Minister of State in the PMO, Jitendra Singh, today laid the foundation stone of a 10-kW FM transmitter with studio facility at Malhar.
Speaking on the occasion, Singh said the establishment of the radio station at Udhampur was a pending demand of the locals. He emphasised that this would provide a suitable platform to the local artistes of the area as there was no place for them to show their talent. He said the radio station would play an important role in reflecting the folk art of the area.
Later, Jitendra Singh also inaugurated a post office passport seva kendra, which was organised by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Department of Post, at the Head Post Office in Udhampur. The minister said after Jammu and Srinagar, Udhampur was the first district to get such kind of kendra.
The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has denied having received any written correspondence or submission from Jammu and Kashmir, seeking exemption of toll tax at Ban Toll Plaza set up on the Jammu-Udhampur National Highway.
The ministry’s position has come as a shocker for the residents of Nagrota and Dansal blocks in the Jammu district as Member of Parliament from the Jammu-Poonch parliamentary seat Jugal Kishore Sharma, who belongs to the ruling BJP at the Centre, had publicly claimed that he had used his “good offices” to “get exemption of toll tax for locals of Nagrota, Jammu and Katra.”
“There is no information available on the subject with the coordination division,” the Union ministry said in a single-line response to an RTI query filed by Jammu-based activist Raman Sharma who had sought to know whether Sharma and Nagrota MAL Devender Singh Rana had made any written correspondence to the Union Road Transport Ministry or any other senior officer of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) seeking an exemption of tax at Ban Toll Plaza, Nagrota.
On September 10 last year, Sharma, who was then state BJP president, in his official statement, had claimed that “the demand for the exemption of tax at the Ban Toll Plaza, which was raised by the locals of Nagrota and other adjoining areas, got fulfilled from the Union Ministry for Road Transport and Highways with his efforts.”
“According to the decision taken by the Road Transport Ministry, the people living within 20-km radius will not have to pay any toll tax while plying their vehicle on the Jammu-Udhampur road and those from Jammu district and Katra will have to pay just Rs 220 per month for the same purpose,” he had claimed in his statement.
Similarly, the National Conference had also claimed that the party’s long struggle and series of protests had forced the toll authorities to waive the tax for the people of the Nagrota constituency.
At present, the local residents of Dansal and Nagrota blocks, except living within 20-km radius of toll plaza (travelling distance), are being charged fully for every trip, while those residing within 20-km radius of toll plaza have been issued passes and they are being charged Rs 225 per month for using the highway.
The NHAI officials said that on an average 25,000 vehicles cross Ban Toll Plaza on a daily basis.
One terrorist has been killed in encounter with security personnel while 3 CRPF jawans have been injured in the operation, according to CRPF sources.
Traffic has been stopped at J&K National Highway by security forces for the safety of passengers, according to ANI.
Reports say terrorists opened fire at the CRPF team when they stopped a bus for checking.
This is the second attack in the state by terrorists in the last 24 hours.
On Sunday, six policemen were injured in a militant attack in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district.
The policemen were injured when militants fired at a police party at Bonigam Qazigund (Kulgam).
The police party was on a routine patrolling of the area when the militants attacked them.
Protests continued for the second consecutive day today against the transfer of Udhampur Deputy Commissioner Dr Shahid Iqbal Chowdhary, who has been shifted as Additional Secretary to the office of the Chief Minister in Srinagar.
Crossing party lines, representatives of all major political parties, Bar association, Beopar Mandal and social organisations of the town urged the Chief Minister to review the transfer order.
A massive protest was held outside the DC’s residence this morning when people disallowed the officer to move to attend a function
Jagdish Bhardwaj of the National Conference said in so many decades Udhampur got an effective DC who changed the meaning of development, but it was “regretful that some forces not happy with the proactive dealing of officer acted for his transfer”.
BJP leader Pawan Khajuria while talking to mediapersons said the party recognised the brilliant work done by the DC, Udhampur, and had raised its concern before the high command for reviewing the decision in view of mass resentment among people.
Former MLA Balwant Singh Mankotia said that youth of Udhampur would not allow this to happen Former minister Harsh Dev Singh has filed a petition before the Centre for quashing the pre-mature transfer against service rules. Surinder Singh Khalsa, chairman, Beopar Mandal, expressed resentment over the transfer.
The road outside the DC Office was blocked for nearly two hours and protesters refused to lift dharna. Later, the DC reached the spot and requested the protesters to lift their dharna.
A deputation of more than 500 people from Latti has reached Udhampur to meet the DC and lodge their protest. Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner and senior officeials remained busy in pacifying protesters and restoring essential services.
Commuters availing the Jammu-Udhampur rail services are facing hardships due to less frequency of the Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) trains.
The Railways has suspended two of the four DMU trains to extend express trains to Katra, the base camp of the Vaishno Devi shrine.
Due to the cancellation of the DMU trains, the other overburdened trains to Udhampur and Katra see additional rush of passengers.
After the start of the train to Katra in July 2014, all four DMU trains, running between Pathankot and Udhampur via Jammu-Tawi Railway Station, were extended to Katra along with an express train (Shri Shakti Express).
As the four DMU trains to the Vaishno Devi shrine started witnessing a huge rush of pilgrims, the authorities extended 15 trains to Katra but suspended two DMU trains. The other two DMU trains travel only up to Udhampur.
