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- Issue notices to hotels flouting pollution norms in Gulmarg: HC
Wants Pollution Control Board to crack down on defaulters
Tribune News Service
Srinagar, July 2
Taking note of the fact that hotels at the famous tourist resort Gulmarg are running without sewage treatment plants (STPs), the High Court has said it is “amazed” by the non-compliance with the Pollution Control Board (PCB) rules in this regard.
The court has directed the PCB to comply with the objectives tasked upon it under the environment protection Act, pollution control norms and various statutes by issuing notices to the hotels violating the norms.
These directions were issued by a division bench comprising Chief Justice MM Kumar and Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur today in a public interest litigation filed by Mohammad Rafiq Zargar, wherein he had sought intervention of the courts in safeguarding the eco-sensitive areas of Gulmarg and Tangmarg from illegal constructions.
As per rules, all hotels having a capacity of more than 19 rooms are supposed to have an individual STP facility in case a common STP facility for the hotels is not available. However, during a spot inspection of various establishments, including hotels and restaurants, at Gulmarg by the Gulmarg Development Authority official in May it was found that not even one hotel had an STP facility that was functional.
“We direct the PCB to comply with its objectives tasked upon it under various statutes, like air, water and environment protection Act and various other statutory rules,” the bench said in its orders today.
“We are amazed by the fact that no efforts are made by the PCB by issuing notices to the defaulters (hotels violating PCB norms),” it said after the appearing counsel for the PCB undertook before the bench that “steps will be taken to comply with all the legal obligations and the directions issued by the court in May.
The bench also directed the JK Chief Secretary to comply with the time schedule fixed by the court over taking action against the leasehold violations by different hotel and hut owners. The bench said the “court cannot be taken for granted as for as the schedule fixed for deciding such matters is concerned.”
“The Chief Secretary shall have to file a proper application giving reasons for any extension in schedule,” the bench added.
-As per rules, all hotels having a capacity of more than 19 rooms are supposed to have an individual sewage treatment plant (STP) facility in case a common STP facility for the hotels is not available
-During a spot inspection of hotels and restaurants at Gulmarg by the Gulmarg Development Authority official in May, it was found that not even one hotel had an STP facility that was functionalCommentQuote0Flag
- Union Cabinet approves Rs 710 cr for roads in J-K
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 3
The Union Cabinet today gave its approval for sanction of Rs 710 crore under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) to Jammu and Kashmir as a special one-time dispensation for the cost of land acquisition, covering compensatory afforestation, forest land, trees, private land and structures for completion of programmes under the scheme.
The amount would be released in two tranches and would enable the state to expedite completion of the PMGSY projects.
The approval came at the meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today.
The Cabinet also approved the change in the nomenclature ‘Hill States’ under the PMGSY to ‘Special Category States’. This would include Assam on a par with other north-eastern states and would increase the Central share from 75 to 90 per cent for the state.
The Cabinet also approved an expenditure of Rs 2,866 crore for implementation of the proposals.
The PMGSY was launched in 2000 with the objective of providing all-weather connectivity to all unconnected habitations with a population of 500 and above (250 persons and above in hill states, desert areas, as identified under the Desert Development Programme), tribal Schedule-V areas and 82 selected tribal and backward districts as identified under the Integrated Action Plan in rural areas.
Till May 31, project proposals for providing connectivity to approximately 1.32 lakh eligible habitations have been sanctioned. The total cost of sanctioned projects, including projects for upgrade of roads, under the PMGSY is approximately Rs 1.5 lakh crore.
Against this, approximately Rs 1.04 lakh crore has been released to states/Union Territories, including admin strative costs.
The states have reported that a total length of 3.8 lakh km roads, including upgrade, have been constructed till May 31, 2013, and about 93,000 eligible habitations have been provided new connectivity.CommentQuote0Flag
- Udhampur-Banihal highway gets Rs 11,000-cr revamp plan
Tribune News Service
Jammu, July 6
The Union Ministry of Roads, Transport and Highways has given its approval to the proposal of allocating an additional Rs 11,000 crore for the widening of the 79-km treacherous and toughest Udhampur to Banihal section of the Jammu-Srinagar highway.
The ministry will soon table the approved proposal before the Union Cabinet to get the final clearance and will award the contracts for execution of the project thereafter.
The road widening is the part of the ambitious project of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for the four-laning of the 286-km-long stretch of the Jammu-Srinagar highway, which will end the isolation of Kashmir Valley with rest of the country during harsh and snowy winters.
