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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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Rajnath Singh reviews status of PM's development package for J&K

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has called for accelerating the implementation of the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) for the State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) with definite timelines.
 
Mr Rajnath Singh reviewed the PMDP, announced by the Prime Minister during his visit to J&K on November 7, 2015, with Ministers and top officials at a meeting here yesterday.
 
The package consists of 63 projects concerning 15 Ministries with an outlay of Rs 80,068 crore. The review meeting was attended by Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, Secretaries and senior officers from all the 15 Ministries, and the Chief Secretary of J&K along with Secretaries of various departments of the J&K Government.
 
Out of Rs 80,068 crore outlay of PMDP, Rs 61,112 crore have already been sanctioned by the various Ministries (more than 75 %). More than 25%, amounting to Rs 19,961 crore have already been released to the implementing agencies including the State Government, an official press release said.
 
The PMDP will provide a major development push for J&K with projects such as AIIMS for Jammu, AIIMS at Srinagar, support for District as well as Sub-District Hospitals and Primary Health Centers, IIM at Jammu with an out campus at Srinagar, IIT, upgradation of NIT at Srinagar and additional Girls’ Hostels in Higher Educational Institutions.
 
The Union Government has also approved to provide 1,00,000 jobs for undergraduates and school dropouts under HIMAYAT scheme, an elaborate layout for sports infrastructure in all the 22 Districts, Development of Pashmina wool, cold storage facilities for agricultural produce and development of horticulture.
 
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The package also includes major support to urban development under AMRUT scheme, Swachh Bharat Mission and Smart Cities. Major water resources projects include flood management of River Jhelum and its tributaries and conservation of major water bodies such as Dal, Nageen and Wular lakes.
 
Under PDMP, 18 major road transport and tunnel projects are expected to provide much better connectivity for the people of J&K and allow the farmers to transport their produce to the desired markets.
 
Three Himalayan circuits have been sanctioned under tourism that include extensive development in all the three regions-- Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.
 
There are five major power projects which include Srinagar – Leh transmission line, Smart Grid and Smart Meters and augmentation of electricity distribution systems.
 
In addition, approval has been given for semi-ring roads for Jammu and Srinagar and hydro & solar power projects.
 
These projects are in various stages of implementation. While work has started on many projects, in some cases detailed project reports (DPRs) are in final stages of preparation and in a few difficult cases, the DPRs are under preparation. Nearly 87 DPRs are being finalized for small hydro projects, the release added.
 
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Congress sets up Policy Planning Group for J&K under chairmanship of Manmohan Singh

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Congress President Sonia Gandhi has constituted a nine-member Policy Planning Group for Jammu & Kashmir under the chairmanship of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
 
According to a press release from the Congress, the other members of the group are: former Union Ministers Karan Singh, P. Chidambaram, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ambika Soni, J&K PCC President Ghulam Ahmed Mir, Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Rigzin Zora and state Congress leaders Tariq Hameed Karra and Shyam Lal Sharma.
 
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Moderate earthquake jolts Jammu & Kashmir

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An earthquake of moderate intensity, measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale, shook Jammu & Kashmir today.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 33.8°N and longitude 76.6°E, occurred at 1041 hours at a focal depth of 33 km.
 
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ECI defers poll in Lok Sabha bye-election from Anantnag to May 25

The Election Commission has deferred the date of poll in the bye-election to the Lok Sabha from Anantnag in Jammu & Kashmir to May 25 after the State Government sent a report to it saying that the law and order situation prevailing in the constituency was not conducive to the holding of a free and fair poll.

 
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has deferred the date of poll in the bye-election to the Lok Sabha from Anantnag in Jammu & Kashmir from April 12 to May 25 after the State Government sent a report to it yesterday saying that the law and order situation prevailing in the constituency was not conducive to the holding of a free and fair poll.
 
The bye-election has been called to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Ms. Mehbooba Mufti, leader of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) on July 4 last year after she took over as the Chief Minister of the state on April 4.
 
The Commission had issued the notification for the bye-election on March 17 and fixed April 12 as the date of polling, if necessary.
 
A notification from the Commission dated April 10 said the report from the State Administration had also expressed apprehension that there might be violent attempts by some miscreant elements to thwart the polling process in the constituency view of the violent incidents that had taken place in some parts of the Srinagar Parliamentary constituency, where polling was held on April 9, resulting in some casualties and loss of life.
 
