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Jammu & Kashmir

16 trapped in landslide in J&K as authorities issue flood alert in state

At least 16 persons were believed trapped after a landslide buried several houses in the Chadoora area of Budgam district of Jammu & Kashmir on Monday even as the authorities issued a flood alert after incessant rains in the state since Saturday.

 
Water level in Jhelum rises in Kashmir, rescue efforts underway
At least 16 persons were believed trapped after a landslide buried several houses in the Chadoora area of Budgam district of Jammu & Kashmir today even as the authorities issued a flood alert after incessant rains in the state since Saturday.
 
The police and the army, along with the people of the area, have launched a major effort to rescue those feared trapped under the tons of mud in Laiden village of Chadoora area, official sources said.
 
The continuous rains of the past few days have raised fears of a repeat of the devastating floods that hit the state in September last year -- the worst in six decades.
 
But officials said the rain gods had relented a bit today and they were hopeful of an improvement in the situation.
 
However, the Jhelum was flowing close to the danger level in many areas and the authorities have alerted those living on its banks to be vigilant and be prepared to move to safer areas if necessary.
 
Schools have been closed for the next two days as a precautionary measure, they said.
 
In New Delhi, the Ministry of Home Affairs said it was in touch with the state government and closely monitoring the situation of increasing water levels in the Jhelum. No breach of embankment has been reported, it said.
 
'However, as a precautionary measure, to assist the state government authorities, two teams of NDRF have been deputed and another four teams kept stand-by. 
 
"The state government has been asked to indicate the assistance required by them," an official press release added.
 
Officials said they had learnt from last year's disaster and are taking several precautionary steps to prevent a repeat of that kind of tragedy. Boats, sandbags and other facilities are being made available in all the vulnerable areas.
 
In particular, a close watch is being kept on the embankments of the river, which had suffered breaches at many places last year and which were not plugged fully yet.
 
"There is no reason for panic, but we have asked the people to be alert," the officials said.
 
Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed went around some parts of Srinagar to take stock of the situation.
 
Meanwhile, with the meteorological department forecasting more rains over the next few days, the civil administration has reached out to the Arm for rescue and relief efforts in Srinagar and Pulwama districts.
 
The Army is keeping a close watch on the situation and 20 columns with rescue boats and other equipment have been kept on alert.
 
An official spokesperson said the Army was assisting the civil administration in flood control measures in Baramulla since yesterday and a relief operation is under progress in South Kashmir to rescue people trapped in collapsed houses. 
 
Army engineers are also undertaking strengthening of identified weak spots on the bunds of Jhelum river near Sonwar in Srinagar. 
 
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh discussed the situation in the state with Mr Sayeed and assured him of full Central assistance to tackle any eventuality.
 
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A meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) was held here today under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary, Ajit Seth to take stock of the situation and to review the arrangements made or required to be made to deal with it.
 
The meeting was attended by the Secretaries and other senior officers of the relevant departments of the Government of India. The Chief Secretary of Jammu & Kashmir and other officers of the State Government participated through video conferencing. 
 
The Chief Secretary gave an account of the ground situation indicating that the Jhelum is flowing above the danger mark at certain places and as a result, flood alert has been issued by the State Government.
 
He said the State Government was geared up to deal with the situation and all steps had been taken to safeguard life and property from the flood waters. They have adequate sand bags and river bank reinforcement material. As a precautionary measure adequate quantities of rice, potable water and medical supplies are being stocked at various locations. There is no shortage of various types of fuel as there is a minimum stock level of all varieties of fuel for 10 days. 
 
The National Highway 1-A between Jammu and Srinagar, which is blocked due to landslides, is likely to be cleared for vehicular traffic later today.
 
Mr Seth reviewed the preparatory arrangements made to handle the flood situation and issued necessary directions to all departments of the Government of India to provide all possible assistance to tide over the crisis. 
 
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Centre not consulted, informed: Modi tells Lok Sabha on Masarat Alam's release

Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the Lok Sabha on Monday that the Centre was not consulted or informed by the Jammu & Kashmir government on its decision to release separatist Masarat Alam and made it clear that he shared the anger of the house on the issue.

 
Modi says Centre not consulted on Masarat Alam release
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today told the Lok Sabha that the Centre was not consulted or informed by the Jammu & Kashmir government on its decision to release separatist Masarat Alam and made it clear that he shared the anger of the house on the issue.
 
"There is outrage in the house and outside and I would like to add my voice to that," he said after the Congress and other Opposition parties raised the issue, demanding a statement from the Prime Minister clarifying the Government's position on Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed's decision.
 
Mr Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is a partner of Mr Sayeed's People's Democratic Party (PDP) in the J&K government.
 