The four-laning project has been divided into six sub-projects, which include widening of Jammu-Udhampur road (65 km), Chenani-Nashri tunnel (9.2 km), widening of Ramban-Udhampur road (43 km), Banihal-Ramban road (36 km), Qazigund-Banihal road (15.25 km) and Srinagar-Banihal road (67.7 km).
“The Ministry of Roads has approved the proposal for an additional sum of Rs 11,000 crore for the two projects, namely widening of the Udhampur-Ramban and Ramban-Banihal stretches for which the tenders to execute the four-laning work are yet to be awarded. The ministry will soon send the proposal to the Union Cabinet for a final clearance and the allotment of work will be done thereafter,” Project Director NHAI, Jammu, RP Singh, said.
The project director, who supervises the widening of the highway from Jammu to Banihal, said the estimated cost of the four sub-projects-other than the widening of the Ramban-Udhampur road (43-km) and the Banihal-Ramban road (36 km)-was over Rs 9,000 crore.
He said 58 per cent of the work had been completed and hoped the project will be completed within the stipulated time. “The work is being executed at a nice pace and we will complete the four-laning work on the 65-km stretch of the highway from Jammu to Udhampur by June next year,” he claimed.
Residents have been eagerly waiting for the completion of the project as it would reduce the distance between Jammu and Srinagar by 50 km. It takes 9 to 10 hours to travel on this stretch and it would take just five hours to cover the same after the project is completed, that too, avoiding the treacherous points on the highway.
The major structures of the four-laning project include two major tunnels viz the country’s longest road tunnel between Chenani and Nashri and the 8.5-km-long Quazigund-Banihal tunnel, besides the 6.2-km long 12 short tunnels, 34 major bridges and 24 viaducts. The two major tunnels will end the snow-related blockage and traffic jams that last several days on the highway. The four-laning project was started in 2011 and the deadline for its completion is May 2016.
The four-laning project has been divided into six sub-projects, which include widening of Jammu-Udhampur road (65 km), Chenani-Nashri tunnel (9.2 km), widening of Ramban-Udhampur road (43 km), Banihal-Ramban road (36 km), Qazigund-Banihal road (15.25 km) and Srinagar-Banihal road (67.7 km).CommentQuote0Flag
- Act swiftly against misuse of farm land, HC tells govt Says it doesn’t want a Uttarakhand-like tragedy in J&K
Srinagar, July 10
Observing that it does not want a “situation parallel to Uttarakhand” in Jammu and Kashmir, in which so many lives have been lost, the J&K High Court has asked the state government to act swiftly against the conversion of agricultural land for non-agriculture purposes.
The court warned that “otherwise” the entire Kashmir could get “converted into a concrete jungle.”
The court also issued a show-cause notice to the J&K Government to explain how a “tainted” official with corruption charges against him had been appointed the Chief Executive Officer of the Sonamarg Development Authority, which is entrusted to develop the Sonamarg tourist resort.
These orders were passed by a division bench of the high court headed by Chief Justice MM Kumar today in a public interest litigation filed by an NGO calling for a ban on the conversion of agrarian land into residential land.
The orders followed after an interim application was filed by the petitioners in which it was pointed out that at the Dharin area in Ganderbal district, a vehicle showroom was being constructed in violation of the high court directions and it was also submitted that a tainted official had been appointed to head the Sonamarg Development Authority.
In its earlier direction on June 4, the high court had directed the state government to ensure that no conversion of agricultural land was allowed for commercial, residential and industrial purposes.
“Mr MA Chashu (government counsel) accepts notice according to the averments made that one Shri MY Bhat, who is facing charges (of corruption) under FIR 41/2003 at police station, Vigilance Organisation Kashmir, is allowed to man the Sonamarg Development Authority (SDA). The respondents to show cause that how such a person is allowed to man the key post”, the bench said in its orders while issuing a show-cause notice to the government.
However, after passing the orders, the bench in its observations also asked the government to act fast against the conversion of agricultural land and illegal constructions along river banks and other eco-sensitive areas of Kashmir.
“You have to act swiftly because otherwise the whole Kashmir can get converted into a concrete jungle”, the bench headed by Chief Justice observed. “We don’t want a situation parallel to Uttarakhand in J&K, that is so unfortunate that so many lives have been lost”, it added in its observation.
