News Notes

Moving Ahead

chairman-jk-bank-mushtaq-(1)Jammu & Kashmir Bank has won accolades for registering unprecedented growth in its fundamentals. From October 2010 to March 2014, the business of the bank witnessed an increase of over Rs 53,000 crore as it jumped from Rs 62,000 crore on September 2010 to over Rs 1,15,000 crore at the end of March 2014. The net profit of the bank during this period increased from Rs 309 crore (as on September 2010) to Rs 1,182 crore (as on March 2014). This means, the bank added almost Rs. 873 crore to its net profit in 42 months.

Chairman and CEO J&K Bank, Mushtaq Ahmad while commenting upon the achievements said, “Our focus has been to maintain quality of assets besides overall growth. So the results are well within our expectations.”

“While expanding our operations gradually across the country, our commitment towards state economy shall deepen further in agriculture, handicrafts and infra-structure,” he said. “Entrepreneurs shall continue to find finance for viable units without any hassles.”

In spite of the difficult conditions for the state economy, the Bank successfully achieved the set targets. The audited financial results adequately reflect the bank’s better liability management and operational strength for robust and sustainable growth even in difficult business conditions. Functioning as the premiere developmental institution of the state, the bank continues to play its role as a strong partner for all the viable and sustainable projects which are directed towards the overall development of J&K.

Pertinently, the bank during the FY 2013-14 has opened 92 new Business Units besides commissioning 187 ATMs across the country. It was recently among Credit Suisse top five picks in Asia as an interesting investment opportunity. Credit Suisse Group is a leading global financial services company. The group made the selection on the basis of business outlook, financial strength, valuation, market cap and trading liquidity. It’s worthwhile to mention that the bank has adopted a strategy to increase lending in J&K and bridging credit gap in the state with focus on potential and under serviced sectors of economy.

‘Chota Geelani’

Counselling-for-Stone-PeltersA  fourteen year boy from South Kashmir’s Shopian was arrested as police said that he was wanted in 12 cases. His main charge is that of stone pelting. A resident of Khanday Mohalla, Bonebazar, Faisal is famous as ‘Chota Geelani’ in Shopian. He was arrested in Gagren area, at the residence of one of his close relatives. Reports said that Faisal is a student of 9th class at Maktaba Islamia High School Shopian.

Meanwhile police said that 120 youth arrested during recently held Lok Sabha polls, continue to be under detention, while it is on lookout for some more youth allegedly involved in stone-throwing and intimidation of voters. The highest number of youth under detention is in Baramulla and Bandipora areas of north Kashmir at 64. The area-wise break-up of detentions is: Bandipora (37), (Baramulla (27), Sopore (23), Shopian (15), Pulwama (5), Kulgam (2), and Srinagar (11). The police said that no youth is under detention in Kupwara and Handwara areas of north Kashmir.

On last Thursday, police released 14 youth, most of them teenagers in Sopore while six youth evading arrest in Bandipora area surrendered before the cops. It said that youth were released after proper counselling are teenagers.

Police said that at least six ‘stone-pelters’ who were evading arrests surrendered before police in Hajin, Sonawari area of Bandipora district. It further said that hunt to arrest the youth allegedly involved stone-throwing will continue. The police officials said that all such youth have been identified shall have to face the law. He said all those who were taken into preventive custody during recent polls have been released.

Jhelum Threat

River-Jehlum-FloodA s the water level has risen in Jhelum, the Roads and Buildings department has been sitting over strengthening of embankments of river Jhelum at Pantha Chowk and its adjoining areas along the Srinagar-Jammu highway. Near Sempora area of South Kashmir, the embankments have been damaged during the ongoing road widening by the department.

As the road widening is going on, the bund of Jhelum have been cut giving rise to flood threat. Executive Engineer I&F C Division Srinagar, Er Afroz Ahmad Mir has wrote in a letter to the Superintending Engineer, Roads and Buildings Circle Srinagar/Budgam in February this year that the leftover portion has become so weak that it can easily be hit by flood water and the whole adjacent area may get submerged as a result of which there will be a huge devastation of life and property, besides causing panic amongst the people.

Reports said that the R & B has failed to take measures for strengthening the embankments. A vast stretch of road overlooking river Jhelum along Pantha Chowk has caved in and developed cracks. Locals of the area said that the vandalization of the embankment by R&B department has risked their lives and property. The embankment has become so weak that it can’t withstand rains. According to geologists, hair cracks have developed in the entire embankment from Sonwar to Pantha Chowk. “Water percolating in such joints will lead to large fissures and subsequently erosion. A slight flood hitting the embankment will cause large scale catastrophe in major part of Srinagar,” a geologist said.

‘Dis’ Interested Farooq

Farooq-Abdullah-Cricket-AssociationFarooq Abdullah, who first said that he would not be playing president’s role of the infamous Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) anymore after his term completed, later was not only elected  unopposed but also restored former General Secretary Saleem Khan as Chief Administrative Officer. He also ‘revealed’ on the occasion that the scam money is being ‘retrieved’.

Farooq, who for the first time lost his Lok Sabha political battle to PDP’s Tariq Hamid Qarra, shall continue be the president of JKCA for another three years though life time members of JKCA were ‘barred’ from participating in the elections.

Police are investigating a multi crore scam which made JKCA ‘big wigs’ resign in 2012. Even Farooq himself was indicted by police and the investigation is on. Ahsan Mirza who was considered to be his right hand had to resign but Farooq after chairing working committee said that Ahsan has ‘started’ process of returning money. Rs two crore have been recovered, as the meeting concluded, Farooq said. He asserted that the money which is still missing and the persons involved in the scam will be public only after police investigation ends. JKCA internal probe shall also be initiated.

But as Farooq was being elected, some incumbent members of the association alleged committee of committing fraud and manipulation. Elections were not ‘fair’ but ‘fraudulent’, they said. “During last elections in 2011, I was elected as the Vice Chairman and after three years when elections were due on Monday 2014, I was not allowed to participate in it. I am telling you with authority that there were dozens of fake members present in the meeting who participated in the elections,” Shambu Nath Sharma who heads Shastri Cricket Club Jammu and was the vice chairman of the JKCA said. 46 members of the association, having a total strength of 64, participated in the meeting while 16 ‘disgruntled’ members staged a walkout.

Another life time member who heads Muslim Cricket Club Sopore, Javid Ahmed Kitab, despite being the present Vice-Chairman of the Association, was also not allowed to participate in the Working Committee meeting on Monday. “Farooq barred those members from participating in the elections who frequently raised questions about the cricket scam. He did it all to hush up the scam and save the guilty,” Kitab said.

After being insisted by all the members present in the meeting unanimously to stay on as President, Dr Farooq Abdullah agreed and was re-elected unopposed. ML Nehru, a well known cricket administrator having held various JKCA posts previously, was elected as General Secretary. Arminder Singh Micky, who was also part of the JKCA committee probing the multi-crore scam was elected as Chairman.

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