"This country, on the issue of separatism, terrorism, does not think in partisan terms and will not do even now," he said, noting that the house had expressed its outrage in one voice today.
 
"I wish to assure the house, the people of the country that whatever steps, decisions have been taken in Jammu & Kashmir, were not taken in consultation with Government of India  and they were done without informing the Government of India," he said.
 
He urged members not to politicise the issue, though he acknowledged that they had the right to criticise the BJP as a partner in the J&K government.
 
"But let us not speak in different voices on issues related to national security, let us not give that message to the world or to Jammu and Kashmir or to the rest of the country.
 
"That is why I would like to assure the house and the entire country that this government will not accept any such steps. We do not approve of any compromise with the unity and integrity of the country," he said.
 
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"Decisions can be taken only within the limits of the Constitution, now and in the future also," he said.
 
Mr Modi said it was wrong to suggest that he was staying silent on the issue because he had spoken about such issues only a few days ago in the house.
 
"We are those people, who for these principles, had sacrificed the life of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee. Therefore, kindly do not give us lessons in patriotism," he told the Opposition.
 
Mr Modi said the Centre had sought some clarifications from the state government on the decision and would provide more information to the house as and when they are received.
 
"This is not the anger of any one party, but of the entire country...not of those benches or these benches, it is of the entire house," he said.
 
"And in one voice, we want to convey to separatist forces, their supporters and those who misuse the law, our outrage. This house is committed to the unity and integrity of the country and the government will take all the steps needed in this regard," he added.
 
The Congress was not fully satisfied with Mr Modi's statement, suggesting that, if he felt so strongly about it, the BJP should withdraw its support to the PDP.
 
Earlier, Mr Rajnath Singh said the Home Ministry had sought a report from the J&K government on the release of Alam and some clarifications.
 
He said that, after receiving the clarifications, the Centre would take appropriate steps in the matter.
 
Alam, 44, had been arrested by the previous Omar Abdullah-led government in J&K in 2010 for his alleged role in fanning trouble during street protests, in which more than a hundred people had died. He was released on Saturday from the Baramullah jail, within days after Mr Sayeed assumed office.
 
The PDP has justified the release, saying it was part of its efforts for reconciliation and that the government could not engage with separatists and bring them into the mainstream when they were in prison.
 
Mr Sayeed had caused the BJP some embarrassment within hours of being sworn in on March 1 when, addressing mediapersons, he thanked "people from across the border", which was taken as a reference to Pakistan and militants -- for allowing the smooth conduct of the recent Assembly elections in the state.
 
The Congress and other parties had raised a similar ruckus on the issue in the Rajya Sabha, too.
 
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Kovind presents colours to all five Ladakh Scouts Battalions and Ladakh Scouts Regimental Centre

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President Ram Nath Kovind presented Colours to all five Ladakh Scouts Battalions and the Ladakh Scouts Regimental Centre here today.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Kovind said this was his first visit outside Delhi after assuming office. In his capacity as Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, he dedicated the visit to the armed forces of the country.
 
The President said it has been 54 years since the Ladakh Scouts became part of the Indian Army. This period has been replete with tales of heroism, honour and glory. The genesis of the Regiment was in the invasion by Pakistani raiders in 1947-48 and the resolve with which Ladakhis defended their motherland. This continues to remain a matter of pride for the entire country.
 
In a little over half a century, the Regiment has earned 605 Honours and Awards for conspicuous gallantry and distinguished service. 
 
“This speaks for the exceptional valour and spirit of the Regiment personnel and is a model for all soldiers and officers of our armed forces. They have earned the distinction in various wars and operations and excelled in sports, adventure pursuits and professional challenges,” he added.
 
The President paid homage to the martyrs of the Ladakh Scouts Regiment. “Their blood and sacrifice have secured our sovereignty, brought glory to our nation and protected our people from harm,” he said. He also congratulated all veterans and serving soldiers of the Regiment for their adherence to duty and professional conduct.
 
Among the dignitaries present on the occasion were Jammu & Kashmir Governor N N Vohra, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Kumar Singh, other Ministers of the State Government as well as Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat.
 
Later the President laid the foundation stone of the Buddha Park for World Peace at Leh’s Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre. Thereafter he flew back to Delhi.
 
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Kovind to visit Leh in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday

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President Ram Nath Kovind will visit Leh in Jammu and Kashmir tomorrow to present colours to all five Ladakh Scouts Battalions and Ladakh Scouts Regimental Centre there. 
 
On the same day, he will also visit the Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre at Leh before returning to Delhi, an official press release added.
 