LAND CONVERSION: A MAJOR CONCERN
- The conversion of agricultural land for non-agriculture purposes, especially for construction, is emerging as a major concern as far as food security and limited resources in the state are concerned
- As per the J&K Economic Survey 2011-12, the operated area under agriculture in the state shrunk from 9.26 lakh hectares in 2000-01 to 9.23 lakh hectares in 2010-11, thus registering a decrease of 0.041 per cent. As pointed out in the survey, one of the prime reasons for decrease in agricultural land holdings has been attributed to its conversion for construction and other purposes
- On April 15, the high court had directed the state government to come up with a detailed report on the steps taken by it for stopping conversion of agricultural land for non-agriculture purposes in the Kashmir valley
- The authorities had also been directed to inform the court about its plans to accommodate the increasing population in their respective districts on modern lines by planning innovative integrated housing projectsCommentQuote0Flag
- NHAI to woo pvt investors to maintain Jammu-Srinagar highway
To pay Rs 26,000 crore in 17 years to developers
Tribune News Service
Jammu, July 10
Stung by the paucity of funds, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has treaded the annuity path to woo private investors to develop and maintain the four-laning project of the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, which will end the isolation of the Kashmir valley with the rest of the country during harsh winters.
Official sources said the NHAI, which is the nodal agency of the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, would pay Rs 26,000 crore to private developers during the concession period spanning 17 years, excluding three years of construction, to compensate them for the capital cost and the operation and maintenance expenses of the project.
“The four-laning of the Jammu-Srinagar (national highway) is being carried out under the built, operate and transfer (BOT) basis. The Ministry of Roads had initially some reservations over such a huge amount to be paid as annuity to the private sector. However, it finally given its consent and six developers will be paid an annuity of Rs 26,000 crore during a concession period of 17 years,” a senior officer privy to the decision told The Tribune.
The officer said though an emphasis was also laid on completing the four-laning project under BOT — toll funding model to abate the load on the fiscal arising out of annuity liability, the Ministry preferred to make payment to the private investors on an annuity basis and the toll rights would be retained by the NHAI.
The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways applies both BOT (toll) and annuity models for development of highways in the public-private partnership mode.
Under the BOT— toll funding model, the private investor is entitled to receive a viability gap funding of up to 40 per cent of the project cost and earns revenues from the project in the form of toll through the concession period. It transfers the project to the government after the concession period.
On the other hand, the annuity model states that the developer gets a return on his investments in the form of fixed semi-annual payments (annuity) by the government through the concession period. There is no provision of viability gap funding and the toll rights are also retained by the government.
The project has been divided into six sub-projects, including widening of the Jammu-Udhampur road (65 km), Chenani-Nashri tunnel (9.2 km), Ramban-Udhampur road (43 km), Banihal-Ramban road (36 km), Qazigund-Banihal road (15.25 km) and Srinagar-Banihal road (67.7 km).
The four-laning of the existing 286-km-long national highway was started in 2011 and the project would be completed in five years from its commencement. It will reduce the distance between two capital cities (Jammu and Srinagar) by 50 km.
The 9 to 10 hours travel would be covered in just 5 hours, that too, avoiding the treacherous points on the highway.
The major structures of the project include two long tunnels viz country’s longest road tunnel between Chenani and Nashri and 8.5-km-long Qazigund-Banihal tunnel, besides 12 short tunnels, having a total length of 6.2 km, 34 major bridges and 24 viaducts.CommentQuote0Flag
- Illegal constructions
HC issues notice to Gulmarg Development Authority CEO
Tribune News Service
Srinagar, July 12
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has issued a show-cause notice to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Gulmarg Development Authority (GDA) for his slackness in allowing construction of two structures at Drung, a newly development tourist spot near Tangmarg in north Kashmir.
These orders were passed by a Division Bench of the high court after the CEO in his report had admitted that two structures (hotels) had come up in the Drung area despite the fact that the owners of these structures had no building permission from the authorities concerned.
The court is hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Mohammad Rafiq Zargar wherein he had sought intervention of the high court in safeguarding eco-sensitive areas of Gulmarg and Tangmarg from illegal constructions. The matter was listed before a Division Bench recently.
As per the previous direction, any new construction in eco-sensitive areas of Gulmarg and Tangmarg has been banned by the high court.
As directed on previous occasion, the CEO in his status report had also admitted that the GDA was approached for grant of building permission which was denied accordingly.