The State Administration had recommended that the poll scheduled to be taken on April 12 be deferred for the time being.
 
The Commission said it had, having considered the report of the State Administration and also taking into account the inputs received by it from various sources, including the reports from the Chief Electoral Officer of the State, Divisional Commissioner of South Kashmir, Returning Officer of the constituency and other election authorities concerned, decided that the poll may be deferred for the time being and taken on May 25. The Commission said it expected that, by that time, the law and order situation in the constituency would improve and become conducive to the holding of free and fair election.
 
The Commission has, accordingly, in its notification of yesterday, made the necessary amendments to its earlier notification of March 17.
 
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Modi dedicates 9 km-long Chenani-Nashri Tunnel in J&K to nation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday dedicated to the nation the nine km-long Chenani-Nashri road tunnel -- the longest in India -- that connects Jammu with Srinagar on national highway (NH)-44.

 
Modi inaugurates Chenani-Nashri tunnel
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today dedicated to the nation the nine km-long  Chenani-Nashri road tunnel -- the longest in India -- that connects Jammu with Srinagar on national highway (NH)-44.
 
The tunnel will reduce travel time between the two cities by upto two hours and reduce the distance between the two cities by 31 km, bypassing snow-bound upper reaches.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Modi said the tunnel would also promote tourism in the valley, open up employment opportunities for the youth and give a boost to development in the state. 
 
Mr. Modi travelled the entire length of the tunnel later and was briefed about some of its key features.
 
Later, addressing a public meeting in Udhampur, he said that the tunnel is world-class, and matches the best standards. He said the tunnel is environment-friendly and will help in the fight against global warming. He said that while some misguided youngsters were pelting stones, the youth of Kashmir were cutting stones to create infrastructure. 
 
Mr. Modi said violence and terrorism can never help anyone. He thanked the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Ms. Mehbooba Mufti, and said that work had begun on the package that the Union Government had announced for the State. 
 
Recalling the vision and work of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Prime Minister said that the Union Government's sole mantra is development, and this could be achieved through people’s participation. 
 
The Prime Minister thanked Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari and his team for the tunnel and appreciated the youth for contributing their labour for the development of the state. 
 
Mr. Gadkari expressed happiness at India’s longest highways tunnel being dedicated to the nation. He said that Rs. 7000 crore would be invested in highways projects in Jammu and Kashmir in the next two years. He said a ring road will be built around Jammu at a cost of Rs 2100 crore and another one around Srinagar at a cost of Rs 2200 crores. Work on this will start in the next three months, he said. 
 
Mr. Gadkari also said the Zojila tunnel is being built between Leh and Ladakh at a cost of Rs 6000 crore. He said that, during the year 2016-17, Rs 1019 crore had been sanctioned for 72 projects in Jammu & Kashmir. 
 
Dr Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, said this was the beginning of a new India under Mr. Modi's leadership.
 
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti thanked the Prime Minister and the Central Government for the support extended to the state. 
 
The twin-tube, all-weather tunnel between Udhampur and Ramban in Jammu & Kashmir is not only India’s longest highways tunnel but also Asia’s longest bi-directional highways tunnel. It is built at an elevation of 1200 metres on one of the most difficult Himalayan terrains.
 
The tunnel will also ensure an all weather passage on a route that often sees heavy traffic jams and disruptions due to landslides, snow, sharp curves, breakdown of vehicles and accidents. 
 
The tunnel is a part of the 286-km-long four-laning of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. The structure consists of a nine km long, two-laned main tunnel with a parallel escape tunnel of same length. The two tunnels are connected by 29 cross passages at regular intervals along the entire length of the tunnel. These cross passages can be used for evacuation of vehicles and commuters in case of breakdown or any other emergency. 
 
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There are two minor bridges on the south and north sides and 4-lane approach roads with toll plazas on both ends of the tunnel. The maximum height permitted in the tunnel is 5 meters and, for checking the height, special sensors have been installed just before the toll points at both ends. 
 