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Upgraded passenger terminal building of Jammu Airport inaugurated

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The upgraded passenger terminal building of Jammu Airport was inaugurated by Union Minister for Civil Aviation P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti here today.
 
“We believe in augmenting infrastructure of our airports to enhance connectivity. With the upgraded Jammu Airport, we would be better prepared to give improved services to air travelers visiting this city of temples," Mr. Raju said on the occasion.
 
Appreciating the upgraded terminal building of the airport, Ms. Mufti said, “We have been witnessing promising growth in number of air travelers to and from Jammu. The upgraded terminal of Jammu Airport is in line to enhance capacity and will contribute to the economic growth of Jammu – the gateway to the State.” 
 
Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office and Mr. Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.
 
Jammu Airport belongs to the Indian Air Force, and Airports Authority of India (AAI) maintains a Civil Enclave for civil aircraft operations. During the year 2016-17, passenger traffic movement at Jammu airport reached 1.16 million and the passenger growth rate has touched 29 per cent in the first quarter of 2017-18. 
 
To cope with the increasing passenger growth and demand, the existing terminal building of Jammu Airport has been expanded and upgraded. The area of the terminal building has been expanded from 6700 sq. mtrs. to 14,500 sq. mtrs. with an upgraded peak hour handling capacity of 720 passengers at a time, from the earlier 360 peak hour passengers. 
 
The upgraded passenger terminal building of Jammu Airport is a glass and steel structure and is equipped with passenger facilities and amenities like CUTE-complied check-in counters, Common Use Self-Service (CUSS) kiosk for check-in, central air-conditioning, two arrival conveyor belts, escalators and glass elevators, Flight Information Display System, PA system and comfortable seating capacity. 
 
The terminal building is also equipped with Fire Fighting and Fire Alarm System, CCTV and Baggage Scanners, among other facilites. There is a provision for installation of three Passenger Boarding Bridges with Advanced Visual Docking Guidance System (AVDGS) for the terminal which would increase operational efficiency besides convenience to passengers. 
 
The building has green features like double insulated roofing system, rainwater harvesting, 200 KLD sewage treatment plant (soil-based technology), reuse of treated water for horticulture and air conditioning purposes, use of fly ash bricks, low heat gain glazing, low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paints, LED lighting, energy efficient chillers, VFDs (Variable Frequency Drive) for high capacity motors, and so on, an official press release added.
 
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Four dead, 23 injured in bus accident in Samba, Jammu & Kashmir

 
4 dead, 23 injured in bus mishap in Samba
Four persons died and 23 others suffered injuries when a bus carrying them veered off the road and crashed into a wayside tree in Samba town of Jammu and Kashmir this morning.
 
Sources said the mishap occurred around 8.15 am when the driver of the mini-bus, on its way from Checkwal to Samba, lost control over the wheel on a curve near Rakha Ambpatti and the vehicle skidded off the road and crashed into the trunk of the tree.
 
Several of the injured were referred to the Government Medical College in Jammu for treatment, they said.
 
The driver of the bus fled the scene after the accident and police are looking out for him, they said.
 
The deceased were identified as Prem Kumar, 38, Sarthian; Mehak, 21, daughter Kali Singh, Chilarian, Jannu, 17, son of Balbir Singh, Khanwal and Ramesh, 55, Khobder.
 
Soldiers at a nearby army unit and locals were amongst the first to reach the scene and help remove the victims and rush them to a hospital in Samba.
 
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Three terrorists, two soldiers killed in gunbattle in Shopian district of J&K

 
Three terrorists, two soldiers die in Shopian encounter
Three terrorists and two soldiers died in a gunbattle between security forces and militants that  began yesterday evening in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir, official sources said today.
 
The operations, which began with a search by a team of the local police and the Army at Avneera village yesterday evening, were continuing, the sources said.
 
The terrorists opened fire in a bid to break free through the cordon, leading to an encounter in which two soldiers were killed, they said.
 
In a separate incident, two policemen suffered injuries when militants opened fire at a cordon and search party of the Rashtriya Rifles and the local police at Wahab Parra, Hajin in Bandipora district. The injured policemen were rushed to a nearby hospital, while the cordon and search operations were continuing, police sources added.
 
Meanwhile, Imtiyaz Ahmad Mir, a civilian who was injured when a petrol bomb was hurled near Budyari Chowk, Dalgate in Srinagar district yesterday, succumbed to his injuries at the Sher-I-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences ( SKIMS) here in the early hours of today, police added.
 
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HCC wins Rs. 810 crore contract from JKSPDCL for hydro power proejct

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Infrastructure major Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) today said it had won a contract worth Rs 810.37 crore from Jammu & Kashmir State Power Development Corporation Limited (JKSPDCL) for construction of the 93 MW (3x31 MW) New Ganderbal Hydro Power Project on Sind river in Central Kashmir on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) basis. 
 