However, after taking the status report by the CEO on record, the high court in its orders observed that the officer concerned had expressed his helpless in stopping these constructions. It expressed its surprise that how these constructions had come up without building permission.
“Show cause to the CEO, GDA, why action against him is not initiated for allowing two structures to come up at Drung area,” the high court said in its orders.
Observing that the officer concerned had shown complete slackness, the Bench also observed that salary of such officers who are not able to discharge their duties must be stopped.
The Bench also said: "The high court is the custodian of the land at Gulmarg and Tangmarg and no other court will pass orders related to the matter being dealt in the PIL."CommentQuote0Flag
- High Court for action against encroachers at Gulmarg
Directs Chief Secretary to file compliance report within one week
Tribune News Service
Srinagar, July 25
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has granted the Chief Secretary one week to comply with its directions on taking “suitable” action against land grabbers and encroachers at Gulmarg.
It also issued a show-cause notice to former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Gulmarg Development Authority (GDA) to explain his conduct in allowing illegal constructions at the Drung area of Gulmarg.
These directions were passed by a division bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice MM Kumar and Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur.
The court is hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Mohammad Rafiq Zargar wherein he had sought intervention of the high court in safeguarding eco-sensitive areas of Gulmarg and Tangmarg from illegal constructions.
The high court had on May 15 directed the sub-committee headed by the Divisional Commissioner to prepare a final report about the lease holders and the violators within a month and submit the same to another high-level committee headed by the Chief Secretary by or before June 15.
It had also directed the high-level committee headed by the Chief Secretary to initiate “suitable” action on the ‘final report’ by the sub-committee with regard to the illegal encroachments and land grabbers within two weeks.
“The Chief Secretary was given two weeks’ time to comply with the court orders. However, till date no report has been filed. Let the order dated May 15, 2013, be complied with,” the bench said in its orders today while directing the Chief Secretary to file a compliance report in this regard within a week.
The Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, in the status report to the Court in May had said that a total number of 84 cases had been granted lease hold rights at Gulmarg by the authorities concerned from time to time. Out of them, the lease period in 26 cases had expired.
The court also directed the Chief Town Planner to file a status report on the master plan.
The high court while taking note of the structures which have come up in the Drung area of Gulmarg in violation of the court directions and without valid building permission, today also issued a show-cause notice to former CEO of the GDA Mehmood Ahmad, directing him to explain his conduct as to how illegal constructions had come up during his tenure. The court further observed that otherwise it will initiate suitable action against him. Mehmood is currently the Deputy Commissioner, Sales Tax.
In the meantime, the court directed the authorities concerned to snap water and electricity connections of the illegal strictures which have come up at Drung.CommentQuote0Flag
- Jammu’s groundwater ‘polluted, unfit for human consumption’
Jammu, July 26
Groundwater in 31 areas of the winter capital has contaminants that make it unfit for human consumption. A study conducted by Jammu-based scientist Dr Pragya Khanna observed this disturbing trend in Chatha, Lower Gadigarh, Satwari, Gangyal, Deep Nagar, Digiana, Babliana, Kunjwani Kaluchak, Greater Kailash, Narwal Bala, Sidhra, Nagrota, Jagti, Nagrota Panjgrain, Dhounthly, Peerkho, Gole Gujral, Waziran Wali Gali, Bohri, Ram Vihar Janipur, Gurah, Company Bagh, Gandhi Nagar, Shastri Nagar, Nai Basti, Rampura, Trikuta Nagar, Trikuta Nagar and Nanak Nagar.
Incidentally, at least 80 per cent of the population in the Jammu region relies upon ground water.
Pragya conducted her research on 13 parameters of physico-chemical analysis such as pH (measure of acid, base properties) , electrical conductivity (EC), carbonate (CO3), bicarbonate (HCO3), chloride (Cl), sulphate (SO4), nitrate (NO3), fluoride (F), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), sodium (Na), potassium (K), iron (Fe), total hardness (TH) as per standard methods (APHA, 1989).
“For the present study, various samples of groundwater, from hand pumps and tube wells, were collected from the different locations of Jammu city. The results were compared with drinking water specifications of WHO and IS (International Standards): 10500, 1991 (reaffirmed in 1993) and BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards),” said Pragya.
While pH was found in the range of 7.15 to 8.35 (permissible range is 6.5 to 8.5 as per IS:10500 for potable drinking water), the carbonate concentration was almost zero at all places except Sidhra and bicarbonate ranged from 134 to 836 mg/litre. The acceptable limit of carbonate and bicarbonate is 75 mg/litre and 30 to 400 mg/litre, respectively.