“The DMU was the most convenient and cheapest mode of transport for us for the last 10 years, but after the suspension of two DMU trains, the other two run fully packed and most of the time passengers have to hang on the doors of the train,” said Ashok Sharma, a commuter.
“We have requested the Railways and also written to the Railway Ministry and the Minister of State in the PMO, Jitendra Singh, to restore the suspended DMU trains, but nothing has been done so far,” Sharma added.
“Students from Udhampur studying in Jammu, especially girls, are facing more problems due to the heavy rush in the DMU trains,” said Sushil Kumar, another passenger.
Sudhir Kumar, Divisional Traffic Manager, Railways, said: “We have extended almost all trains up to Katra via Udhampur. Due to the limited line, we had to suspend two DMU trains. The other two DMU trains are running up to Udhampur.”
“Following the avalanche advisory issued by the MeT department in the wake of ongoing heavy rainfall in the state, the authorities have decided to close all the schools in Doda and Udhampur districts,” an official said.
MeT department has predicted heavy rainfall and also issued avalanche warning in the district for today and tomorrow, Chief Education Officer of Doda, Mohd Ashraf Rather said, adding that holiday has been declared in schools to avoid any inconvenience for children.
Examinations for the academic arrangements which were scheduled to be held on 12th and 13th of this month have also been postponed till further orders, he said.
The administration has also declared high alert in several areas in the mountainous Doda district.
As a precautionary measure we have been forced to declare high alert in areas close to river Chenab and its tributaries, and also on slopes and slide prone areas of the district, Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Doda, Bhupinder Kumar said.
The DC has also directed all the officers to remain present at their respective headquarters and stay in contact with administration to deal with any emergent situation.
Director General of Police, K Rajendra Kumar has also directed the police administration to remain on high alert across the state to deal with any exigency that could arise due to the ongoing spell of heavy rainfall in the state.
Deputy Commissioner, Udhampur, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary has been conferred the state award for outstanding contribution to the field of electoral participation and showcasing best electoral practices at the Global Electoral Exhibition and Matdata Mahotsav, organised by the Election Commission in Delhi.
Shahid received the award for the best District Election Officer (DEO).
He was awarded for his contribution to various fields of electoral enrolment, participation and awareness. He was the DEO, Kathua, during the Assembly elections and the DEO, Reasi, during the Lok Sabha elections which registered record enrolment and participation.
Residents of Chenani today protested against opening of a liquor shop in their residential area and demanded the shifting of the same to some other place.
After the Supreme Court order, banning the sale of alcohol on the state and national highways to curb road accidents in the country, owners of liquor shops located on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway have now started shifting their shops from highway to interior areas such as in Chenani and Tikri. These led to protests in both these areas.
Talking to mediapersons, Rajesh Gupta, former president of the Chenani Beopar Mandal, said they would not allow any wine shop in Tehsil headquarters. He said it was quite amazing that even after a ban on the sale of liquor on highways, liquor vendors without having any NOCs and permission started relocating their shops into residential areas, that too near religious and educational institutions.
Act of negligence rectified, investigation ordered
In a case of gross negligence at District Hospital in Udhampur, doctors plastered the wrong leg of a five-month-old baby boy.
As per reports, Sudesh Kumar along with his wife Pinki, residents of Ritti, arrived at the hospital on Saturday and showed their son to an orthopaedic surgeon.
Meanwhile, a surgeon advised them to go for an X-ray. The parents got it done and showed the report to the doctor. The X-ray showed the left leg of the baby was fractured. The doctor advised them to get the fractured leg plastered and prescribed some medicines.
Reports said the baby was taken to the plaster room, where the paramedical staff plastered his leg and later handed him over to his parents.
Family sources said during the night, the baby started crying bitterlyand his parents tried to pacify him but failed. They took him to the District Hospital, Udhampur, again on Sunday.
When they contacted the doctor and told him that the baby had been crying throughout the night, the doctor checked the X-ray report and found out that the right leg of the toddler had been plastered instead of the left leg which was fractured, the family source said.
On being told that they had plastered the wrong leg of the baby, the paramedical staff removed the plaster from the right leg and plastered the fractured left leg.
“Investigation is underway at District Hospital, Udhampur, and a team has been constituted to find out what happened,” said Superintendent, District Hospital, Udhampur, Narinder Kumar.
Three Kashmiri passengers were thrashed by a group of Hindu miscreants at Udhampur, where four Kashmiri truckers were attacked—one of them died later in September this year.
According to Kashmir Media Service, the victims, Hilal Maqbool Malik, Yawar Hanief Butt and Bilal Ahmad Butt work as medical representatives for a pharmaceutical company.
“Around 11 am, we hired a taxi from Banihal Railway station to Jammu. We stopped at a Dhaba near Udhampur for snacks. Suddenly a group of men started thrashing us,” Hilal told media men.
“While raising anti-Kashmir slogans, they abused us. They also called us ‘anti-India,’” he added.
Terrorized by the incident, the passengers left the taxi and took a private bus to Jammu before boarding another bus for Chandigarh.
“The driver of the taxi was from Jammu and he did nothing to help us so we preferred to run for our lives rather than calling police,” another victim, Yawar said.
Kashmiri trucker Zahid Rasool Butt of Batengo, Islamabad, had succumbed at a hospital in Delhi after being immolated by a mob in Udhampur in September.