News Notes

Calling HOME

UKRAINE-CRISIS_YANUKOVICH_001Worried over the escalating violence in Ukraine between separatists and government forces, about 25 residents of Jammu and Kashmir were among 1000 persons evacuated by India from violence-hit Ukrainian city of Lugansk to Kyiv on Wednesday. Most of the Jammu and Kashmir residents are said to be youth pursuing studies in various professional universities.

Last week, Indian government had issued an advisory asking its nationals to leave Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine which is witnessing frequent violent clashes between pro-Russian separatists and government forces.

According to media reports the first batch of 500 Indians, mostly students who are studying in various Ukrainian universities, were leaving as India made arrangements to evacuate close to 1000 of its nationals from the city.

In a letter to the Rector of Lugansk State Medical University, Indian Ambassador in Kyiv, Rajiv K Chander said, “The University authorities may please inform the local administration about the en-masse departure of the Indian students so that adequate security arrangements are made to enable them to reach the railway station safely.”

Ensuring the complete safety and security of students, the Ambassador, Chander had requested the university authorities to ensure that the students board the train and leave Lugansk, which is some 800 kilometres from the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv.

Providing the figures of 1,000 civilians from India, the officials said that 350 are from Kerala, 300 from Tamil Nadu, 150 from Andhra Pradesh, 60 from Punjab, 25 each from Jammu and Kashmir and Maharashtra.

On Tuesday, after proper arrangements were made in cooperation with the Ukrainian government, Indian authorities had arranged 500 train tickets to evacuate its citizens, a Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry said in New Delhi.

Previously, India had evacuated thousands of its nationals in 2011 from Libya, after civil war broke out between forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gadaffi and rebel groups fighting to outset Gadaffi’s rule.

Sexual ASSUALT

Shabir-director-healthNothing seems to be correct with the state’s health department. Director health Saleem Ur Rehman is in news for all the wrong reasons after a nurse, who is also wife of a doctor in the same department, alleged that accused sexually harassed her.

Incumbent state health minister, Taj Mohi Ud Din said that he will order a probe in the incident.

Police while divulging details about the incident said that a staff nurse posted in Islamabad district complained to them about the alleged harassment. It said that an FIR has been lodged against the director and two more officers posted in Islamabad district itself.

Shaheed Gunj Police station is looking after the case, so far. It is expected that the police shall approach court in this regard on Saturday morning so as to formally arrest the accused director.

Pertinently, in February this year, the then MoS Shabir Ahmad Khan had to resign following massive public outcry after a senior female doctor alleged that the accused had attempted to sexually assault her in the winter secretariat.

The complaint against the minister says that the minister had “acted like a sexual predator and made sickening verbal, physical advances” towards the lady doctor. The case under Section 354 (assault or criminal force on a woman with the intention to outrage her modesty) and Section 509 (word, gesture or act intended to outrage the modesty of a woman) of the RPC was lodged against the minister at Police Station Shaheed Gunj Srinagar.

Interestingly, the minister had tried to obtain bail from any court in Jammu in order to save himself from getting arrested but Chief Justice of the J&K High Court, Justice MM Kumar rejected an application moved him seeking such permission.

Highlighting Pain

Ehsaas-NGOOn the eve of world environmental day, a seminar on ‘art as a means of expression’ was organized on the waters of Dal Lake on a specially decorated boat. The seminar was organized by Ehsaas – a civil service group society with a motto to highlight issue of “women exploitation” by means of art.

Seminar was attended by various female students including aspiring writers, painters and artists. Students highlighted the exploitation and sufferings of women by means of words, verses, paintings and skits.

The renowned poets and writers like Nusrat Andrabi, Naseem Shifai, Abdul Gani Madhosh, Zarif Ahmad Zarif and senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari were also present on the occasion.

The highpoint of the event was a skit directed by Farah Deeba and presented by four girl students from Government Higher Secondary School Nadihal, highlighting the issues like early marriages and its consequences. Romana and Ufaq, students of Central University of Kashmir showcased the sufferings of women through their paintings.

While Saima Rashid and Munazah Shah, active members of Peace Gong – a non government organization, talked about Kashmir and its cultural heritage in light of women safety.

A photo documentary by Shuaib Masoodi depicting events of 2008 and 2010 touched emotional cords of the audience.

“This is the real face of Kashmir, all we can do is to learn living with it,” said Shujaat Bukhari.

Incoming MONEY

Finance-Commission The 14th Finance Commission led by Chairman Dr YV Reddy, along-with the Members are in the valley meeting different stake holders so as to finalise the union economic package for the state.

Soon after the arrival of the finance commission it deliberated upon many vital issues with many key players in the region.

On Friday, state Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah while chairing a joint meeting of state officers and Finance Commission while citing Rangarajan Committee recommendations reiterated the demand for transferring back the central hydroelectric projects to the state.

He asked for the transfer of Salal and Dulhasti Power Projects to J&K free of cost making an appropriate provision for compensation to be paid by the Central Government to NHPC.

The Chief Minister in his speech while welcoming the Chairman and the Members of the 14th Finance Commission expressed the hope that the Memorandum submitted by the State Government to the Commission will fully depict the financial difficulties of the State and the Finance Commission will be able to take a liberal and pragmatic view in this regard. He also thanked the 13th finance commission for the plan they had set for the state.

The Chief Minister made the mention of the State Government’s initiatives to harness vast hydel power potential to upgrade State’s financial position.

Pertinent to mention, the plan given by the union finance commissions remains part of the total budget that is spent on the developmental projects in the state.

A day before the commission met CM, it also received over all information about the development projects in state,

“Urban areas are the engines of economic growth contributing substantially to state GDP as secondary and tertiary sectors are almost entirely located in the Urban areas. However, due to rapid urbanization and unprecedented migration, the urban areas possess limited civic amenities,” said Commissioner / Secretary Rural Development Department.

While giving out the thrust areas to be taken care of, the commissioner said that development of public utilities including public conveniences, parks, community halls, parking spaces, bus stands, lane and by-lanes besides sewerage, drainage, water supply, urban transport, solid waste management, urban poverty alleviation and conservation of water bodies shall be prioritized.

 “The representatives of Trade and Industry highlighted the measures to be initiated for the development of Trade and Industrial sector in the State. The Industry pointed out the peculiar topography, climatic conditions, development deficit in terms of road connectivity, power supply, lack of adequate industrial infrastructure etc for consideration of the commission,” an official statement added.

In his address chairman 14th Finance Commission said, “Jammu and Kashmir comprises 3 diverse regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh with unique economies which needs to taken into account while allocating funds to the State. Considering the disabilities and requirements of the state, specific packages/projects will be considered and assured that the suggestions made shall be taken into account.”

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