The presence of high concentrations of bicarbonate in Satwari, Digiana, Kunjwani, Kaluchak, Greater Kailash, Narwal Bala, Nagrota, Gura, Company Bagh, Nai Basti, Ram Pura, Trikuta Nagar can cause nutritional disturbances, such as reducing the availability of calcium and the uptake of iron, she said.
While chloride and sulphate were well within the permissible limits, nitrate content varied in the range 0 to 92 mg/litre, which was higher than the prescribed limit of 40 mg/litre at selected places like Digiana, Kunjwani, Narwal Bala, Sidhra, Nagrota, Bohri, Company Bagh, Shastri Nagar and Nanak Nagar.
Similarly, the fluoride content in groundwater was found from 0.0 to 1.6 mg/litre, which was towards the higher side at Satwari.
Though a small concentration of fluoride in drinking water has beneficial effect on human health for preventing dental caries, concentration of fluoride higher than that of 1.5 mg/litre carries an increased risk of dental fluorosis and even higher concentration could lead to skeletal fluorosis, she said.
The groundwater samples of Jammu do not meet the standards set by IS:10500, WHO and BIS, she said.
Crossing permissible limits
Carbonate and Bicarbonate: The carbonate concentration is almost zero at all places in Jammu except at Sidra. Bicarbonate ranges from 134 to 836 mg/litre. The acceptable limit of carbonate and bicarbonate is 75 mg/l and 30 to 400 mg/l, respectively. The high concentration of bicarbonate can cause nutritional disturbances, such as reducing the availability of calcium.
Nitrate: The nitrate content in certain areas varied in the range 0 to 92 mg/litre -- higher than the prescribed limit of 40 mg/l. The high nitrate content can cause gastric problems.
Calcium: Human body requires approximately 0.7 to 2.0 grams of calcium per day as a food element but excessive amounts can lead to the formation of kidney or gallbladder stones. The desirable limit of calcium in water is 75 mg/l while in the present samples it ranged from 38 to 162 mg/l.
Sodium: The sodium content of groundwater samples ranged from 6.5 to 170 mg/l while the permissible limit is 50 mg/l . An increased intake of sodium can be problematic for people with hypertension, heart disease or kidney problems.CommentQuote0Flag
- Draft land use plan to be opened for public scrutiny
Srinagar Development Authority to place draft Master Plan in public domain by middle of August
Tribune News Service
The Srinagar Master Plan will be placed in the public domain to seek suggestions from the people on the Land Use Plan for the proposed Greater Srinagar Metropolitan Area.
This was announced today at the technical committee meeting held under the chairmanship of Srinagar Development Authority (SDA) vice-chairman Mohammad Shafi Rather.
Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) vice-chairman Irfan Yasin, Municipal Commissioner GN Qasba, R&B Kashmir Chief Engineer MA Lone, Chief Town Planner (Kashmir) Hakeem Iftikhar, J&K Chief Architect VC Pant and architectural consultant Muneer Ahmad Khan were present at the meeting.
“Members of the committee, after taking a detailed review of the draft Master Plan, put forth some suggestions, including provision for flyovers, widened road networks, subways, dedicated parking lots, recreational facilities and new housing and commercial centres, to be incorporated in the Land Use Plan. At the same time, it stressed the need of having a Master Plan that goes in tune with the socio-economic profile of the Srinagar city,” a SDA spokesman said.
A discussion was held on various contours of the Master Plan, including education, information technology, industry, agro activities, tourism, handicrafts and medical city.
Members at the meeting were informed that after incorporating feasible suggestions put forth by the Technical Committee for the Master Plan, the document would go for an interim approval to the Minister for Urban Development, Nawang Rigzin Jora.
“After the approval by the minister, the draft Master Plan would be uploaded on the SDA website to seek opinions from the general public,” the SDA vice-chairman said. He said the draft Master Plan would be placed in the public domain by the second week of August.
The members were informed that for the first time the Srinagar Master Plan would include the Zonal Plans, wherein the Land Use Plan would be enumerated at the micro-level.
The midterm review of the Srinagar Master Plan 2000-2021 was undertaken by the SDA in February 2012 to suggest ways to make the document more realistic and feasible in consonance with the ground realities, besides taking care of inaccuracies in the existing Master Plan.