The work is to be completed in 48 months, a press release from the company said here.
 
The New Ganderbal is a run off the river hydro power project on the Sind, a tributary of River Jhelum. The scope of work includes planning, design, engineering and execution of civil and infrastructure works as well as manufacturing, assembling, inspection, testing and commissioning of electro-mechanical and hydro-mechanical equipments, the release said.
 
Mr. Arun Karambelkar, President & CEO, HCC Ltd. said “This prestigious contract demonstrates our EPC expertise in the hydro power sector. With a wide array of competencies for building various modules of hydroelectric projects, HCC has garnered expertise and distinction through complex project management in every step of engineering, procurement and construction.”
 
The release said that, over the last nine decades, HCC has constructed over 25 per cent of India’s installed hydroelectric power capacity with in-depth knowledge of the nation’s diverse terrain. In last 15 years, the company has completed 13 hydro power projects including two  projects in Bhutan and is currently engaged in construction of nine projects of which two are in Bhutan. 
 
In Jammu & Kashmir, HCC has been operating since over five decades and has built one-third of the hydro power capacity of the state, the release added.
 
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Five terrorists killed as security forces foil infiltration bid in Machil sector

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Five suspected terrorists were killed as security forces foiled an infiltration bid from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir into the Machil sector in Kupwara district of north Kashmir today, official sources said.
 
"#Breakthrough : Major Infiltration bid foiled in Machil Sector. Five terrorists eliminated, five weapons recovered. Ops in progress," the Northern Command of the Indian Army said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
Sources said Indian troops in the area noticed some suspicious movement along the  Line of Control (LoC) and challenged the intruders. In the encounter that followed, five intruders were shot down, they said.
 
They also said that security forces had recovered weapons from the scene and added that the operations were continuing.
 
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Three LeT militants killed in encounter in Sopore in Jammu & Kashmir

 
Three militants dead in Sopore encounter
Three suspected militants of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) were killed in an encounter with the police and security forces in Sopore in the early hours of today, official sources said.
 
Police sources said that, acting on specific information about the presence of militants in Jamia Mohalla, Amargarh locality of Tarzoo in Sopore, the local police, along with men of the Rashtriya Rifles (RR) and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), cordoned off the area and launched a search operation.
 
According to them, the militants hiding in the area opened fire on the joint search party, leading to a gun battle.
 
"During encounter, three militants of LeT were eliminated. Their identity is being ascertained," the sources said, adding that three AK 74 rifles and magazines were also recovered from the scene.
 
A police constable was injured in the encounter and his condition was stated to be stable.
 
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Two soldiers, two terrorists killed in separate gun battles in J&K

 
Two soldiers, two terrorists gunned down in J&K
Two Indian Army personnel, including a major, and two terrorists were killed in two separate gun battles in Jammu and Kashmir today, official sources said.
 
The two soldiers, Maj Kamlesh Pandey and Sepoy Tanzin Chhultim, died when militants opened fire at security forces during an encounter in the Zaipora area of Shopian district this morning, they said.
 
In Gopalpora, Kulgam in South Kashmir, two terrorists, said to belong to Hizbul Muhajideen, were killed in a gun battle with security forces late last night, the sources said.
 
Police sources said that, acting on specific information, a search operation was launched by a joint team of Kulgam Police, Rashtriya Rifles and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Gopalpora village.
 
They said that the militants present in the area fired upon the search party and an encounter followed. "Two militants were killed in this encounter. The slain militants were identified as Aaqib Ahmad Itoo, son of Abdul Hamid Itoo resident of Gopalpora, and Suhail Ahmad Rather, son of Mohammad Arif Rather, resident of Tantraypora Yaripora," they said.
 
The sources said one INSAS rifle, one AK rifle and two magazines were recovered from the scene of the encounter, adding that the two men were involved in various unlawful and anti-national activities.
 
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LeT commander Abu Dujana among two terrorists killed by security forces in Pulwama

Abu Dujana, a so-called divisional commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), was among two terrorists killed in an encounter with security forces at Hakdipora in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir early Tuesday morning.

 
LeT J&K chief Abu Dujana killed in Pulwama encounter
Abu Dujana, a so-called divisional commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), was among two terrorists killed in an encounter with security forces at Hakdipora in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir early this morning.
 
The other terrorist neutralised in the "swift and surgical operation" was identified as Arif Nabi Dar, a local, official sources said.
 
The neutralisation of Dujana, 27, a Pakistani, who has been active in the state for about seven years and who had eluded the security forces for long, was a "huge achievement" for Jammu & Kashmir Police and the security forces, they said.
 
