ERA procuring Chinese technology in first multi-level parking facility

IRFAN RASHID

SRINAGAR:

After floods postponed the deadline of First Multi-level parking facility in Srinagar, Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) has ordered to procure ‘Multi-level Puzzle Parking’ technology from China that would reach here within two weeks.
Using this technology would help keep 288 vehicles in 5 levels of parking that would ease the parking woes.
But the respite from the parking woes are not going to ease out soon as the Srinagarities would have to wait till June next year for the completion of valley’s first mechanized multi-level car parking facility.
With an aim to get relief from congestion and traffic jams, construction of parking facility was commenced by JK Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) at a cost of Rs 26.75 crore on 11 April, 2013.
The building consists of five levels for parking and three separate floors for commercial complexes and offices for the rehabilitation of companies existing at the site before the project’s commencement
As per the initial completion period, 18 months were given to the project. The facility was scheduled to be ready in February 2015. But the construction is far away from the completion target.
Despite the project receiving much hype from the previous government, it missed its first deadline and entered into its third year of construction. However, the officials from (ERA) said the parking space would be ready by June 2016.
This would be the first-of-its-kind mechanized multi-storied parking facility in the state which is being constructed opposite the Kashmir Motor Drivers Association (KMDA) bus stand on M.A road.
This parking facility is spread over 3,472 square meters. The contract is being implemented by Simplex Projects Limited and funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) under loan number 2925 IND.
Even Srinagar Development Authority (SDA) demolished several structures in Old KMD Yard in a bid to remove bottleneck for construction.
 “This was a very good step but authorities should speed up the project. Srinagar city faces problem of poor traffic. Traffic flow has increased tremendously in the last 12 years and the roads have not changed. This multi parking step by the government is very good and people will be benefited,” said Khalid Khan, while parking his car in Press colony parking slot.
Traffic congestion is becoming one of the worst problems in Srinagar as there are just few parking slots for nearly three lakh registered vehicles in the Valley.
The officials said they had proposed another multi-level parking slot near Residency Road, Press Colony, to improve traffic mechanism in Srinagar.
“The multi-level parking lot will accommodate nearly 288 vehicles simultaneously and it will help in reducing congestion on the roads of commercial hub. We have proposed another multi-level parking lot at Press Colony, Srinagar,” an official said.
While taking to Rising Kashmir, Director ERA, Malik Bashaarat said Floods caused heavy damage to our machinery which was under water and then labours left.
“Hopefully it will be ready by June 2016 as we are getting the technical support material from China which has been dispatched from there and we will be getting it soon,” said.

NYC president wears shroud as hunger strike continues

N

IRFAN RASHID

SRINAGAR:

After remaining hungry on Eid-Ul-Adha, National youth Corps began wearing white shrouds on Monday as a mark to declare “We won’t budge from here till we are dead or get assurance”.
Asif Ali Bhat, state president NYC wore a white shroud and lied on a cot (char pay) with white sheet of clothe on his whole body as if he is dead. Presently, only the NYC president wore the white attire and other members would follow in coming days.
Earlier, on first day of Eid, a huge congregation prayer was led by Tawkeer in the Pratap Park following which 20 members were hospitalized including the Imam. The non-Muslim members also took part in the prayers by remaining in the last lines and listening attentively to the sermon
The females had also joined them on Eid along with their parents.
Asif Ali, state president NYC threatened to give different mode to the hunger strike in coming days if the decision is not taken soon. “We are eagerly waiting for the cabinet meeting and hope to get positive decision.”

Govt fails to curb polythene menace

IRFAN RASHID

Srinagar:

Notwithstanding its tall claims over curbing the polythene menace in summer capital Srinagar, government has failed to keep a proper check on it this Eid.
Street in Srinagar are witnessing heavy rush of people while Eid shopping items are being carried in poly-bags and officials stand unmoved.
The use of polythene bags is rampant in the city despite the ban imposed by the state government. Implementing ban on polythene has become a herculean task for the Srinagar Municipal Corporation who once in a while constitutes a squad to throw few polythene bags out of shops.
Spending a few minutes at city-centre Lal Chowk reveals how hundreds of polythene bags are hanging in hands with Eid items like: Bakery, Confectionery, Clothes, Shoes, vegetables, meat, toys and so on.
Although knowing the fact that these polythene bags are inimical to the environment, residents and shopkeepers are not willing to put a stop to it.
Environmental experts say the use of polythene bags is not only dangerous to the aquatic life in local water bodies but it is also hazardous for human health. The sewerage pipes get choked with polythene bags as they are non biodegradable and cause sewage to overflow, thus becoming an abode of many ailments, experts say.
Besides this the stray cattle are often seen feeding on heaps of garbage dumped in polythene bags causing health hazards to domestic cattle.
The use of polythene was banned in the state through SRO-182 issued by the state government on June 18, 2008 under the Jammu and Kashmir Non-Biodegradable material (Management, Handling and Disposal) Act, 2007, but the use of polythene bags is going on unabated, says Nadeem Qadri, an environmental lawyer.
“Customers don’t bring their own bags and ask us for polythene bags. If we stop providing it, our business suffers,” a shopkeeper said while justifying use of polythene bags.
The government needs to take it seriously as it is a serious issue and should be dealt strictly.
The shopkeepers urge the government to provide them an alternative but “till date they only believe in preaching without ground work.”
Commissioner, Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), Showkat Zargar said: “We are sending our inspection teams; we will try to see that it is not done. I’ll just check it.” Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Farooq Lone, said: “I am not in Srinagar right now.”

