|Monday, March 13, 2000,
Jammu airport expansion
|Four Kashmiri Pandit families
SRINAGAR, March 12 Four Kashmiri Pandit families left their homes in Kashmir and migrated to Jammu today, the second such exodus in a month, in the wake of stepped up violence by militants.
Copter service from Jammu
JAMMU, March 12 Jammu to Vaishnodevi helicopter service will be launched from April 9, coinciding with Navaratras, Minister of State for Civil Aviation C.L. Gupta said here yesterday.
airport expansion starts
JAMMU, March 12 The Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr Sharad Yadav, today laid the foundation stone at the Jammu airport of a Rs 40 crore upgradation programme.
The expansion and upgradation of the airport is likely to complete within one year so that more than two big aircraft could land and takeoff simultaneously from Jammu, which is considered a strategic airport in view of the continued threats of war from Pakistan.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Yadav, said that the task force of his ministry had approved a plan of converting the Srinagar airport into an international airport. The proposal had been sent to the Union Cabinet. He regretted that till now civil aviation development had been ignored in North India and appreciated the Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Prof Chaman Lal Gupta, for trying to bring the Jammu and Srinagar airports on the international aviation map.
He said there was a plan of building airports which would meet the international standard at Bangalore, Hyderabad and Goa. Since Jammu and Kashmir, including the Ladakh region, held special attraction for tourists, the upgradation of these airports in the state would be taken in hand on a priority basis.
The Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, agreed with the suggestion of Mr Yadav that private parties be encouraged to set up aero clubs and run small aircraft in the state. Mr Yadav said that his ministry would also encourage establishment of a flying academy in Jammu and Kashmir.
Dr Abdullah said that in the light of the potential of mischief-making by Pakistan the government should expand and upgrade various airports in the state. He said that the Defence Ministry should give clearance to the proposal for converting Srinagar into an international airport.
He further said India wanted to have friendly relations with Pakistan, adding that Islamabad should understand it. He said Pakistan "cannot expect India to talk to military rulers".
The Chief Minister said that the bilateral problems could be resolved through talks but such talks could be held only after democracy was restored to Pakistan. He said Pakistan should know it that the US President Mr Bill Clinton," cannot impose a solution which is not acceptable to people of India, including of Jammu and Kashmir."
Professor Gupta said that his ministry had earmarked Rs 35 crore for Kargil airport but work worth Rs 20 crore had been damaged in Pak shelling. He said a project was being undertaken to expand the Kargil airport. He said that he had requested the Defence Ministry to allow the Civil Aviation Ministry to acquire over 104 kanals of land around the Jammu airport for expansion of the airport.
The expansion would ensure that instead of just 300 passengers now more and more passengers should have a comfortable stay in lounge. He said two aero bridges, both at Srinagar and Jammu, were to be raised. He said his ministry was trying to develop facilities and infrastructure so that chartered flights could operate to Srinagar and Jammu. He said several NRIs have already approached him to provide this facility so that they could visit tourists resorts and the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine without wasting much time.
The Union Minister of State for Defence, Mr Harin Pathak, said that upgradation of airports was necessary because they were strategic as far as the countrys defence was involved. He assured that land occupied by the Army would be made available for the expansion of the airport. He said people from rest of India were emotionally attached with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
withdrawn from Rajouri, curfew stays
JAMMU, March 12 The Army was withdrawn today but no relaxation was given in the curfew restrictions, imposed in Rajouri town yesterday after clashes between youths belonging to two communities in which more than 10 persons were injured.
The Army was sent back to the barracks as the situation improved and the paramilitary forces were deployed in strength to maintain law and order with the assistance of the police.
No untoward incident took place today but curfew restrictions were enforced as a precautionary measure.
Ten persons have been taken into custody, including five from the minority community. The district authorities invited prominent citizens for talks in order to ease tension but those belonging to the minority community refused to join the talks. They demanded arrest of those who had started the trouble and injured innocent youths and some shopkeepers by hitting them with iron rods, sharp-edged weapons. They complained to the district authorities that the real culprits had not been arrested.
Youths belonging to the minority community have demanded that a security picket be set up outside Degree College so that students were not beaten up and harassed.
should resign: Bitta
JAMMU, March 12 The President of the Anti-Terrorist Front and a former Chief of All-India Youth Congress, Mr M.S. Bitta, has demanded the state Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, should resign. He told newsmen here today, after distributing essential commodities to over 300 families who were forced to migrate from the border villages owing to heavy Pak shelling, that Dr Abdullah had lost moral authority to rule the state in view of escalation in militancy-related violence.
Mr Bitta said that during the past three-year rule of the National Conference, the terrorist violence had increased resulting in largescale killing of innocent people. He said that it was indeed regrettable that on the day when militants carried out selective killings in the state, Dr Abdullah was celebrating the return of Mr Om Prakash Chautala as Chief Minister of Haryana in Kurukshetra.
The front chief said that not a single minister in the Council of ministers headed by Dr Abdullah has made a statement announcing his resolve to fight terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. He alleged that before coming to power some of those National Conference men who are now ministers had encouraged militancy. He feared that under the Farooq regime the situation would further deteriorate.
Referring to the US President, Mr Bill Clintons visit to India, Mr Bitta said that the Government of India should persuade leaders of Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka to meet Mr Clinton and ask Mr Clinton to declare Pakistan a terrorist state.
Mr Bitta demanded setting up anti-terrorist courts to decide quickly the cases of those lodged in jails on charge of terrorist activities.
He said that he would launch a countrywide agitation in case the Centre agreed to restore greater autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir.
SRINAGAR, March 12 (PTI) Four Kashmiri Pandit families left their homes in Kashmir and migrated to Jammu today, the second such exodus in a month, in the wake of stepped up violence by militants.
The migration took place from Akoora village in Anantnag district where seven Kashmiri Pandit families had stayed back despite mass movement of the community from the valley following the eruption of militancy a decade ago, official sources told PTI.
The four families with 14 members boarded Jammu-bound vehicles under tight police protection leaving three Kashmiri Pandit families in the village, the sources said.
The migration of the four families, which included nine women, took place despite further strengthening of security for the community, the sources said.
JAMMU, March 12 (PTI) Jammu to Vaishnodevi helicopter service will be launched from April 9, coinciding with Navaratras, Minister of State for Civil Aviation C.L. Gupta said here yesterday.
There will be 15 sorties from Jammu to Sanjichhat, about 3 km from the holy cave, and 10 from Katra to Sanjichhat daily, Mr Gupta said.
He said a similar plan had been worked out for Amarnath yatra from August.sent fax messages and telegrams to the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and top police officers for assurance of safety of his family members.
Mr Surinder Singh has become a victim in a row between senior police officers. He was posted outside by the SSP, Gurdaspur. But the orders were allegedly cancelled by the DIG, Border Range, Mr Jasminder Singh. Consequently, Mr Surinder Singh could not join duty as per the orders of the SSP.
In his fax messages to the Chief Justice and the Chief Minister, the police inspector has alleged that Mr B. Chandra Shekhar, SP, Headquarters, Gurdaspur, accompanied by his gunmen came to his residence on March 9 and asked him and his wife to withdraw a writ petition filed by them against a DIG and other officers for harassment.
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