Police and Army officials said the police and security forces, acting on specific inputs about the presence of two terrorists in a house in Hakdipora, had cordoned off the area and asked the two men to surrender.
 
They said announcements were made over loudspeakers and the owner of the house and others were used in an effort to persuade the two terrorists to give themselves up, but to no avail.
 
The men opened heavy fire from inside the house in the early hours of today and the security forces retaliated, they said.
 
After the operations ended, the police recovered the bodies of the two terrorists and identified them, the sources said.
 
About eight persons, part of a crowd that had gathered neared the scene of the encounter, suffered pellet and bullet injuries, they said.
 
Television pictures from the scene of the encounter showed smoke rising from the house where the two terrorists had holed up.
 
Internet services were cut by the authorities in Pulwama district as a precautionary measure.
 
According to the sources, Dujana had reportedly managed to escape the security forces five times in the past.
 
"Abu Dujana was a category A++ LeT terrorist,” Lt. Gen. J. Sandhu, GOC, 15 Corps, said. 
 
J&K Police Inspector  General Munir Khan said the quantum of firing from the terrorists was very heavy.
 
He also said the operations by security forces against terrorists would continue.
 
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Militants loot Rs. 5.2 lakh from bank in Anantnag in Jammu & Kashmir

 
Militants loot bank in Anantnag
A group of three or four armed men, suspected to Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militants, stormed into the Arwani branch of Jammu and Kashmir Bank at Bijbehara, Anantnag and robbed it of Rs. 5.20 lakh in cash, police said.
 
Official sources said Anantnag police had registered a case and investigations were going on.
 
"During the initial investigation and with the help of CCTV footage, it was found that HM militants are involved this crime. Efforts are on to nab the culprits," they said.
 
According to various other sources, the gunmen were wearing burkhas and threatened the employees of the bank with their weapons before fleeing with the money.
 
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Six dead, 11 injured in flash floods after cloudburst in Doda district of Jammu & Kashmir

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At least six people died and 11 others suffered injuries as flash floods and landslides triggered by a cloudburst wreaked havoc in Thatri town of Doda district in Jammu and Kashmir in the early hours of today.
 
Official sources said the cloudburst occurred around 2 am and led to flash floods and landslides in the area, sweeping away some houses and damaging roads and other infrastructure facilities.
 
Police, the Army and emergency services personnel have rushed to the area and launched rescue and relief operations, they said.
 
According to the police, at least six houses, two shops and a private school building were damaged in the floods.
 
The deceased included three women, two girls and a boy, the police said. They were identified as: Naru Devi (40), Patna Devi  (45), Shrista Devi (15), Sapna Devi (14), Priya Devi (7) and Rahul (9).
 
The injured included three women, one man, four girls and a twoyear-old boy, police said.
 
Officials said they were focusing on rescuing people who could be trapped under the debris and were yet to make an assessment of the losses. 
 
The floods caused damage to the Batote-Doda-Kishtwar National Highway (NH1B) and also affected power and water supply in the area, the sources added.
 
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16 pilgrims dead after Amarnath Yatra bus rolls down into gorge in Ramban district of J&K

 
16 Amarnath pilgrims die as bus falls into gorge
At least 16 pilgrims died and 29 others suffered injuries when a bus carrying them on the Amarnath Yatra veered off the road and rolled down into a deep gorge in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir today, official sources said.
 
The incident occurred in the afternoon when  the bus, with registration number JK 02 Y 0594, carrying 45 pilgrims, fell into the Nachalana Nallah at Banihal, Jammu & Kashmir police sources said.
 
Police and other emergency personnel rushed to the spot and three Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters were deployed to airlift 18 of the seriously injured passengers to the Government Medical College & Hospital, Jammu while the remaining 11 with minor injuries were taken to Srinagar by road.
 
Those killed in the accident included 14 men and two women, the sources said.
 
Helpline numbers to enquire about the pilgrims involved in the accident include 0191-2560401 and 0191-2542000, an official press release said.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives in the accident. "Extremely pained by the loss of lives of Amarnath Yatris due to a bus accident in J&K. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
"I pray that those injured in the bus accident in J&K recover soon," he added.
 
Mr. Modi also announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 2 lakh for the next of kin of those killed in the mishap and Rs. 50,000 for those seriously injured.
 
Union Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who apprised him of the rescue efforts. He also spoke to Jammu & Kashmir Governor N. N. Vohra, who had visited the site.
 
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Six dead as terrorists attack bus carrying pilgrims on Amarnath Yatra

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At least six Amarnath pilgrims were killed when terrorists attacked a bus carrying them in Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir this evening, official sources said.
 