The tunnel has an efficient, transverse ventilation system. There are inlets bringing fresh air at 8-metre intervals and outlets for exhaust every 100 metres. There is also a fully-integrated control system with ventilation, communication, power supply, incident detection, SOS call box and fire fighting. Fitted with intelligent traffic mechanism, the tunnel has fully automatic smart control and no human intervention will be required for its operations. The tunnel is also equipped with advanced scanners to ward off any security threat. Very few tunnels in the world have this kind of fully integrated tunnel control, an official press release said.
 
The project is also environment friendly. The time saving on the Jammu- Srinagar route will further result in fuel saving of approximately Rs 27 lakh per day. Besides, the construction of the tunnel has avoided large-scale deforestation. 
 
The release said the tunnel would have a very positive impact on the state economy. In line with the Skill India initiative of the Prime Minister, the skill sets of local people were developed and improved, and they were engaged for construction of this tunnel. The project has provided employment to over 2,000 unskilled and skilled youth of Jammu and Kashmir as 94 percent of the work force was from the state. Around 600 to 900 people from across the country also worked on this project in three shifts over the past four years, it added.
 
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Modi to dedicate India’s longest road tunnel to nation

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate to the nation the nine km-long Chenani-Nashri road tunnel, the longest in India, on April 2.
 
The tunnel on national highway (NH)-44 will connect Jammu with Srinagar and reduce travel time between the two cities by upto two hours. It will reduce the distance between the two cities by 31 km, bypassing snow-bound upper reaches.
 
The estimated daily fuel savings are expected to be to the tune of Rs. 27 lakh, an official press release said.
 
Besides avoiding large scale deforestation and tree-cutting, the tunnel will provide a safe, all-weather route to commuters travelling from Jammu and Udhampur, to Ramban, Banihal and Srinagar, it said.
 
The tunnel is equipped with world-class security systems, and is expected to boost tourism and economic activities in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the release said.
 
It is a single-tube bi-directional tunnel, with a 9.35 metre carriageway, and a vertical clearance of 5 metres. There is also a parallel escape tunnel, with “Cross Passages” connecting to the main tunnel at intervals of 300 metres. 
 
The tunnel has smart features such as an Integrated Traffic Control System; Surveillance, Ventilation and Broadcast Systems; Fire Fighting System; and SOS call-boxes at every 150 metres. 
 
The project has been completed at a cost of over Rs. 2500 crore, the release added.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Kathua region of Jammu & Kashmir

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.6 on the Richter scale, shook the Kathua region of Jammu & Kashmir this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 32.7°N and longitude 75.6°E, occurred at 0548 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor earthquake jolts north-western Jammu & Kashmir

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale, shook north-western Jammu & Kashmir this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude  35.7°S and longitude 74.0°E, occurred at 0814 hours at a focal depth of 50 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Punjab, J&K sign agreement to resume work on Shahpur Kandi Dam

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In a major step towards utilization of India’s rights on Eastern rivers of Indus basin, Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir have signed an agreement to resume work on the Shahpur Kandi Dam.
 
The mediation efforts of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR, RD &GR) persuaded the two States to reach an agreement, an official press release said.
 
The agreement was signed by Mr. K S Pannu, Secretary (Irrigation), Punjab and Saurabh Bhagat, Secretary ( Irrigation), J&K in the presence of Union Water Resources Secretary Amarjit Singh here last evening.
 
The project is being built with an estimated cost of Rs. 2285.81 crore (April 2008 price level) and is included in the Scheme of National Projects by the Union Government.
 
Under the scheme, MoWR,RD&GR provides central assistance @ 90% of the balance cost of works component of irrigation and water supply.
 
The construction of Shahpur Kandi project was taken up in May 1999 but later halted in 2014 due to dispute between Punjab and J&K. The Ministry of WR,RD&GR had been making all out efforts to resolve the issues and resume construction.
 
The design of the project will be as already agreed by both the states while concurrently model studies will be done to ensure that the mandated share of 1150 cusecs of water is available to the State of J&K, which will be binding on both the States.
 
The project will continue to be implemented by the Punjab Government. However, there will be a tripartite team headed by Member, Central Water Commission (CWC) and consisting of Chief Engineers of the two States to monitor the project as and when required but at least once in three months to ensure that the construction is as per the agreement.
 
The balance costs on account of compensation for land acquisition in respect of Thein Dam, as per the agreement, would be paid for by Punjab promptly. In addition, jobs to the oustees would be given by Punjab as per the agreed R&R policy of both the State Governments.
 
