News Notes

Republic CRAVINGS

jammu-kashmir-flagOn Tuesday Abdul Qayoom Khan former chief conservator of forests Kashmir filed a petition before the High Court. Khan in his petition sought directions to constitutional authorities to use the state Flag in all their official cars, offices and office buildings.

The petition also sought directions to constitutional authorities to celebrate Republic Day of the State of Jammu and Kashmir when it adopted the Constitution of the State with dignity and honour demonstrating the sanctity of the State flag.

Referring to the Supreme Court observation with regard to National Flag used by the Union of India and similar views equally hold true for the flag of the State. “What Indian Flag means to the people of India, the State Flag means the same thing to the people of the State.”

The petition soon started a spree of mixed reactions. While the Congress and its coalition partner National Conference rejected the idea of celebrating Jammu and Kashmir’s Republic Day, the Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said it will watch the proceedings with keen interest.

“The petition is interesting and it has added a new dimension to the discussions on Kashmir,” said Naeem Akhter, PDP MLC and chief spokesperson. “The debate is rooted in the urge for the identity within the union and it represents the public sentiment.”

On the other Dr Mehbooba Beigh, the National Conference MP said celebration of Jammu and Kashmir Republic Day will lead to confrontation with the Union of India.

“If the state flag is separately hoisted and if the state celebrates its own republic day, it would lead to ‘secession,” he said.  “However, our state is unique wherein in we have constitution within the constitution and we have to preserve the unique identity of the state.”

Congress MLC, and senior vice president Advocate Ghulam Nabi Monga observed that the petition has been filed with a motive to create confusion among the people. “We have acceded with the Union of India and we are a part and parcel of that Union. How can we celebrate a separate Republic Day? It is just to create confusion among people,” advocate Monga said.

Positional GRAB

In the case of misusing administrative position, an influential bureaucrat has allegedly grabbed land belonging to three migrant Pandit families at Peerbagh Hyderpora by fictitiously mutating the facts and records. However, the bureaucrat in question denies the allegations.

The documents revealed that the Settlement Officer Kashmir under No. 236/4th/SOK-Adm/1/4077 dated 15/07/2011 has found that the grabbers have failed to file the name of owner from whom they has purchased the land.

On the basis of reports submitted before Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, the fictitious mutation was cancelled by the authorities and land was re-mutated in favour of real owners of land and the then DC Budgam directed the possession of land with the concerned Tehsildar.

Despite failing to produce any proof regarding the ownership of land, the family continues soil filling on the same plot. “When we approached the concerned officials for illegal soil filling on the plot, they replied that Aksi Latha was not available to demarcate the same plot of land,” said applicant, Surinder Nath Bhat.

Bhat also said they made a complaint at CM’s grievance cell under complaint numbers 15203 and 32142 dated 23/05/2012, but to my dismay it replied that no Aksi Latha was not available to demarcate the land in the area.

However, last week Divisional Commissioner Kashmir ordered DC Srinagar for proceeding on spot on 7/12.2013 at 3 pm for taking over the said migrant land under migrant act 1997 for handing over the land to its rightful owner.

The bureaucrat denied the allegations and said that the migrants in question are unnecessarily defaming her. “The said piece of land was never property of a migrant neither was a part of any Custodian land,” she said.

“It is not any Migrant land as three enquiry reports have already shown that the land was never in their possession. They just want to defame me. They want to grab the land and they have never owned any land there, added that if the Land belongs to them then they must prove it first rather then blaming me without any proof.”

Grim REPORT

Power-House-LadakhAt a time when state is reeling under financial crunch, the report submitted by Committee on Environment of J&K Legislative Council, headed by its Chairman, Dr Syed Bashir Ahmad Veeri surprised many.

The committee visited 600 MW Ranjit Sagar Dam Project, commissioned in 2000, and took stock of the environmental issues aroused following the implementation of the project. The situation according to the report is grim.

Expressing concern, the committee recommended that Government  should  taken up the matter with Punjab Government for proper implementation of agreements reached between two Governments in 1973 and 1979, compensation for damage and the losses suffered by State Government besides water and electricity share due for the State as per the agreement.

Giving details, Dr Veeri said that Punjab Government has not fulfilled the commitments envisaged in the agreements resulting the State of Jammu and Kashmir has to suffer heavy losses on this account.

Expressing concern over the damaged caused to environment, he said approximately 12 lakh trees, including 3 lakh forest trees, have been cut in the area but the subsequent afforestation has not been executed at the scale it should have been done, he added. “Our wildlife, biodiversity and environment has suffered a lot,” said Dr Veeri.

The Chairman said that 85 per cent of States’ resources have been utilized in the project but the share due for our State is not extended in accordance with the commitments and the agreements signed to this effect. He said 8579 persons of 1802 families dwelling in 22 villages of Kathua district have been affected by the project. He said only 700 persons have been absorbed in the project against 1100 agreed by Punjab Government.

Regarding power share due for the State, the Committee astonished to know that not a single unit of electricity, out of 600 MW, has been made available to the State despite 20 per cent of generation capacity of the project.

Dr Veeri said that the losses suffered by the State due to breach of agreement by Punjab Government, has been tentatively calculated to the tune of  over Rs. 17000 crore since the commissioning of the project and demanded for evolving a mechanism for its recovery from Punjab Government.

Saffron SHAM

SaffronThe much hyped implementation of ‘National Mission on Saffron’ (NSM) project funded by central government with an aim to improve the productivity of saffron cultivation is proved a damp squib. According to the farmers, the Mission started by the Agriculture Department with great fanfare, is marred by scandals and frauds.

Scores of farmers told a local news gathering agency that the project is a damp squib to achieve the desired results and returns.

Reliable sources said that the Vigilance Organization Kashmir is currently verifying and probing various allegations with regard to NSM in respect of district Pulwama vide FIR number 26/2013 and a thorough enquiry is expected to be conducted by the concerned investigating agency to reach the bottom to unearth the bungling and to save the public exchequer from loot and plunder.

According to reports saffron community have incurred huge losses while the present status of 49.00 hectors of Seed Multiplication Farm, located at  Allowpora in district Shopian presents grim situation which smacks of malfunctioning.

According to farmers, the Farm Manager under whose supervision saffron corms meant for distribution to the farming community were sown in Allowpora Shopian has attributed the shortfall in seed production and multiplication to insufficient inputs, non commissioning of sprinkle irrigation system, inhospitable weather conditions and texture of soil.

The argument and claims have been negated by an official in his SOS vide MAF/2013-14/388-92 dated 26/07/2013 addressed to the Joint Director (inputs) mentioning that 19 hectares farm covered in 2010 and 2011 for development and multiplication of Saffron Corm production were comprised of barren land and everything was done without proper planning raising eyebrows.

The farmers have alleged that officials who were entrusted with this work and who supervised the task swindled huge chunk of money and thus looted the public wealth without getting trapped.

Pertinently, for the revival of saffron production in Jammu and Kashmir, the Central government had approved a plan of Rs 371.18 crore under National Saffron Mission Programme for four years which includes Rs 286.06 crore as government of India’s share and Rs 85.12 crore as farmers share. The main objective of the scheme was to extend support for creation of irrigation facilities through tube wells and sprinklers which would help better crop in the area.

Agriculture Minister, Ghulam Hassan Mir said that last year due to lack of proper planning, saffron production decreased considerably. He however said that this year the production was good as the department adopted all the measures to boost up the production.

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