Pertinently, the SDA Board, in a landmark decision last month, had approved extension of the Greater Srinagar local area from the existing 417 km to 757 km.CommentQuote0Flag
- Water supply scheme goes for a toss
Budgam residents face potable water problem even in the holy month of Ramadan
Tribune News Service
Srinagar, August 3
Many villages in central Kashmir's Budgam district are facing an acute shortage of water as the Public Health Engineering (PHE) Departmental is yet to finish the work of supplying tap water to homes. Villagers said they failed to avail the benefits of the water supply scheme under the National Rural Water Drinking Programme.
The Central and state governments have sanctioned a number of PHE schemes to provide safe drinking water to every citizen of the state particularly in the remote areas and those which have not been covered yet. But the implementation of these schemes remains an elusive dream in Budgam district, one of the most populous districts of Kashmir.
Amidst sweltering heat and the month of Ramadan, residents of a majority of the villages in this district have been forced to fetch water from borewells and tubewells clearly unfit for drinking.
Despite repeated representations of village heads to the authorities concerned, Budgam residents said no action had been taken to speed up the construction work of water tanks and laying of water pipes.
"There is a water reservoir in Batapora, Budgam, where the water tank has been built. But there is no connectivity of most of the villages with this water tank because the construction work has been abandoned. In the month of Ramadan too, there was no serious effort made by the authorities to ensure the availability of potable water to thousands of residents of this district," said Muhammad Ashraf, a resident of Wadwun village in Budgam district.
“The people here are prone to water-borne diseases as the tubewell/borewell water is unfit for drinking. Our panches and sarpanches had met PHE and Irrigation Minister Shyam Lal Sharma and apprised him of the sluggish approach of the agencies concerned in the implementation of these schemes. But, even when the holy month of Ramadan is on the verge of completion and Eid around the corner, authorities seem to be not bothered about it," said Irshad Ahmad, a local panch.CommentQuote0Flag
- Metro network proposed for Srinagar
Tribune News Service
Srinagar, August 5
The Srinagar Development Authority (SDA) has proposed laying of a Metro network for Srinagar to overcome the problem of traffic congestion in the city.
The Metro lines have been proposed from Gallandar in the south to Narbal Chowk in the north and from Nowgam Railway Station to Ganderbal on the northeast.
As per an official statement, the proposal was put forward during a high-level meeting held here today under the chairmanship of Minister for Urban Development & Urban Local Bodies Nawang Rigzin Jora to review the progress of Srinagar Master Plan.
“In the meeting, it was informed that the scarcity of quality and planned road networks and lack of organised parking facilities in Srinagar led to traffic congestion, which would aggravate further in the coming time. To overcome the traffic and transportation problems in the city, the SDA has, in the new master plan, proposed a network of light Metro and mini Metro, besides suggesting a network of new roads, flyovers, grade-separators and subways for Srinagar,” the statement read.
The proposed Metro line from Gallandar, once set up, would pass through Pampore, Sumarbugh, Panthachowk, Sonawar, Dalgate, Lal Chowk, Jehangir Chowk, Batamaloo, Bemina, JVC, Parimpora, Zainakote and Lawaypora before culminating at Narbal Crossing.
The other Metro line will originate at the Nowgam railway station and after moving over to Bagh-e-Mehtab, it would pass through Chanapora, Natipora, Rambagh, Mehjoor Nagar, Jawahar Nagar, LD Hospital, Jehangir Chowk, Barbarshah, Baba Demb, Khanyar, Nowhatta, Hawal, Alamgari Bazaar, Bagh-e-Ali Mardan Khan, Nowshehra, SKIMS, Soura-Buchpora, Pandach to culminate at Ganderbal.
As per the proposal, Jehangir Chowk will be the junction of the two Metro lines, which will provide reliable connectivity to the core area of the city.
It was informed that before being put in the public domain, the draft master plan would be throughly reviewed by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.
Pertinently, the technical committee has already put forth its suggestions on the master plan, which stand incorporated in the draft land use plan.
Housing and Urban Development Department Commissioner Secretary Jeet Lal Gupta, SDA vice-chairman Mohammad Shafi Rather and Lakes and Waterways Development Authority vice-chairman Irfan Yasin were among those present in the meeting.
The SDA board, in a landmark decision last month, approved the extension of the greater Srinagar local area from 417 square km to 757 square km.