Punjab would also make available to J&K 20% share in the total power generated at the Thein Dam at the mutually agreed rate of Rs. 3.50 per unit immediately, subject to the confirmation of the rates by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission.
 
Both the States agreed that other issues will be referred to arbitration mechanism provided in the agreement signed between two states in 1979 without affecting the progress of work.
 
It was unanimously agreed that the work on the Shahpur Kandi Dam Project would resume as soon both the State Governments formally approve the agreed decisions, the release added.
 
The 55.5 high Shahpur Kandi dam, located in Gurdaspur district of Punjab, will help in providing irrigation facility to 5,000 hectares of land in Punjab and 32,173 hectares in J&K besides generation of 206 MW power.
 
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Cabinet approves amendment of the Collection of Statistics Act, 2008

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The Union Cabinet today approved a proposal to introduce a Bill in Parliament to extend the jurisdiction of the Collection of Statistics Act, 2008 to Jammu & Kashmir on statistics relevant to any matters under any of the entries specified in the List-I (Union List) and the List- III (Concurrent List) in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution, as applicable to Jammu & Kashmir under the Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) Order, 1954.
 
The Amendment will strengthen data collection mechanism in the State of Jammu & Kashmir, an official press release said.
 
The release said the amendment would provide for extending the jurisdiction of the Act to Jammu & Kashmir State in respect of matters not reserved for the State as per the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order 1954. 
 
It will also provide for appointing a nodal officer at the Centre and in each State/Union Territory to effectively coordinate data collection activities and provide consultation to Government Departments for avoiding unnecessary duplication, and so on.
 
The Collection of Statistics Act, 2008 was enacted to facilitate the collection of statistics on economics, demographic, social, scientific and environmental aspects, and so on. The Act extends to the whole of India, except Jammu & Kashmir. The Jammu & Kashmir State legislature enacted the Jammu & Kashmir Collection of Statistics Act, 2010, which extends to the whole of the State of Jammu & Kashmir and is almost a replica of the central legislation. 
 
The Collection of Statistics Act, 2008 and the Jammu & Kashmir Collection of Statistics Act, 2010 are not applicable to statistical subjects falling in the Union List, as applicable to the Jammu & Kashmir under the Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) Order 1954. This has created a legislative vacuum. Moreover, the concurrent jurisdiction to be exercised by the Centre in Jammu & Kashmir has also not been provided for, in the Collection of Statistics Act, 2008. The amendment is intended to address this vacuum, the release added.
 
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IndiGo announces extra flights on Delhi-Srinagar-Jammu-Delhi route to clear rush

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Low-cost carrier IndiGo today announced additional flights to Jammu and Srinagar from Delhi on February 13 and 14 to cater to the higher demand on this sector. 
 
The flight 6E 9555 will leave Delhi at 1105 hours and reach Srinagar and 1240 hours. From Srinagar, it will take off at 1315 hours and land in Jammu at 1405 hours. The flight will leave Jammu at 1435 hours and arrive here at 1605 hours, a press release from the airline said.
 
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Tripartite MoU signed for tourism projects in Jammu & Kashmir

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A tripartite memorandum of  understanding (MoU) for implementation of tourism projects in Jammu and Kashmir was signed among the Union Ministry of Tourism,   NPCC and NBCC and the Government of Jammu and Kashmir here yesterday.
 
The MoU was signed in the presence of Tourism Secretary Vinod Zutshi. The signatories included  Tourism Joint Secretary Suman Billa, Mr Shamim Ahmad Wani, Managing Director, J&K Cable Car Corporation, Mr K K Sharma, Executive Director, NPCC and Mr  Alok Rastogi, Chief General Manager (BD), NBCC.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the Development Package (Reconstruction Plan) for Jammu and Kashmir on November 7, 2015.
 
The Ministry of Tourism under the new initiative has sanctioned several projects to NPCC and NBCC in the State for implementation in September 2017. These include integrated development of tourist facilities at Gulmarg-Baramulla-Kupwara-Leh by NBCC for Rs. 96.92 crore. NPCC will be involved in integrated development of tourist facilities at Mantalai-Sudhmahadev-Patnitop at a cost of Rs.  97.82 crore.
 
Major components sanctioned under the projects are Yoga centre, wellness SPA, log huts, heliports, open air theatre, walking trail, landscaping, solar lighting, solid waste management & public amenities, an official press release added.
 