In a separate incident, terrorists also attacked a police party in the Bantigoo area, the sources said.
 
About ten others suffered injuries in the attack and they were rushed to a hospital in Anantnag where they are undergoing treatment.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was pained beyond words by the  "dastardly" attack on the peaceful Amarnath yatris. "The attack deserves strongest condemnation from everyone," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
"My thoughts are with all those who lost their loved ones in the attack in J&K. My prayers with the injured," he said.
 
"India will never get bogged down by such cowardly attacks & the evil designs of hate.
 
"I have spoken to the Governor and Chief Minister of J&K and assured all possible assistance required," he added.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Jammu & Kashmir Governor N. N. Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti regarding the attack and they apprised him of the ground situation.
 
Mr. Rajnath Singh asked the state authorities to ensure immediate and proper  treatment of the injured yatris. The Ministry of Home Affairs is closely monitoring the situation.
 
Reports reaching here said the bus was not registered with the Amarnath Yatra authorities adn not part of the main convoy, which is escorted by the police.
 
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Jammu & Kashmir becomes part of GST regime

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The President of India today promulgated two ordinances -- the Central Goods and Services Tax (Extension to Jammu and Kashmir) Ordinance, 2017 and the Integrated Goods and Services Tax (Extension to Jammu and Kashmir) Ordinance, 2017 -- extending the domain of Central GST Act and the Integrated GST Act to the State of Jammu and Kashmir, with effect from July 8, 2017.
 
With this, the State of Jammu and Kashmir has become part of the GST regime, making GST truly a “ one nation, one tax” regime, an official press release said.
 
Earlier, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was launched in the country from the midnight of 1st July, 2017. However, because of the special provisions applicable to Jammu and Kashmir, extra steps had to be taken before the State could join the GST fold. 
 
On July 6, the State of Jammu and Kashmir had taken the first step towards adopting the GST regime with the President of India giving assent to the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Amendment Order, 2017. Resultantly, the One Hundred and First Amendment Act, 2016 to the Constitution of India that paved the way for introduction of GST in the country, became applicable to the State of Jammu and Kashmir also. Following this, on July 7, the Jammu and Kashmir Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017 was passed by the State Legislature, empowering the State to levy State GST on intra-state supplies with effect from July 8, 2017.
 
Concomitantly, the President of India has promulgated two ordinances, namely, the Central Goods and Services Tax (Extension to Jammu and Kashmir) Ordinance, 2017 and the Integrated Goods and Services Tax (Extension to Jammu and Kashmir) Ordinance, 2017 extending the domain of Central GST Act and the Integrated GST Act to the State of Jammu and Kashmir, with effect from July 8, 2017, the release added.
 
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Magnitude 5.2 earthquake jolts border region between Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan

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An earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale jolted the border region between Jammu and Kashmir in India and Pakistan this afternoon, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 34.6°N and longitude 73.5°E, occurred at 1542 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
Apart from different parts of Jammu & Kashmir, the tremors were also felt in parts of Pakistan, reports reaching here said.
 
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Prabhu lays foundation stones for five halt stations between Quazigund, Baramulla

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Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu today laid the foundation stones for construction of five new halt stations on the Baramulla-Qazigund rail section at a ceremony at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre here yesterday.
 
Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Kumar Singh and Member of Parliament Nazir Ahmed Laway were present on the occasion.
 
Northern Railway General Manager R K Kulshrestha and other senior railway officials were also present.
 
The new halt stations between Baramula-Quazigund stations are: Sangdan (Quazigund-Sadura), Monghall (Sadura-Anantnag), Ratnipora (Awantipura-Kakapora), Nadigam and Razwan stations (Budgam-Mazhom).
 
The all-weather special DEMU trains in the Kashmir valley have become a veritable life-line for the residents, providing mobility with convenience. On an average, 25,000 passengers travel each day in these DEMUs with a corresponding ticket earnings accounting Rs. 3.50 lakh per day, an official press release said.
 
With a view to provide an alternative and a reliable mass transportation system to Jammu & Kashmir, the Government of India planned a 326 km (later extended to cover 345 km) railway line joining the Kashmir Valley with the Indian Railways' network.
 
The Jammu-Udhampur-Katra-Quazigund-Baramulla rail line, a project of great importance for the local populace and the country as a whole, has been declared as “National Project”.
 
This project is, perhaps, the most difficult new railway line project undertaken in the Indian sub-continent. The route passes through the Himalayas, which are young fold mountains full of geographical surprises, high tectonic activity and extremely cold weather conditions.
 