-The Metro line from Gallandar will pass through Pampore, Sumarbugh, Panthachowk, Sonawar, Dalgate, Lal Chowk, Jehangir Chowk, Batamaloo, Bemina, JVC, Parimpora, Zainakote and Lawaypora before culminating at Narbal Crossing.
-The other Metro line from the Nowgam railway station and would pass through Bagh-e-Mehtab, Chanapora, Natipora, Rambagh, Mehjoor Nagar, Jawahar Nagar, LD Hospital, Jehangir Chowk, Barbarshah, Baba Demb, Khanyar, Nowhatta, Hawal, Alamgari Bazaar, Bagh-e-Ali Mardan Khan, Nowshehra, SKIMS, Soura-Buchpora, Pandach to culminate at Ganderbal.
-Jehangir Chowk will be the junction of the two Metro lines.CommentQuote0Flag
- Bul-Bul Lankar to be developed on heritage pattern
Tribune News Service
Srinagar, August 5
Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Ali Mohammad Sagar today directed the officials concerned to carry out the necessary acquisition of space at Bul-Bul Lankar in old city so that the area can be developed on the "heritage" pattern.
The minister's directions came during a meeting held to discuss the status of various developmental activities undertaken by the government for ensuring the development of Srinagar.
Sagar said the government had already envisaged a comprehensive plan for developing the Bul-Bul Lankar-Aali Kadal area on the heritage pattern as it had a pivotal role in the history of the state. He directed the officials to prepare a project report for undertaking the construction of a community hall in the area as soon as possible. The hall was announced by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah while presenting the newly renovated shrine of Bul-Bul Sahib to people.
The minister directed PDD officers to realign electric poles under the ambit of the Syed Mirakh Shah Road project so that other works and the landscaping can be carried out by the concerned departments.CommentQuote0Flag
- Govt may delay regularisation of unauthorised colonies
Jammu, August 10
The Jammu and Kashmir Government may delay the implementation process to regularise unauthorised colonies in the twin capital cities of the state, keeping in view the opposition by separatists. The government is treading cautiously on the issue.
The coalition partners, National Conference and Congress, have differences over the plan, which may delay the process. If the plan is implemented on time, it could bring additional funds from the Central government for improving the condition of various shanty inhabitations.
Sources said while the Congress was pushing to speed up the regularisation plan as most of the colonies were in Jammu, which could help the party in the Assembly elections, the National Conference (NC) had reservations, keeping in view the opposition by separatists in the Kashmir valley. Separatists groups have alleged that people from outside the state were being settled in Jammu and Kashmir.
Hundreds of residents of about two dozen unauthorised colonies in Jammu and Srinagar cities, who are mostly poor people, have remained without the benefits of several welfare schemes launched by the Central government, as they do not figure in government records.
“There is the issue of state subject and non-state subject. A survey is being carried out to identify people living in these colonies so that only those get the benefits of the scheme who are state subjects,” said an official.
Hundreds of people from outside the state have made J&K their home in the recent past, who are not entitled to buying land or other benefits enjoyed by the residents of the state, keeping in view the special status.
“Though instructions have been issued to officials of the Jammu Development Authority, Srinagar Development Authority and the J&K Housing Board to expedite the process and make necessary recommendations, the final decision may take time. It is a very sensitive issue,” said a source in the Housing Department.
Managing Director of the Housing Department Kiran Wattal said, “The regularisation process cannot be started till the survey is completed.”
Wattal said a global consultancy firm, Infrastructural Professional Global Enterprises, had been hired to conduct a new survey of requirements of slum colonies, which have come up in recent years. “Most of the areas identified have primitive drinking water and sanitary conditions, despite government’s claims that many projects have been taken up to improve their situation.”
The proposed colonies for regularisation include Sanjay Nagar, Balmiki Colony, Shiva Colony, Channi Rama, Kacha Talab, Goswami Colony, Hyderpora (Janipur), Puran Nagar, part of New Plot, Vikas Nagar, Shant Nagar, Qasim Nagar, Kabir Colony (BC Road), Indira Colony (Janipur), Gorkha Nagar, Jogigate/Gujjar Nagar (left out), Basant Vihar, Gorkh Nagar Extension Bahu Fort, Mohalla Masjid Bagh-e-Bahu and Nai Basti/Rampura in Jammu.
Some slums in Nowgam and Parimpora in the Kashmir valley are also being regularised.