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HCC awarded Rs. 368.6 crore contract by IRCON in J&K

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Infrastructure major Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) today said it had been awarded a Rs 368.6 crore contract by IRCON International Ltd for construction of a cable stayed bridge, including its approaches, across river Anji Khad in Jammu & Kashmir. 
 
The project is to be completed in 36 months, a press release from the company said here.
 
The bridge will connect tunnels T2 and T3 on Katra–Banihal Section of Udhampur–Srinagar–Baramulla Rail Link Project. The total length of the bridge is 473.25 m, including its approaches across the river. 
 
With a 290 metre long main span, this will be the longest cable stayed bridge for Indian Railways, the release said.
 
The release said this is the fifth order HCC has received from IRCON International Ltd. 
 
The first order was to construct the 11 km long Pir Panjal Railway Tunnel, the longest transportation tunnel in India, which has been commissioned. The second and third order are for construction of 10.2 km long T48 tunnel between Sumber and Sangaldan stations and 5.1 km long tunnel T49A, which are currently under construction. The fourth order being executed is the construction of two main tunnels (T13 & part of T14) with parallel safety tunnels, a 200 m bridge adjoining these two tunnels and a station yard at Basindadhar.
 
Mr. Arun Karambelkar, President & CEO, HCC Ltd, said, “It is a matter of great pride that HCC is associated with IRCON in the successful completion of many of its projects. HCC has to its credit over 365 bridges and 320 kms of complex tunnelling in some of the most challenging geologies in the world, and has been actively participating in creating responsible infrastructure in the country."
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Jammu & Kashmir region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale, shook Jammu & Kashmir early this morning, a bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 33.3°N and longitude 75.5°E, occured at 0420 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, the bulletin added.
 
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Former J&K, Assam Governor Lt. Gen. S. K. Sinha passes away

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Lt. Gen. S. K. Sinha (retired), who had served as Governor of Assam and Jammu & Kashmir, passed away here today. He was 90.
 
Lt. Gen. Sinha had also served as India's Ambassador to Nepal in the early 1990s.
 
Born in 1926, Lt Gen Sinha graduated with Honours from Patna University in 1942 at the age of 17. He joined the Army soon thereafter passing out as the Best Cadet from the Officers Training School, Belgaum. He saw combat during the Second World War in Burma and Indonesia and after Independence in Kashmir.
 
The General commanded battalion of 5 Gorkha Rifles in Ladakh, a brigade in Manipur, a Mountain Division in Assam, Infantry Division in Jammu,  a Corps and a field Army in the Western Theatre. He also had the distinction of serving as Adjutant General and Vice-Chief of Army Staff.
 
During his varied career, Lt Gen Sinha, in 1949 was appointed Secretary of the Indian delegation for delineation of the Cease Fire Line in Kashmir. In 1972 he led the Indian delegation to Italy for a conference on application of human rights to warfare. In recognition of his service he was awarded Param Vishist Sewa Medal in 1973.
 
Appreciative of his work as India's envoy, the then Prime Minister of Nepal had said, "General Sinha was as much India's Ambassador to Nepal as Nepal's Ambassador to India". 
 
A prolific writer, he authored five books including one on Jammu and Kashmir Operation of 1947-48 and his autobiography, "A Soldier Recalls".
 
Gen Dalbir Singh, the Chief of the Army Staff, and serving and retired army personnel will pay homage to the ‘soldier statesman’ at Brar Square, New Delhi tomorrow, an official press release added.
 
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All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference delegation calls on Modi

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A 30-member delegation of the All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi here yesterday to brief him about development issues concerning the state.
 
The All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference is an apex body of Panchayat leaders of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The organization represents 4000 village Panchayats of Jammu and Kashmir, with 4000 Sarpanches and 29000 Panches. 
 
The delegation was led by the Chairman of the All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference Shafiq Mir. 
 
The delegation informed Mr Modi that the benefits of central assistance to the State have not reached the villages due to non-empowerment of the Panchayats, in line with the rest of the country. They also submitted a memorandum. 
 
They urged the Prime Minister to consider extension of the 73rd and 74th Amendments of the Constitution of India – which pertain to local bodies – to the State of Jammu & Kashmir.
 
