Thursday, October 18, 2001, Chandigarh, India





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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J A M M U   &   K A S H M I R

Nine militants, two jawans killed in J&K
Srinagar, October 17
Twelve persons, including nine militants and two jawans, were killed and 38 injured in Jammu and Kashmir overnight. Militants attacked a joint search party of the Special Operations Group of the Jammu and Kashmir police and security forces at Upper Ari in Poonch district of Jammu region last evening, killing a jawan and injuring two others. The militants, however, managed to escape.

Patrolling intensified along LoC
Jammu, October 17
Troops have been asked to remain vigilant and patrolling has been intensified along the Line of Control in Jammu, Rajouri and Poonch sectors to thwart infiltration bids by armed mercenaries backed by Pakistani soldiers, defence sources said here today.

Undoing terror damage costs J&K Rs 145 cr
Srinagar, October 17
The Jammu and Kashmir government has during the past five years spent Rs 145.48 crore on the reconstruction of 169 bridges damaged during militancy in the state. These include 63 major and 106 minor bridges. The reconstruction work was taken up on 237 such bridges out of a total of 401 which were gutted and totally damaged since the outbreak of militancy.

Pilgrims’ rush brings cheer to traders
Jammu, October 17
Traders, transporters and hoteliers were cheerful as the first rush of pilgrims reached here on way to Katra for visiting the holy shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi on the first day of the nine-day navratra festival today.


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Nine militants, two jawans killed in J&K

Srinagar, October 17
Twelve persons, including nine militants and two jawans, were killed and 38 injured in Jammu and Kashmir overnight.

Militants attacked a joint search party of the Special Operations Group of the Jammu and Kashmir police and security forces at Upper Ari in Poonch district of Jammu region last evening, killing a jawan and injuring two others. The militants, however, managed to escape.

Security forces gunned down a militant at Kachhar Bara Dhok late last night during a search operation. Some arms and ammunition were seized from the slain militant.

An official spokesman said soldiers and Special Operations Group (SOG) personnel of the Jammu and Kashmir police killed two terrorists of the Pakistan-based Jaish-i-Mohammad at Waripora in Baramula today. Two AK rifles, eight magazines and a grenade were seized.

Two more ultras were shot dead by soldiers and SOG personnel at Sheikh Gund in south Kashmir last evening while another militant was killed at Kangipora Chandura in the central Kashmir district of Badgam.

An encounter at Bandipora in north Kashmir last evening led to the death of three foreign militants of the Lashkar-e-Toiba. A soldier also lost his life in the encounter. Three AK rifles, three grenades and a wireless set were seized.

In another incident, militants hurled a grenade at the Kulgam bus stand in south Kashmir, injuring 22 persons. One of the injured died while being rushed to hospital.

At least 15 persons were injured when a grenade lobbed by ultras near the exhibition crossing exploded on the road last evening. UNI
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Patrolling intensified along LoC

Jammu, October 17
Troops have been asked to remain vigilant and patrolling has been intensified along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu, Rajouri and Poonch sectors to thwart infiltration bids by armed mercenaries backed by Pakistani soldiers, defence sources said here today.

All terrain vehicles have been pressed into service to supplement the intensified patrolling along border areas to foil any infiltration along the LoC in Jammu division, sources from Nagrota Corps headquarters told PTI.

The troops have been asked to maintain high vigil in their respective sectors along the borders, the sources said, adding that the situation along the border in Jammu division was under control.

Terming Monday’s punitive operation against Pakistan army’s repeated involvement in abetting terrorist activities across the LoC and the international border as successful, the sources said it was aimed at preventing infiltration and foiling attempts of foreign mercenaries at disturbing peace.

Army authorities are also in the process of planning a pre-winter offensive against militants, both in border and hinterland areas.

The security grid in different sectors was being upgraded along with other agencies, including police and paramilitary troops, the sources said. PTI

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Undoing terror damage costs J&K Rs 145 cr
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, October 17
The Jammu and Kashmir government has during the past five years spent Rs 145.48 crore on the reconstruction of 169 bridges damaged during militancy in the state. These include 63 major and 106 minor bridges. The reconstruction work was taken up on 237 such bridges out of a total of 401 which were gutted and totally damaged since the outbreak of militancy.

Giving this information at a meet the press programme organised by the Information Department, the Works Minister, Mr Ali Mohammad Sagar, said here today that the National Conference government had launched a “massive reconstruction drive” across the State soon after it came to power in October 1996. They had inherited a state in which the infrastructure had been totally devastated by the militants. Many existing roads were abandoned while new ones were nobody’s concern. Most of the areas were cut off as a result of non-existent communication links”, he stated.

“Bridges were the particular target of destruction as 157 major and 244 minor bridges were destroyed in the state. Hundreds of school buildings and hospitals had a similar fate”, the minister said. He added that as part of the massive road reconstruction campaign, nearly 330 schemes of roads and bridges costing Rs 365 crore, were launched in the rural areas with NABARD’s assistance. During the past five years, 2739 km of roads have been constructed under this programme besides providing connectivity to 163 villages.

Talking about the availability of potable water, the minister said during the past five years, 785 rural water supply schemes were taken up in the state, of which 257 have been completed. As part of the government’s policy to lay thrust on exploration of ground water, more than 700 schemes of tubewells and hand pumps have been commissioned during this period, he said. An action plan has been formulated to cover entire rural population of the State with safe potable water by 2004, the Minister added. 
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Pilgrims’ rush brings cheer to traders
Tribune News Service

Jammu, October 17
Traders, transporters and hoteliers were cheerful as the first rush of pilgrims reached here on way to Katra for visiting the holy shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi on the first day of the nine-day navratra festival today.

On the opening day of the festival 26,000 pilgrims visited Katra while till yesterday the daily rush to the shrine was between 5,000 and 7,000. On an average 10,000 to 15,000 pilgrims would land here to visit the holy shrine per day, but the terrorist strike at the local railway station, in which 13 persons were killed, had reduced the pilgrims traffic to a trickle.

All incoming trains were packed to full with pilgrims and several thousand devotees reached Katra in chartered buses and others in their cars and taxis.

At the railway station and near the main bus stand additional buses were kept ready for carrying pilgrims.

Katra town wore a festive look. The Vaishno Devi Shrine Board in collaboration with the Tourism Department organised cultural shows and religious song contests there.

Security arrangements have been tightened in the town and around the shrine. Additional police pickets have been set up at various points on the mountainous route from Katra to the shrine.

Several traders said the extension of the Disturbed Area Act and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act had resulted in very poor occupancy in hotels and guest houses for the past two months. But, now they were doing good business, they added.

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