Though instructions have been issued to officials of the Jammu Development Authority, Srinagar Development Authority and the J&K Housing Board to expedite the process and make necessary recommendations, the final decision may take time. It is a very sensitive issue
—A source in the Housing DepartmentCommentQuote0Flag
- Govt clears air on property tax
Says Property Tax Board must for access to Central funds
Jammu, August 19
As the clamour for the government’s proposed legislation to impose tax on commercial and residential properties in the state grows louder, the ruling dispensation has sought to clear the air about the controversy, saying “the constitution of the J&K Property Tax Board is a prerequisite for uninterrupted access to money from the Central government”.
The government also hinted that it was in no mood for immediate imposition of property tax on commercial and residential properties as the coalition partners - National Conference and Congress - fear losing votes in the 2014 parliamentary and Assembly elections.
On August 16, the state Cabinet, headed by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, had approved the constitution of the J&K Property Tax Board. The Board would study various models of property tax across the country and recommend some “suitable models” for its implementation in the state.
It has been entrusted with the task for suggesting “people-friendly” tax slabs so that the public doesn’t feel burdened and local bodies, which would implement the tax, also earn good revenue.
“The constitution of the Property Tax Board is a prerequisite for access to funds from the Centre under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and other Centrally sponsored schemes. It doesn’t mean the government is immediately levying tax on the people. It is all rubbish (to create propaganda against the legislation),” said Nawang Rigzin Jora, Minister for Urban Development.
Members of the civil society and separatists, including hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, have opposed the imposition of property tax, alleging that the proposed legislation would put financial burden on the people in the state.
The Urban Development Minister said the government was left with two options, including constitution of the Property Tax Board and holding the urban local bodies elections to access funds from the Central government, as the Centre had blocked some grants of the state for delaying the implementation of urban tax reforms.
“We are yet to conduct the urban local bodies elections in the state. And, if we don’t constitute the Board, the Central government may slash our money under the JNNURM, 13th Finance Commission, and even for major projects sanctioned to the Economic Reconstruction Agency,” Jora said.
The minister, however, said the imposition of property tax was a “political decision” and it could take time to implement it effectively.
Under the property tax law, it is proposed that up to 10 per cent tax would be imposed on all commercial and four per cent tax on residential properties falling within the limits of the municipal corporations of Srinagar and Jammu.
In municipal committees, three per cent tax would be levied on commercial properties, and in municipal councils, commercial properties would be charged up to seven per cent and tax on residential properties would be a maximum of three per cent.CommentQuote0Flag
- File report on steps taken to remove encroachments along Sindh: HC
Tribune News Service
Srinagar, August 25
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has granted the authorities a week’s time to file their report about the steps taken to remove encroachments and illegal constructions along the banks of the Sindh river in Ganderbal district.
These directions were issued by a Division Bench of the high court in a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Qazi Rashid Shams, seeking removal of illegal structures and constructions along the banks of the Sindh in the district.
On August 21, while expressing its dismay over non-seriousness of the authorities concerned about removing encroachments along the river, the high court had directed the authorities concerned to file their status report with regard to the demolition of illegal structures and encroachments along the banks of the Sindh in Ganderbal district within two days.
However, as the matter came up again before the Bench this week on Friday, advocate general MI Qadri representing the state government submitted that the authorities had already undertaken demolition drive along the banks of the river in Ganderbal district.
He, however, sought time to file the action taken report by the authorities, which was granted by the court. While granting time, the court in its orders directed the authorities concerned to file the action taken report by August 29, when the matter has been fixed for hearing again.
On July 10, the high court had also asked the Chief Engineer, Irrigation and Flood Control (I&FC), who is the in charge of the areas along the banks of the river, to remove the illegal structures and directed him to file a status report in this regard within six weeks.
In his status report filed last week, the Chief Engineer, I&FC, had, however, submitted that his department was facing problems in carrying out its mandate with regard to the protection of the Sindh.
He had further submitted that no definite limits for restricting any construction on the banks of the water bodies had been defined in the J&K Water Resources (Regulation and Management) Act, 2010, nor had any directions been provided by the high court in this regard, as had been issued by the high court in respect of the Dal Lake and the Lidder river.
He had further submitted that no records with respect to the exact banks of the Sindh were available with the department and the same had been sought from the Revenue Department authorities in 2011.
Earlier, a court appointed commission in its inspection report had pointed out many illegal constructions and structures, which have come up along the banks of the Sindh in recent times. The report, which was submitted to the high court on May 4 in 2012, had said that many such structures, including hotels, were reportedly owned by influential people.CommentQuote0Flag