They also demanded that elections to Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies in the State be held at the earliest. They said that elections held in 2011 had witnessed enthusiastic turnout of voters. 
 
Extension of these Constitutional Provisions to the State would empower the Panchayats to undertake basic development activities in the rural areas, they said. 
 
The members expressed that hope that such a step would accelerate the development process in the State, and enable the people to avail of benefits from various Central Government schemes. 
 
The delegation apprised the Prime Minister of the prevailing situation in the State. They strongly condemned the burning of schools by anti-national elements, an official press release said.
 
The body, which represents people at the grass root level in Jammu and Kashmir, reiterated its faith in the democratic institutions and processes in the country, it said.
 
Mr Mir said that a vast majority of the people of the State wanted a life of peace and dignity. Vested interests have exploited youngsters and were playing with their future. He urged the Prime Minister to take personal initiative to restore peace in Jammu and Kashmir. 
 
The Prime Minister assured the delegation that the Union Government will look into their demands. He stressed that growth and development of Jammu and Kashmir was high on his agenda. 
 
Development of the villages where a majority of people live, was vital to the overall economic development of the State. ‘Vikas’ and ‘Vishwas’ will remain the cornerstones of the Union Government’s development initiatives for the State of Jammu and Kashmir, he added.
 
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Centre releases Rs. 1093.34 crore for restoration of damaged infrastructure in J&K

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The Union Ministry of Finance yesterday released Special Assistance amounting to Rs. 1093.34 crore towards the first instalment for repair and permanent restoration of damaged public buildings such as schools, colleges, hospitals, bus stations and other critical public infrastructure in Jammu & Kashmir under the Prime Minister's Reconstruction Plan announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 7, 2015.
 
An official press release said a total sum of Rs. 2,000 crore has been provided for Permanent Restoration of Damaged Infrastructure under PM Reconstruction Plan for J&K. 
 
The Government of India has also given its approval on 27.10.2016 for one-time relaxation of Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) cost norms for restoration of damaged horticulture areas and development of horticulture in State. A total sum of Rs. 500 crore has been provided under this head as part of PM Reconstruction Plan for J&K. 
 
Earlier, as part of the Prime Minister Reconstruction Plan for the State of J&K, Special Assistance of Rs. 1194.85 crore was released in 2015-16 towards assistance for completely damaged/severely damaged/partially damaged houses and Rs. 800 crore was released on 26.4.2016 for interest subvention on account of assistance for restoration of livelihood for traders/ self-employed / business establishment, and so on.
 
The Prime Minister Reconstruction Plan for the State of J&K was announced by the Prime Minister on 07.11.2015 for Rs. 80,068 crore for post flood relief & restoration and long term rehabilitation/ development of the State including support for flood relief, reconstruction, flood management, assistance for small trade & business, development projects under roads and highways, power, new and renewable energy, health, human resource development, skill development, sports, agriculture and food processing, tourism, urban development, security and welfare of displaced people, Pashmina Promotion Project, and so on.
 
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Modi celebrates Diwali with jawans, people, near India-China border in HP

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Prime Minister narendra Modi today visited Sumdo near the India-China border, in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, to celebrate Diwali with soldiers of the Indian Army and paramilitary forces.
 
He interacted with jawans from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Indian Army, and offered sweets to them. 
 
Addressing the jawans, Mr. Modi said he had been visiting armed forces personnel every year on Diwali since 2001. 
 
He mentioned the tremendous response from people across the country, to his appeal for sending messages to soldiers as part of the #Sandesh2Soldiers campaign. 
 
The Prime Minister said that giving One Rank One Pension to ex-servicemen was a promise that he had made, and he was happy that he had been able to fulfil it. 
 
The Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Dalbir Singh, was present on the occasion. 
 
While returning from Sumdo, the Prime Minister halted briefly at a nearby village - Chango. He exchanged Diwali greetings, interacted with the people there, and offered sweets to children. 
 
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Minor earthquake jolts border between Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale, shook the border region between the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir and Pakistan today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 34.9°N and longitude 72.9°E, occurred at 1621 hours at a focal depth of 115 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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21 dead, 40 injured as bus falls into gorge in Reasi district of Jammu & Kashmir

 
21 dead, 40 injured as bus falls into gorge in J&K
At least 21 people died and 40 others suffered injuries when a private bus carrying them skidded off the road and plunged into a deep gorge in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir, official sources said.
 
