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Poised for rapid development

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By K.N. Pandita

The State seems poised for rapid development particularly in technological and industrial fields and in next five years, an economically much developed J&K State is likely to appear on the map of India. The positive signal has come from Union Minister of State for Science and Technology, Dr Ashwani Kumar saying that 12 new initiatives have been taken for specific research programmes and advanced training for the youth in Jammu and Kashmir. “A total of 12 new initiatives have been taken by the Ministry of Science and Technology for specific research programme and advanced trainings to the youth in the State,” Kumar informed Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in Srinagar.  University groups interested in specific research programmes would be encouraged and trained in research activities under the scheme called ‘Respond’.   Continue Reading…

On Kashmiri language, literature and script

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By Dr. K.N. Pandita

Last month I was invited to a couple of book releasing functions at the Cultural Academy, Jammu. The books, both prose and poetry, were authored by Kashmiri men of letters. I was even bestowed upon the honour of chairing two such functions.

I do not write in Kashmiri, and I am not one among contemporary Kashmiri writers, poets or critics. As such, I thought I was least qualified to function either as the chairperson of these functions or as chief guest. But my age must have prompted the organizers to show me respect and I am beholden to them.  Continue Reading…

Mughal Road: A Vision

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By K.N. Pandita

Minister for Forests and Environment, Mian Altaf says that the much awaited Mughal Road will be thrown open to vehicular traffic this fiscal year. He claimed that work on the construction of the road was in progress on both ends. This is good news and brings relief to the people of Rajouri and Poonch districts who had to travel a long circuitous road to reach Srinagar. The demand for reconstructing the Mughal Road as the second link to valley has been there for decades but owing to several reasons, especially the security reason its reconstruction had been delayed inordinately. The link established by the militants infiltrating from Poonch, Rajouri, Mandi areas and then making it over the Pir Panchal ridges to Ramban, Kishtwar and Doda became the catalyst to speeding up the construction of this road. Apart from that the road when declared motorable will drastically impact economic and cultural life of Rajouri and Poonch districts.  Continue Reading…

Hurriyat (G) and Osama

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By K.N. Pandita

The European Union delegation, while on a visit to Kashmir Valley, cancelled a scheduled meeting with the Hurriyat (G) leader Sayyid Ali Shah Geelani and the Bar Association. They gave no reason for the last minute change of mind. Obviously, what weighed with them was Geelani’s call to Kashmiris for offering prayer in absentia for Osama. In doing so, Geelani identified himself, his organization and those who responded to his call, with world’s top most terrorist and his terrorist organization. This is the gravest wound inflicted by Geelani on the “freedom movement” in Kashmir. He left the western world in no doubt that this was not a “freedom” but a terrorist movement, which, despite taking a heavy toll of life in Kashmir, had not as yet quenched the thirst for more innocent lives of his compatriots. Only weeks ago, Geelani had visited the camps of the minority community of Pandits in the valley and assured them of guarantee to safety of life. How should one interpret this dichotomy of the separatist leader?   Continue Reading…

Criminals at PDC

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By K.N. Pandita

Report of the Comptroller and Auditor Genera (CAG) on six hydro-electric power projects in J&K State reveals total inefficiency and incompetence of the State government in implementing very essential projects of power generation with the result that the entire system presents a story of collapse and  abject chaos. One shudders on noticing the callousness of the authorities supposed to be running the entire power generating plans. The CAG has noticed time and cost overruns of incredible magnitude. The report reveals that all along the government has been telling lies and cheating people. The excess expenditure on these six power generating projects escalated from 41 per cent to whopping 687 per cent adding up to Rs. 1,700 crores. The delays were from four to 16 years. The details of each project as given in the CAG report should, without loss of time, ask for legal prosecution of the concerned authorities for wasting public money and for breach of trust.  Continue Reading…

World Press Freedom Day

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By K.N. Pandita

Every year, May 3rd is a date which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom; to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.  3rd May was proclaimed World Press Freedom Day by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a Recommendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991. It serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom — a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors, and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered. It is a date to encourage and develop initiatives in favour of press freedom, and to assess the state of press freedom worldwide. It serves as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics.  Continue Reading…