|J A M M U C
& CK A S H M I R
Wednesday, October 21, 1998
||Pak plan divides Hurriyat
NEW DELHI, Oct 20 A proposal on the future of Kashmir put before some prominent leaders of the Pakistan occupied Kashmir by Islamabad early this month has led to an intense debate in the All Party Hurriyat Conference with supporters of accession to Pakistan on one side and the pro-azadi factions on the other.
US envoy in
Pak plan divides Hurriyat
NEW DELHI, Oct 20 A proposal on the future of Kashmir put before some prominent leaders of the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) by Islamabad early this month has led to an intense debate in the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) with supporters of accession to Pakistan on one side and the pro-azadi factions on the other.
At a meeting held in Islamabad in the first week of October, some PoK leaders, including Mr Ghulam Nabi Naushari and Mr Ghulam Nabi Saifi, were told that some friendly foreign governments were working on a proposal for the future of Kashmir which envisaged the creation of an independent state in the valley with the Muslim-dominated district of Doda in Jammu, sources within the APHC said.
It was the blueprint for the future of Kashmir which would be moved at a later stage, the PoK leaders were told. The proposal had the support of some prominent international quarters, they were further informed.
According to the proposal, the Ladakh and Jammu regions minus the Muslim-dominated district of Doda would eventually remain with India and the centrally administered areas of Gilgit, Hunzam Baltistan and Iskardu along with the entire northern region and the occupied Kashmir would become part of Pakistan.
The entire Kashmir valley and Doda district would constitute a buffer state between India and Pakistan.
Citizens of the proposed buffer state will have the freedom to undertake foreign travel on documents issued either by India or Pakistan. The newly created state will have the freedom to trade either with Pakistan or India or both. It will have a currency of its own and also a law enforcement agency other than the army to manage the borders. The new state will acquire a "neutral status" having a neutral foreign policy, according to the proposal.
Sources said Islamabad told the PoK leaders that in case they (Kashmiri leaders on both sides of the LoC) agreed to the proposal, Pakistan would not object to it.
The proposal was made to mollify the angry PoK and Hurriyat Kashmiri leaders who, of late have become sceptical on Pakistans claim of representing Kashmiri interests at the resumed Indo-Pak Foreign Secretary level dialogue, the sources said. The Pakistan Foreign Secretary, Mr Shamshad Ahmed, had stated on October 7 that Islamabad was representing the Kashmiri at the Indo-Pak talks. Mr Ahmeds statement did not find approval either of the APHC leaders or of the other groups based in London and other foreign countries.
While the Hurriyat chairman, Mr S.A.S. Gillani, Mr A.G. Lone and Prof Abdul G. Butt, are yet take a public stand on the proposal, the JKLF leader, Mr Yasin Malik, the former APHC chairman, Maulvi Umar Farooq and others are viewing it with suspicion. Mr Gillani, Mr Lone and Prof Butt are maintaining a discreet silence so that divisions within the APHC are not highlighted, the sources said.
The sources said that Hurriyat leaders led by Mr Malik feel that their main plank of azadi which brought the various Kashmiri factions under the APHC umbrella was being surrendered at the altar of the Pakistani design to legitimise the PoK. They also fear that the future buffer state carved out of valley with Doda district would also be eventually be acquired by Pakistan.
Meanwhile, divisions within the APHC have started surfacing into open with the Awami action committee general secretary, Mr G. M. Butt, welcomed the Indo-Pak talks at a Friday congregation at the Jamia mosque on October 16 in Srinagar. The suspended Hurriyat leader, Mr Shabir Shah, who has floated the Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party, has also extended a cautious welcome to talks.
The APHC has already opposed the Indo-Pak talks saying that the dialogue is "futile" without the inclusion of the Hurriyat representation.
In a related development,
Mr Lone described the JKLF and other London based groups
as "paid agents" of the Indian Government. The
sources said that Mr Lones criticism was aimed at
increasing his bargaining position with Pakistan in the
Uri project a boon to J-K
URI, Oct 20 It is a project conceived and achieved under militancy in Jammu and Kashmir. But the officials of the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Ltd (NHPC) are not complaining.
The 480-mw Uri Hydroelectric Project, situated on the Jhelum river, in the Uri sector of Baramula district in Jammu and Kashmir was constructed in a record time of around seven years, thanks to militancy.
For it was because of militancy in the State that it came under Central rule. The result: There was no local interference, no poking of the nose by local politicians and environmentalists.
The project was constructed by a consortium, Uri Civil, led by Skanska of Sweden and including world majors like Kvaerner Boving Ltd of UK and ABB of Sweden.
The flying of shells from across the border, militant menace, including the kidnapping of two Swedish engineers in 1991, and a virtual siege of the area by the Army and para-military forces did not deter the about 200 expatriates and a local workforce of around 4000 people from completing the project, a technological wonder.
Built at an estimated cost of Rs 3100 crore, including a cost escalation of around Rs 1,000 crore due to disturbed conditions, the Uri Hydroelectric Project is a run-of-the-river scheme, located on the Jhelum.
The on-shore component of the project was around Rs 1400 crore and the off shore component Rs 1700 crore. The on-shore component of the project cost was met out of internal accruals by the NHPC besides government equities and domestic borrowings and finance for off-shore component was from Swedish and British agencies.
Since the project area is prone to incessant rains and heavy snowfall for about three to four months, the major portion of the project was built under a huge hill with a 10 km-long tunnel leading to the power station.
According to the General Manager of the project, Mr V.K. Kanjlia, the Uri Hydroelectric Project is the most modern unit of NHPC and can be operated by just 25 workers. The NHPC has however, employed 500 workers though plans are afoot to reduce this to 300 people.
Mr Kanjlia told a team of visiting press persons from the capital that the unit was impenetrable and even a hydrogen bomb could not destroy it.
The project has also had its spin-off effect. The local population which had little to do during the period of militancy were gainfully employed.
The NHPC has started a school for the local residents and extended medical facilities to as many as 1200 persons.
Though the poor evacuation of electricity by the power grid denies Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh a share, the Kashmir valley has benefited most from the project.
During winters, the valley requires around 600 mw of power and a major share is provided by the Uri Hydroelectric project. As per the agreement, the project provides for 34 per cent allocation to Jammu and Kashmir, including 12 per cent free power. The NHPC envisages a tariff of about Rs 2.58 per unit.
The project also reflects the great role played by public sector units in the economy of the country. Very few private operators would dare to have gone ahead in the troubled area.
A separate fish ladder has
also been provided in the barrage to ensure that river
life is not affected. Since the Jhelum river has been
awarded to Pakistan, India cannot hold back water or
US envoy in Srinagar
SRINAGAR, Oct 20 (PTI) US Ambassador to India William Celeste arrived here today for on-the-spot study of situation in the insurgency-hit Kashmir valley.
Accompanied by a five-member team of officials of the embassy, the Ambassador is scheduled to meet the Governor and the Hurriyat Conference.
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