Police sources in Reasi told NetIndian over the telephone that those killed in the mishap included nine women and 12 men.
 
The injured -- who included 19 women and 21 women -- have been admitted to nearby hospitals for treatment, they said, adding that some of the seriously injured were shifted to the Government Medical College and Hospital in Jammu.
 
The bus was on its way from Reasi to Bakkal when the mishap occurred near Gurnak around 3 pm, the sources said.
 
Jammu & Kashmir Governor N. N. Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed grief over the loss of lives in the accident.
 
Ms. Mehbooba instructed the district administration to extend all possible help to the families of the victims and ensure the best medical treatment for the injured.
 
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Cabinet okays establishment of an IIM in Jammu

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The Union Cabinet today approved the establishment and operationalisation of an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Jammu in a transit/temporary campus at Old Government College of Engineering & Technology from the academic year 2016-17. 
 
The project will involve a cost of Rs. 61.90 crore in temporary campus for the initial four years from 2016 to 2020. 
 
The student strength intake for this year in the Post Graduate Diploma Programme (PGDP) in Management is 54 which will progressively go up to a cumulative student strength of 120 in the 4th year, an official press release said.
 
Meanwhile, steps would also be taken up for setting up campus at Jammu and an out-campus in Kashmir region. The Detailed Project Report for the permanent campuses is under preparation and thereafter the process for setting up of the campuses would start, it said.
 
The Cabinet also approved formation of an IIM Jammu Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. IIM Jammu will be run and managed by the Society with a Board of Governors (BOGs) to be constituted by the Government of India, which will administer the institute and would be responsible for establishment and operationalisation of the institute. 
 
"This is a part of Prime Minister’s development package for Jammu & Kashmir. The Institute coupled with opening of IIT at Jammu, modernization of NIT Srinagar and opening of two new AIIMS institutions, one each in Kashmir region and Jammu region, would go a long way in meeting the requirement of high quality living and education in Jammu & Kashmir," the release said.
 
Indian Institutes of Management are the country’s premier institutions imparting best quality education in management on globally benchmarked processes of education and training in management education and allied area of knowledge. 
 
At present, there are 19 IIMs. Out of these, 13 IIMs are located at Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Indore, Kashipur, Kozhikode, Lucknow, Raipur, Ranchi, Rohtak, Shillong, Tiruchirappalli, and Udaipur.
 
Another six IIMs which have been started in 2015 are located at Amritsar, Sirmaur, Nagpur, Bodh Gaya, Sambalpur and Visakhapatnam.
 
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Army says recoveries of Naugam operation confirm Pakistan connection

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The Army today said recoveries made from the four terrorists killed on the Line of Control (LoC) while trying to infiltrate in Naugam sector three days confirmed Pakistan's complicity in abetting and equipping terrorism.
 
The grenades and UBGLgrenades recovered them had Pakistan Ordnance Factory markings on them.
 
"The hand grenades recovered are ARGES 84 which are manufactured by Pakistan Ordnance Factories. Pakistan origin markings are also seen on the medicines and eatable items recovered," an official press release said.
 
"A large number of highly inflammable material, like six plastic explosive slabs, six bottles of petroleum jelly, six bottles of inflammable liquid and six lighters were also recovered," it said.
 
The release said similar inflammable material was recovered at the site of the Poonch incident on September 11 and Uri incident on September 18.
 
"This shows the sinister design of Pakistan to aid terrorists in causing maximum destruction," it said.
 
According to it, the other items recovered from the terrorists include four AK 47 rifles, 16 AK 47 magazines, 349  rounds of ammunition, one radio set, one GPS,  one pair of binoculars, two wire cutters, one Samsung mobile telephone, four rain ponchos and haversacks, one first aid kit, and clothing and eatable items.
 
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Moderate earthquake jolts border region between J&K, Pakistan

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An earthquake of moderate intensity, measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale, shook the border region between Jammu & Kashmir and Pakistan this afternoon, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 34.4°N and longitude 73.8°E, occurred at 1334 hours IST at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin said.
 
The epicentre of the earthquake was around 66 km from Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK).
 
The tremors were felt in the Kashmir Valley, parts of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province in the northwest of Pakistanand some areas in Pakistan's Punjab.
 
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