The completion of Jammu-Udhampur railway link in 2005 heralded the dawn of a new era in rail connectivity. The rail line in the Kashmir Valley was constructed in a phased manner with the Railways steadily commissioning rail sections between Anantnag-Mazahom in October 2008, the Mazahom-Baramulla section in February 2009 and the remaining 18-km long section between Quazigund and Anantnag in October 2009 thus completing the 119-km Qazigund-Baramulla railway line.
 
The Railways are now working steadily to complete the rest of the 345- km railway line. The 25-km Udhampur-Katra section was commissioned in July 2014 and work on the 111-km Katra-Banihal section is in  progress, with a target date of March 2021 for completion.
 
This portion, being constructed by Northern Railway, KRCL and IRCON will have 97.34 Km of tunnels, 27 major and 10 minor bridges and 203 km of access road. About 45% of the work has been completed with an expenditure of Rs. 9419 crore, the release said.
 
The USBRL Project is a culmination of a large number of tunnels and bridges, one of the most important and challenging being across the deep gorge of Chenab River near Salal Hydro Power Dam. This necessitated the construction of a long span bridge in Seismeic Zone V. The total length of the Chenab Bridge is 1315 m. It has a design speed of 100 km and can withstand wind velocity upto 266 kmph and has a life span of 120 years.
 
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The bridge is made of steel arches and is aesthetically designed using local expertise and construction material. The height of the bridge is 359 m which is about 35 m taller than Eiffel Tower in Paris. When complete, this will be the highest railway bridge in the world.
 
As part of the project to knit the zone of Jammu with the Kashmir valley which is separated through the majestic Pir Panjal mountain range, Indian Railways had earlier constructed the 11.21-km long ‘Tunnel T-80’. This is the longest transportation tunnel in Asia.
 
The existing stations that lie in the Banihal-Baramula section include Banihal, Shahabad Halt, Qazigund, Sadura, Anantnag, Bijbehara, Panjgam, Awantipora, Kakapora, Pampore, Srinagar, Budgam, Mazhom, Pattan, Hamre, Sopore and Baramulla. Fifteen pairs of DEMU services ply on the rail section providing all-weather connectivity in the region.
 
Additional DEMUs were introduced in July 2015 and later Fast DEMUs for convenience of office-goers and students were put into service in May 2016 between Banihal-Baramula and Baramula-Budgam. Vadi Ki Sair, a Children Special train, was introduced from Banihal to Baramulla from 26.11.2016, which now runs on second and fourth Sundays in a month.
 
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Prabhu lays foundation stone for Final Location Survey of Bilaspur-Manali-Leh broad gauge line

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Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu today laid the foundation stone for the Final Location Survey of Bilaspur-Manali-Leh broad gauge line expected to provide all-weather rail connectivity to the remote regions of Himachal Pradesh and Leh-Ladakh.
 
The proposed line with a route length of 498 km will have the distinction being the highest railway track in the world, an official press release said.
 
Northern Railway General Manager R K Kulshrestha and other senior railway officials were also present at the event.
 
Leh is the most important town in Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir, having approximately 1.5 lakh population. It has a high footfall of Indian and foreign tourists each year. The district Leh is the second largest district in the country with elaborate Army establishments and is the headquarter of 14 corps.
 
The region being a cold desert, the temperature during the winter months (October-March) plummets to well below freezing point. The road connectivity to this area gets cut off from other parts of the country due to heavy snowfall, thus necessitating all-weather rail connectivity both for strategic as well as socio-economic needs, the release said.
 
The Final Location Survey is a precursor to actual construction from Bilaspur to Leh via Manali. The alignment will connect Mandi, Kullu, Manali, Keylong and other important towns of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.
 
The line from Bilaspur will be further connected to Bhanupali between Anandpur Sahib and Nangal Dam.
 
The proposed alignment passes through the Shivalik, Great Himalayan and Zanskar Ranges, areas with wide variation in height (600 m to 5300 m above MSL) and Seismic zone IV and V [ IS:1893(Part-I)-2002], necessitating the building of a large number of tunnels, deep viaducts and bridges.
 
The work of Final Location Survey has been entrusted to RITES Ltd and is planned to be completed by March 2019 with an approximate cost of Rs. 157 crore, the release added.
 
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Amarnath Yatra: NDMA conducts mock exercises to improve preparedness

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In its efforts to improve preparedness and response mechanisms in the event of a disaster during the coming Amarnath Yatra, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) conducted mock exercises simulating various disaster scenarios along the pilgrimage route today.
 
The annual Amarnath Yatra to the cave shrine in south Kashmir will begin from June 29 and continue till August 7. 
 
