The conditions worsened so much that police had to intervene. They even fired some rounds in the air to disperse the crowd.
After the clashes took place in the Bhaderwah Government Degree College, both the communities observed bandh in the region. Educational institutions and offices were immediately closed. No business activities took place in the region. Streets were deserted but crowds were seen in Jamia Masjid and the Laxmi Narayan temple in the town.
Three students were injured in the clashes; two of them, Kailash Bharti son of Om Raj and Suresh Kumar son of Girdhari Lal were admitted in the Government Medical College Jammu and the third one, Shahid was shifted to Srinagar.
Farooq Ahmed Khan, the Deputy Commissioner of Doda has ordered a magisterial probe into the incident, as they suspect that the issue was blown out of proportion by some outsiders.
The suspensions about outsiders grew because word about the ‘comment’ spread like wildfire and as soon as it was out, leaders of both the communities rushed into the institution, which made the conditions worse.
To keep the situation under control and avoid any further violent incidents, police were deployed in huge numbers in and around the town, but Section 144 was not implemented in the area.
But Where Is The LAW
Last week, it created front page news that chief minister and home minister have discussed possibilities of withdrawing the Disturbed Areas Act and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from J&K. Declaration of an area as ‘disturbed’ is fundamental for the operation of AFSPA.
Interestingly, DAA lapsed in 1998 and was never enacted again. Initially it was promulgated in 1990 and after the NC took over in 1996, it was enacted and extended after a year later.
Later in 2001 when the government had to declare Jammu region as disturbed it invoked Section 3 of AFSPA, which empowers the Governor or the Centre to declare an area disturbed, a route that governor Jagmohan had taken in 1990. De-notifying disturbed areas falls in the domain of both state and the central government and the route they can take is AFSPA itself. So what are they doing?