Prices of essential commodities skyrocket on Eid

IRFAN RASHID

Srinagar:

Srinagar: Despite government issuing fixed rate list for chicken and mutton on Eid, however consumers have accused shoppers of floating the norms.
According to a delegation of consumers the norms are being floated in every nook and corner of the valley—especially in Srinagar.
There has been exorbitant price rise in last three days across valley ahead of Eid-ul-Adha and authorities are watching as mere spectators.
As the demand for mutton and chicken surges across the valley on the eve of Eid, sellers take consumers on a ride and throw fixed rates to the wind in broad day light.
The Consumer Affairs and Distribution Department (CAPD) who is responsible to keep check and vigilance over the price rise has allegedly failed to perform its duty.
Overnight the prices of mutton and chicken has increased by 20 percent as Eid-ul-Adha is on Friday which is affecting common man badly.
The government had fixed the rate for mutton as Rs.360 per Kilogram and Chicken as Rs.90 per kilogram. But reports say that the mutton across the city is being sold at Rs.400-420 and chicken at Rs. 120 -130per Kilogram.
The consumers from different areas of Srinagar city including Gojwara, Hawal, Khanyar, Soura, Eidgah and Habbakadal complained that the butchers were not following the government set rates.
An official from CAPD said that the lack of the support from police and other law enforcing teams was responsible for the violation to government rates.

Cakes for every occasion

Srinagar girl bakes mouthwatering cakes
Cakes for every occasion

IRFAN RASHID

SRINAGAR, SEPTEMBER 23:

Ever thought of having a beautifully designed cake on different themes! Meet Saina and she will design a cake which you would not have bought from Valley’s bakery shops.
After completing her education in Delhi, Sania Lone, 25, preferred to fly back to Valley to introduce innovative method of baking cakes.
From childhood, Sania was inspired by the baking skills of her mother but little did she know, that she will turn inherit culinary skills and become among the few pastry chefs of Kashmir.
After her BBA from Amity University Delhi, instead of pursuing post-graduation and landing up in unemployed club, she pursued a short training to polish her baking skills.
 “I was always interested in baking and cooking but I wanted to give it a professional touch,” says Sania.
In Valley, the number of female cake chefs could be counted on finger tips and Sania is now among the few girls who have turned the baking into a fulltime business.
“I have passion of making cakes. In Delhi I was doing good and there I had a good scope but I thought to do it in Kashmir and introduce new varieties of cakes,” says Sania.
Nowadays, Sania is pretty busy in registering orders for the designed cakes.
“I am hopeful, I would get scores of orders ahead Eid.”
To curtail the monotony in traditional Kashmiri cakes, she has added some new varieties of cakes in Kashmir.
 “I also make lace cakes, cup cakes of different designs. This is something which is totally new in Kashmir,” says Sania.
She is currently managing all the baking from her home kitchen. “I am planning to open a café in Kashmir where all these varieties will be served.”
Sania remembers the response she received for her first order.  “After coming back from Delhi, I knew it’s not going to be easy in Kashmir but the responses I got from people are overwhelming. When I baked the first cake on order I was nervous whether they would like it or not, but they appreciated it and next day from the same family I got orders for more cakes” says Sania.
To become successful in any profession, family support plays a vital role and Sania has been lucky for getting family support.
“My mother has been encouraging my idea to take baking as a fulltime career.”
Sania had initially baked the cakes for her friends and relatives on their birthdays and weddings to satisfy her passion.
“I have my facebook page, some like it sweet, where I have more than 1100 likes in last three months. The idea is really working well, I think there is a big hand of young women in Kashmir to make it a developed place, the women can do great in every field if they are appreciated,” says Sania.
Usually her orders cost Rs 1500. She bakes chocolate cake, truffle, German cake, fresh fruit, cheese cakes, cup cakes, home-made cookies.
“When I buy things from market, I am very choosy about it. I like to make most of these ingredients at home. Some things are not available in Kashmir so I order them from Delhi,” said Sania.
Being in the beginning of her career, Sania does not want to over burden herself with lot of order and no to compromise with quality.
“I take feedback from people and improve every other day. This is the start for me and I know the quality work pays at the end so I don’t want to over burden myself.”
With young women choosing different careers in Kashmir, it is definitely going to be a new start for youth to pursue their dreams.
irfanrashid@risingkashmir.com

