Charari Sharief faces landslide threat, 66 families evacuated

charIrfan Rashid

Budgam, Mar 30: Atleast 66 families in Charari Sharief have been shifted to safer locations by district administration in view of landslide threat, while around a dozen of houses are on the threshold to collapse across the Constituency due to incessant rains that lashed the valley.
As per reports, a portion of hillside above Chont Naad village of Charari Sharief has developed cracks causing impending threat to 36 houses. Eye witnesses said that inmates of the houses facing threat of sliding land fled their houses.
They said on receiving information a team of officers led by Incharge Tehsildar Mohammad Shaban from district administration visited the area to take stock of the situation.
“All the affected families have been provided temporary shelter in a government school,” Incharge Tehsildar said.
A total of 3 families from Hafat Naad village, 2 from Kakawring village, 13 from Tilsara village and 12 from Main Town have been shifted to safer places, Incharge Tehsildar said while giving details of the evacuation.
Meanwhile local shopkeepers around Shrine have started to shift goods in their shops to safer places fearing collapse of the hillock on the rear side.
“I carried all the material of the shop to my home to keep it safe,” said Fayaz Ahmad, a shopkeeper near Old Bus Stand.
The road connecting the town with Srinagar was closed in the morning due to heavy landslides and later road developed cracks around Gulshan Abad area halting the traffic.
“The drivers prefer to keep their vehicles in New Bus Stand rather than plying to shrine as half of the road has slid into the gorge,” said Suhail Malik, a driver.
Noorani Public School in the Trajbal area of the town has developed cracks in the rear side causing fear among the students.
“Till the school gets repaired, officials should declare it closed,” said a group of students.
Meanwhile the electric transmission to the town from last two days has not been repaired. Diesel generators have been started in the shrine to provide electric supply. Repeated attempts to contact JE Mohammad Jamaal could not materialize as his phone was switched off.
Naib Tehsildar Charari Sharief, Mohammad Shaban told Rising Kashmir that over 50 families have been shifted to safer locations and administration has also made adequate arrangement for their food and other basic amenities.
He said administration has decided to keep the affected families in the shelters because of continuous threat of landslides and prediction of more rainfall in coming days.
Presently these families are staying in Government Model Degree College, Old Waqf School, Government Middle School Gulshan Abad and other schools.


Bhand Theatre Wathora observes World Theatre Day

‘To revive Bhand Pather, make it thematically relevant to contemporary times’
• ‘Folk theatre has the potential to become most popular art form in future’

Irfan Rashid
Budgam, Mar 27: National Bhand Theatre Wathora observed World Theatre Day yesterday in Budgam highlighting the importance of theatre and urging government to pay attention to this declining folk art.
A veteran Bhand and President National Bhand Theatre Wathora, Gh Mohi-ud-din Aajiz on the occasion while speaking to theatre artists said, “If you really have to revive it, help it to become an independent institution. Make it thematically relevant to contemporary times.” “The government should equally pay attention to resurrect the theatre.” Aajiz who is 64 and seventh generation Bhand said.
Before the 1950s, Bhand Pather was a celebrated tradition in villages.
The Bhands were the only credible and critical source of information about local and political happenings. They would enter a village in the dark, holding torches mounted on long bamboo sticks, and within a minute or so the village would come alive with the sounds of jesters.
The village of Wathora in the Budgam district of Kashmir, 12 kilometers from Srinagar is the home of a community of Bhands, the traditional performers of the valley.
Spread over a number of mohallas on the banks of a stream, these people move from place to place with their extensive repertoire. In one of the localities called Balapora, there is a local shrine whose yard is used for performing rehearsals.
This village is one of the few dozen villages of Kashmir who know the art of Bhand Pather.
“More than 100 groups have abandoned Pather. Without any governmental assistance, they had no choice. Conditions were so desperate that some Bhands sold their instruments. Others took on menial labor. And if this continuous, Kashmir may lose this cultural identity soon,” said Aajiz.
Some Bhand groups that still exit are sustained by Academy of Art, Culture and Languages (AACL) and are beholden to the authorities, lauding ministers and bureaucrats in their plays; and some others have taken to commercial media such as television.
Lately, however, some local theatre veterans have shown an interest in reviving this art form.
“Kashmiri folk theatre, in spite of its present impasse, is to be recognized as an energetic and energizing medium of expression which is intimately and organically related to the local culture. Today all arts are drifting away from theoretical generalizations which propose naive dogmatic and reductionist formulation of the economic, social and cultural reality of man. They celebrate foregrounding the all-inclusive, miscellaneous and heterogeneous condition of man in particular space and time,” said Dr John Babu, who has specialization in folk theatre and teaches at Central University of Kashmir, Department of Convergent journalism.
Since folk-theatre is inherently equipped with means of representing the here and now, it has a tremendous scope of becoming the most popular form of art in future, he said, adding, “ It derives its strength not from any classical models set by any pre-existing texts, as does the elitist drama, but from miming and parodying the living people around.”