Simultaneous exercises were conducted in critical areas along the Baltal and the Pahalgam-Chandanwari routes by NDMA experts Maj. Gen. V.K. Datta (Retd.) and Maj. Gen. (Dr.) V.K. Naik (Retd.), an official press release said.
 
They trained the participants on key aspects of disaster management such as the formation of Incident Response Teams, coordination among various participating agencies, evacuation, medical preparedness and trauma counselling. 
 
The exercises began with Co-ordination Conferences on Day 1 (June 21) followed by Table-top Exercises on Day 2 (June 22). 
 
Senior officials from all stakeholder departments such as the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), the Rashtriya Rifles, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Army, police, health, Civil Defense, transport, fire and other emergency services attended these preparatory meetings and participated in the mock exercises. 
 
A debriefing exercise was conducted afterwards wherein the participants discussed the shortcomings and ways to address them. 
 
NDMA has so far conducted more than 550 mock exercises across the country for various disaster situations with a State-level mock exercise on earthquake preparedness in Delhi on June 30, 2017 next on the list. 
 
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J&K Dy SP lynched by mob in Srinagar in major escalation of tensions in state

 
DSP lynched by mob outside Jamia Masjid at Nowhatta, Srinagar
A deputy superintendent of police, Mohammed Ayub Pandith, was lynched by  a mob outside Jamia Masjid in the Nowhatta area of Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir in the early hours of today in yet another incident of an attack on security personnel, marking a major escalation of tensions in the state.
 
According to various accounts, Ayub was set upon by the mob after they accused him of taking pictures and shooting a video of stone pelting by local youth. He is said to have opened fire in self-defence, after which he was brutally beaten to death by the angry mob, they said.
 
Police said two persons had been arrested in connection with the lynching and a third had been identified in the case. "They will have to face the law," Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police S. P. Vaid told reporters.
 
He said the people must understand that the officer had been deployed for their safety and that they ended up killing him. "The officer was killed by the mob while he was performing his duties. It is a very sad and unfortunate incident," he said.
 
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti condemned the lynching and described the incident as "shameful". "There is nothing more shameful than this," she said.
 
The body of the slain cop was sent for post-mortem examination and was later laid to rest.
 
"The brutal lynching of DySP Md Ayub Pandith marks a new low. Pained beyond words at the horrific incident," Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
"Heartbreaking to see J&K being pushed back several decades because of the complete failure of the PDP/BJP Govt," he said.
 
"His death is a tragedy & the manner of his death a travesty. May the people who lynched DySP Pandith burn in hell for their sins," former Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said on Twitter.
 
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Six J&K policemen killed in ambush by terrorists in Anantnag

 
Achabal terror attack: wreath laying ceremony of constable held
Six policemen, including the station house officer (SHO) of the Achabal police station, were killed when their vehicles were ambushed by a group of about five terrorists at Thajiwara Achabal in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir yesterday evening.
 
Official sources said the incident occurred around 6.30 pm yesterday when the SHO, sub-inspector Firoz Ahmad Dar, accompanied by five constables, were travelling towards Anantnag town in a Tata Sumo vehicle when the militants ambushed them and opened fire.
 
All six policemen died in the attack, which took place about 17 km from Arwani, where security forces and militants were engaged in an encounter, and about five km from an Army camp at Khandru.
 
Police cordoned off the entire area, but the terrorists managed to escape after seizing weapons from the slain policemen. According to some reports, the terrorists fired at the policemen from close range, disfiguring the faces of some of them.
 
The reports also said that the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) had claimed responsibility for the attack. Police said the attack appeared to have aimed at avenging the death of their local commander in an encounter in Arwani.
 
Senior police officials said the  perpetrators of the attack would be nabbed and brought to justice.
 
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Army foils another infiltration bid, kills five intruders

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The Indian Army today said it had foiled another major infiltration bid from across the Line of Control (LoC) in Uri sector in Jammu and Kashmir and eliminated five armed intruders so far.
 
The operations are still in progress, sources in the Northern Command of the Army said.
 
With this, the number of intruders killed by the Army in the last 72 hours has risen to 12.
 
Yesterday, the Army had said that its units had foiled multiple attempts made by Pakistan Army to push armed infiltrators across the LoC and eliminated seven armed intruders in the previous 48 hours. These attempts were in Gurez, Machhil, Naugam and Uri sectors.
 
Indian troops are on high alert following intelligence inputs that the Pakistan Army was planning to try and push militants into Jammu & Kashmir in the wake of melting of snow in the upper reaches along the LoC.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Jammu & Kashmir

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.2 on the Richter scale, shook Jammu & Kashmir in the early hours of today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 32.7°N and longitude 74.7°E, occurred at 0349 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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