Mufti tours City, takes spot assessment of projects

Mufti tours City, takes spot assessment of projects

Irfan rashid

Srinagar:

Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Wednesday took a firsthand feedback on the progress achieved on various ongoing developmental projects in the summer capital in health, housing, culture and I&FC sectors. He also inspected the under-construction SPS Museum, near Lal Mandi.
The Chief Minister also gave directions for throwing open for traffic the newly-renovated old Habba Kadal bridge, keeping in view the heavy rush of people on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha.
The review of developmental projects is an ongoing process with the Chief Minister personally inspecting various sites and setting deadlines, in both the capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar.
Minister for Public Works, Floriculture, Gardens & Parks, Syed Altaf Bukhari, Minister of State for H&UDD and I&C, Mohammad Ashraf Mir and Minister for Health & Social Welfare, Asiea Naqash accompanied the Chief Minister.
Asserting that access to advanced healthcare sector will remain Government’s top priority, the Chief Minister fixed a deadline of two years for expansion of SKIMS Medical Hospital at Bemina, for which Rs.150 crore have already been allocated. The project envisages construction of a new block with additional bed capacity of 250 to be able to bear the ever-increasing patient load on the hospital. Besides new laboratories, the project will also cover construction of a new lecture hall and a hostel for SKIMS Medical College, so as to meet the norms fixed by the Medical Council of India (MCI).
With bed capacity of 230, SKIMS Hospital at Bemina is adequately staffed. The intake capacity of MBBS students at the College has been enhanced to 100 while as the paramedic staff is sourced from SKIMS’ Nursing College, whose intake capacity has also been increased to 100, the Chief Minister was told.
The Chief Minister gave directions for proper landscaping of the sprawling hospital lawns, which, he said will add to the ambiance of the hospital premises.
Mufti Sayeed also inspected the work on under-construction maternity hospital at Bemina where he fixed June 2017 deadline for construction of two additional floors, which will be dedicated to paediatric care, till the Government constructs an independent paediatric hospital in close proximity of the Lal Ded Maternity Hospital. He also visited the G. B. Panth Hospital at Sonwar, where he interacted with the people and took review of the facilities being extended to them.
On his arrival at Rakh-e-Arth Colony being developed for Dal dwellers, Vice Chairman, LAWDA, informed the Chief Minister that around 1700, out of 4600 plots in the first phase, have been completed and allotted to the families shifting out of the Dal Lake. As many as 250 houses have been constructed on 7-marla plots provided to the relocated families.
The Chief Minister gave directions for firming up a comprehensive plan for providing all facilities which are essentially required in a model housing colony, including schools, healthcare, banking and parking facilities. He also asked the VC to devise a policy that secures livelihood of those families which depended on the lake and are shifting out to Rakh-e-Arth Colony.
On the instructions of the Chief Minister given in the last review meeting of LAWDA, the work on the project has been fast-tracked with I&FC Department providing access on river Jhelum to LAWDA for dredging and lifting of the material, which has resulted in 5600 tipper trips to earth-fill the land in the colony.
Built over an area of 7526 kanals, the work on the Rakh-e-Arth Housing Colony will be completed in three phases, at a cost of Rs.416 crore, out of which Rs. 325 crore are being funded under the state sector, with 90.90 crore being provided under Basic Services for Urban Poor (BSUP), part of the flagship JnNURM project. Each relocated family is being provided Rs.1.05 lakh for construction of his house.
The Chief Minister also gave instructions to explore the possibility of making rehabilitation of Dal dwellers part of the Dal Conservation Plan, for which the Centre has sanctioned Rs.298 crore.
Earlier, the Chief Minister arrived at Raj Bagh, where he was briefed about the restoration work of the 154-Metre Old Zero Bridge, being undertaken by the Public Works Department. Meant for light motor vehicles only, he stressed upon conserving the heritage value of the bridge and asked for completion of work within the stipulated timeline. Around 72 per cent of the work on the project has been completed, the Chief Minister was informed.
Mufti Sayeed was also briefed about the progress of work on the upcoming bridge near Presentation Convent School, as well as the renovation of the Tagore Hall.
On the issue of strengthening and beautification of Jhelum banks, the Chief Minister directed Chief Engineer I&FC to speed up ongoing works right from Zero Bridge to Veer, with special focus on banks on Old Assembly and Hanuman Mandir side. The Chief Minister also obtained firsthand appraisal about the ongoing works on dredging of riverbeds and fortification of the embankments. He also asked CE I&FC to landscape the parks alongside the banks, in particular Jhelum Park, for recreation of the people.
At SPS Museum, the Chief Minister expressed concern over the slow pace of work on the project. He instructed Principal Secretary to ensure that the Department of Archives, Archaeology and Museums and the Police Housing Corporation, the executing agency, work with greater synergy to complete the project well in time. The new instructions were given in the backdrop of timelines fixed by the Chief Minister during his earlier visit here.
Mufti Sayeed also gave strict directions for landscaping the unkempt lawns appurtenant to the Museum so that natural ambiance of the place is appropriately reflected. He also asked Director AA&M to ensure that the numismatics, artifacts and other objects, including the ones which had been salvaged during the devastating floods of 2014 are properly displayed.
Also accompanying the Chief Minister were MLA Batmaloo, Noor Mohammad, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, B. B. Vyas, Commissioner / Secretary Health & Medical Education, Dr. M. K. Bhandari, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Asgar Hassan Samoon, Director General, Information & PR, Zaffar Ahmad, VC LAWDA, Sarmad Hafeez, Director Health Services, Kashmir, Dr. Samir Mattoo, Chief Engineer, R&B, Kashmir, Satish Razdan, Chief Engineer, I&FC, Javed Jaffar, MD, JKPCC, Hameed Sheikh, MD PHC, Dilbagh Singh, Secretary to Chief Minister, M. H. Malik,  Deputy Commissioner, Budgam, Mir Altaf, Director Archives, Archaeology & Museums, M. S. Zahid, ADDC, Srinagar, Ajaz Ahmad Bhat, Principal GMC, Rafiq Pampori, besides several other senior officers of the concerned departments.