IGNOU on crutches in Kashmir

Fails to streamline distance learning, Counsellors to boycott Sunday classes


SRINAGAR: Indira Gandhi National Open University’s (IGNOU) approved academic counsellors of all the on Thursday decided to boycott coming two Sunday classes as a mark of protest against non-release of their payments since March 2014 by the regional centre.
The bills related to counselling, evaluation of assignments and conduct of practicals are pending from last more than a year causing much inconvenience to the counsellors to smoothly conduct the Sunday classes without getting any payments.
“In this regard, the competitive authority has been informed time and again to clear all our pending dues. However, despite our repeated requests, no action till date has been taken to resolve this matter,” said an academic counsellor at Study centre number 1209 of SP College. The academic counsellors of this study centre have decided to boycott classes on 29th march and 5th April. “We will continue then boycott till our genuine demands are not fulfilled and will not even evaluate the assignments of June 2015,” said an academic counselor wishing not to be named.
Official Sources from Regional IGNOU centre told Rising Kashmir that the cause of the delay was the unapproved counsellors who are appointed by the study centres coordinators without getting them approved by the Regional centre in time. “In December 2014, Regional centre IGNOU had asked letter from every study centre coordinator giving details of approved and unapproved counsellors. In reply sent in January 2015, regional centre had said that many study centres do not conform to the norms of the IGNOU while forwarding the bills for procession.
Again in February 2014, one more letter by regional centre was sent to study centres reading that the Bills have been sent for approval to central office Delhi, “said an Official source. As per sources, presently there are dozens of counsellors who have been teaching in IGNOU study centres from more than three years but are not approved by the regional centre and still continues to teach. “I can teach in any study centre and students under my guidance will never be questioned by any authority but those students who study under guidance of an unapproved counsellor, their degree can be challenged by authorities tomorrow,” said an approved counsellor, wishing anonymity.
Despite repeated attempts to contact Incharge Regional Director IGNOU Srinagar, Dr A Rehman could not materialize. However sources said that he has left for New Delhi after the counsellors demanded release of long pending dues. Meanwhile no one bothered to take call on landline number of IGNOU Regional centre Srinagar.

‘Start journalism course at Hr Sec, College level’

Irfan Rashid
SRINAGAR: Kashmir Media Scholars’ Society (KMSS) has demanded inclusion of journalism course at higher secondary and college level in the state.
KMSS is an amalgam of journalism pass-outs, scholars and contractual teachers of the state. Presently, journalism courses are taught at undergraduate level only in two colleges of the valley including Government Degree College Baramulla and Government Women’s College MA Road, Srinagar.
At postgraduate level, journalism course is being currently taught at University of Kashmir, Islamic University of Science and Technology, and Central University of Kashmir.
“Over the last one decade and more, media industry has witnessed unprecedented growth. Therefore, media has emerged as a viable career option for many youngsters who are eager to join the course at undergraduate level as it is offered at only two places,” said Isra Amin, a NET qualified media scholar.
“Many people question the relevance of the media course but it is more relevant than those courses whose scope a student can find only in big industries outside and not here,” she added.
Waqas Khan, a Convergent Journalism passout, said there is a dire need of including journalism course, which is a job-oriented course, in different institutions of the state.
For girls, living in and around Srinagar city aspiring to learn the craft of journalism, at least 20 of them can get admission in Government Women’s College MA Road. “But boys of the city and those living in south Kashmir have to travel all the way to Government Degree College Baramulla where again they have to compete for limited seats in the college,” said Khalid Khan, a first year student in Anantnag Degree College.
Khan cited his own example. “I wanted to join BA Journalism but keeping in view the distance that I’ll have to cover daily from Anantnag, I took a non-professional course here,” he said.
Saquib, a contractual lecturer at Government Degree College Baramulla and a member of KMS stressed on the need for inclusion of media courses in colleges and higher secondary schools of the valley. “There is a greater role of professional courses in higher education as it fetches more jobs than conventional courses,” he said.
Presently, nearly 140 students are pursuing bachelors in media studies with the help of six contractual teachers and not a single permanent faculty has been appointed by the higher education department so far.
“Everyone here in a conflict zone is concerned about quality news which a journalist can give only when he has learnt journalism at the basic higher secondary and college level, “said Zahid Maqbool, a contractual lecturer of Government Women’s College MA Road.
Presently, 50 girls are pursuing undergraduate journalism course with just four contractual teachers.
Only contractual teachers are appointed by higher education department to teach in two colleges of the valley.
“There is no stability for contractual teachers. They can be thrown out at any moment and despite a work load more than that of permanent faculty are always seen deemed as under-performing and less proficient at teaching,” said a contractual lecturer, wishing not to be named.