‘Visionary’ Tak Zainagiri remembered

Irfan rashid

Srinagar:

 Kashmir Concern Foundation celebrated “Tak Zainagiri” day at Amira Kadal higher secondary school on Wednesday.
Scores of intellectuals were present on the occasion including scholars, poets, journalists and students.
Naeem Kashmiri, a famous writer, was conferred Tak Zainagiri Memorial Award for his Kashmiri book Guloow Kathea Buezwe.
Justice (R) Bashir Ahmad Kirmani was guest of honour on the occasion. He shared his experience how he first time met Tak Zainagiri in 1976 when he was working as lawyer in north Kashmir.
“Tak sahib came to me and asked to become president of Handwara unit of Yateem trust,” said Kirmani.
 Kirmani shared how he helped Zainagiri to get remaining funds from the government when government had issued one lakh rupees for the trust but handed over only Rs 20, 000 as cash. “I asked Zainagiri to file a case in court where I was judge.”
He said Zainagiri was the forefather of Yateem trust culture in Kashmir “resulting in yateem trusts in every street of valley”.
He shared how one single Hadith transformed life of Zainagiri and made him visionary social worker. “The hadith of prophet SAW where he says ‘Whoever caresses the head of an orphan (in affection), solely for the sake of Allah, a good deed will be written to his account for every hair over which he passed his hand, and whoever treated an orphan with goodness and kindness, he and I will be close to each other in Heaven as these two fingers’ made him leader of yateem trusts here.”
Editor-in-chief Rising Kashmir newspaper, Dr Shujaat Bukhari was chief guest on the occasion. He termed Tak Zainagiri as visionary “who began such institutes for orphans at that time when the concept was not in anyone’s mind.”
“It was Zainagiri who laid foundation of JK Yateem Trust and due to his efforts now Kashmir has got orphanage in every village,” Bukhari said.
He asked Kashmiris to shun attitude of “self-praise” and instead should introspect. “We should identify our shortcomings and try to overcome them. We have to change ourselves and should not wait for any institution. We must begin change from self, then family…to make corruption free society.”
Aijaz Ahmad Kakroo appealed to the people of the valley to work for welfare of “yateems” and quoted Hadith of prophet SAW where he adopts a yateem on way to Eidgah.
Founder, Kashmir Concern Foundation, Advocate AR Hanjura explained why he prefers schools as a venue for such events. “We want these little students to know about our legends, so that tomorrow they may not say who these people were.”
He also distributed many copies of his book Bachan Hind Bainul Aqwami Hokook free of cost to the school.
This event was organized by Kashmir Concern Foundation in collaboration with Amira Kadal Higher Secondary, Radio Kashmir and JK Cultural Academy.