2 years on FMPHWs without salary

SRINAGAR: A delegation of Female Multipurpose Health Workers (FMPHW) working in the state’s health department alleged on Monday that no salary has been paid to them from over a year, pushing them to face miseries.
“The FMPHW working in Kashmir province have not been paid their salaries for last thirteen months, which has made their plight worse. The problem is persistent for several years, no permanent solution for it has been found till date and the FMPHW continue to suffer,” said Amina Bano, FMPHW posted at central Kashmir’s Budgam district.
She along with her colleagues urged that the matter be sorted out and taken up with appropriate authorities by new government to ensure regular disbursement of salaries to them henceforth.
They said that Female Medical Health Workers were doing their services honestly in the health department but the callous approach of the department towards these health workers forced them to face miseries. They further said that we are not getting our salaries for the last 13 months due to which our families are starving. Economic situation has become so worst that has affected study, health look after and even entire kitchen budget of our families.
Despite repeated pleas and protests regarding highlighting their long pending demand of releasing pending salaries of 13 months, and to regularize the salaries month wise, our pleas are heard by deaf ears, they alleged. However, instead of giving hearing to their demands government use to turn Nelsons’ eye. “Every festival passed through charmless and even celebrated with down hearted because of unaffordable condition. However, the medical department never seemed to do the justice with us and left us as unclaimed employees without having the salaries for the last 13 months,” they miffed.
Talking to Rising Kashmir NRHM Mission Director, Dr Yashpal Sharma hung up the phone after saying that he was in meeting. Meanwhile Regional Director NRHM Dr Shazia Wafai assured to look into the matter and address it on priority.

Aspirants urge govt to speed up recruitment process by JKPSC

SRINAGAR: The assistant professor aspirants who had submitted their applications in JKPSC back two years staged a protest on Saturday in press colony to bring attention of new government towards fulfilling the vacant posts.
Under the banner of ‘NET/SET/PhD Candidates Forum’ these aspirants were demanding to accelerate the process of recruitment of Assistant Professors in the higher education department advertised in year 2013 vide notification no. 09-psc (DR-P) of 2013 dated 23/05/2013 and re-advertised in 2014 vide notification no. 12-PSC (DR-P) of 2014 dated 29/05/2014.
As per first notification, only 1287 posts were advertised but later on as per second notification 1657 posts were notified. Even JK High Court had stayed the appointments on appeal by MPhil Holders who were declared ineligible by JKPSC.
Talking to Rising Kashmir, score of aspirants lamented that even after lapse of more than two years, the mentioned posts remain unfilled, while as the career of thousands of aspirants remain lurking.
President of the forum, Dr Malik Yasir, PhD in Economics science said: “All the appointments whether contractual or permanent in the department of higher education should be on the guidelines of UGC and we should get justice after studying for nearly 20 years.”
Contrasting the position of a teacher holding PhD degree here and in foreign, Dr Muneer Mir, PhD Arabic literature said: “The cream of the society is considered a teacher in foreign who is given highest respect but here we the scholars have to come on the roads first to make a knock on sleeping ears.”
Talking to Rising Kashmir, Chairman JKPSC Latief ul Zamaan said: “It won’t take long time for us to process the case once we receive the orders by the ministry.” Nayeem Akhtar, Minister for Education told to this reporter on phone: “Recently I had meeting with Advocate general regarding this case as it is not only their problem, it is my problem also as our colleges are suffering due to inadequate staff.”

Waterlogging woes continue

Padshahi Bagh, Soiteng inundated since months, people stage protests

SRINAGAR: The residents of Padshahi Bagh Wednesday staged a protest against administration for failing to install dewatering pumps in the area. In the vicinity of the city, Inhabitants of Padshahi Bagh and Soiteng are facing immense inconvenience in absence of proper drainage system while the locality is waterlogged since the last many months.
Aggrieved locals said that concerned officials had assured locality of drainage system but not a penny was released for the project. They said the lanes and by-lanes in the locality remain waterlogged for most part of the year and particularly from last year flood. “For the past many years we have been moving from pillar to post to get the drainage system repaired. However our requests met with deaf ears. There are over 70 households in the Soiteng locality and the flooded streets have hampered our smooth movement,” said Mohammad Ayub, a local.
Now after schools are re-opened, people can be seen taking their kids on shoulders while wading through the ankle deep water. Another local, Zahoor Ahmad accused the authorities of failing to provide basic amenities in the area. “Our locality remains inundated with sewage water coming out of drains. Children and women are the worst sufferers. There is possibility of epidemic if immediate remedial measures are not taken,” said Zahoor Ahmad, a resident of Padshahi Bagh. Fed up of frequent waterlogging and related issues, some of the locals plan migration. “During summers, entire area is engulfed with pungent smell. We often shift our children and elderly to other areas to save them from water borne diseases. With authorities acting as mute spectators to the serious issue, we are left with no option but to migrate,” they said.
The locals said that continuous waterlogging has caused dampness in the houses. “There is every possibility that houses will collapse due to dampness,” locals said. “We make a fervent appeal to the concerned MLA Javid Mir to resolve the issue on priority. After that we will be forced to take to streets and launch an agitation,” they said.