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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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J A M M U   &   K A S H M I R

Rs 50 lakh project to preserve ice lingam
Baltal, (Amarnath Base Camp), July 17
The Amarnath Shrine Board is formulating a Rs 50 lakh ambitious project to ensure that the ice lingam of Lord Shiva at the holy cave shrine lasts for six months every year.

Amarnath-bound sadhus stand in a queue Amarnath-bound sadhus stand in a queue at a langer at Dora Chowk, Jammu, on Friday night. — PTI photo

No registration fee for Amarnath yatris: HC
Jammu, July 17
In a major decision related to the Amarnath yatra, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court today directed that no registration fee shall be charged by the state government or any other agency from pilgrims, who visit the holy cave shrine of Lord Shiva at Amarnath in the South Kashmir Himalayas.

3651 more leave for Amarnath
Two pilgrims die of cardiac arrest

 

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EARLIER STORIES

 

Administrative reshuffle put on hold
Srinagar, July 17
The Jammu and Kashmir Cabinet put on hold the administrative reshuffle at its much awaited meeting held here today, while approving several proposals relating to socio-economic development and series of reforms in different sectors.

J&K abolishes land revenue
Srinagar, July 17
The Jammu and Kashmir government today approved the draft of Jammu and Kashmir Land Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2004 to abolish Land Revenue. This decision was taken at the meeting of the state cabinet, which met here this morning under the Chairmanship of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed after more than four months.

Eight militants killed in J&K
Srinagar, July 17
Security forces gunned down three militants and an Army jawan lost his life in separate incidents in Jammu and Kashmir, official sources said today. Two militants were killed in an encounter with security forces during a search operation in the Qazigund area of Anantnag district in South Kashmir this morning, they said.

In video: Army guns down Lashkar-e-Toiba commander in Poonch district. (28k, 56k)

20 killed as bus falls in gorge
Srinagar, July 17
At least 20 persons were killed and 55 injured when an overcrowded bus skidded off the road and fell into a deep gorge near Gund, Kangan, 65 kms from here on the Srinagar-Sonmarg road this afternoon.

Untoo, Mir detained
Srinagar, July 17
Chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Human Rights Forum Mohammad Ahsan Untoo and former vice-chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Javid Ahmad Mir were taken into preventive custody by the police today.

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Rs 50 lakh project to preserve ice lingam
Ehsan Fazili
Tribune News Service

Baltal, (Amarnath Base Camp), July 17
The Amarnath Shrine Board is formulating a Rs 50 lakh ambitious project to ensure that the ice lingam of Lord Shiva at the holy cave shrine lasts for six months every year.

The ice lingam melts down fast due to ambient temperature, radiation from the cave and rising number of pilgrims. After the implementation of the project, pilgrims would be able to have the darshan of the ice lingam for at lest six months.

The Governor, Lt Gen S.K. Sinha (retd), who is also the chairman of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board said the technical advice of the scientists of the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) was also taken in this regard. This would help in maintaining the temperature below 8°C in the much-revered shrine to ensure that the holy lingam does not melt due to soaring temperatures. “The mechanism to preserve the ecology in the cave shrine would be in place in a month after this year’s yatra concludes on Raksha Bandhan, (August 30),” he said.

With the rush of pilgrims and other factors the size of ice lingam has already reduced from 9 feet (measured in June), and is expected to last for about two more weeks now, the Development Commissioner of the shrine board, Mr I.C. Jandial, said. “We have selected 16 feet deep, 24 feet wide and 14 feet area of the cave to put up some type of Japanese cooling technology”, Mr Jandial told The Tribune. This involves laying of twin pipes around the selected area through which brine solution passes to give the cooling effect “to achieve ice formation”.
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No registration fee for Amarnath yatris: HC

Jammu, July 17
In a major decision related to the Amarnath yatra, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court today directed that no registration fee shall be charged by the state government or any other agency from pilgrims, who visit the holy cave shrine of Lord Shiva at Amarnath in the South Kashmir Himalayas.

Mr Justice Pramod Kohli passed this direction on a petition filed against the state government order under which a registration quota has been fixed for each state as well as Jammu and Kashmir and also against fees charged from pilgrims for registration as a yatri by the J & K Bank.

The petition was filed by Ram Pal Bathonia, president of the Punjab Shiv Seva Samiti and president of the Bar Association, Rajpura, Patiala.

Mr Justice Kohli held that the charging of fee of Rs 15 to Rs 25 from the pilgrims was not justified.

The petitioner prayed for directing the government to dispense with the compulsory registration of the yatris which “arbitrarily” imposed a quota for each state and fixed a fee of Rs 15 to Rs 25. The court directed that no registration fee shall be charged from the pilgrims. — PTI
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3651 more leave for Amarnath

Jammu, July 17
The fourth batch of 3651 pilgrims today left from here for the Amarnath cave in the South Kashmir Himalayas.

The yatris comprising 2594 men, 432 women, 86 children and 539 sadhus left from the base camp of MAM Stadium around 5 am officials said.

Escorted by security personnel, the devotees, who left in a fleet of 262 vehicles had crossed Udhampur by 9 am, they said, adding that they were likely to cross the Jawahar Tunnel by this afternoon. With today’s batch, the number of pilgrims who left from here for the shrine since July 14 has reached 9,674. — PTI

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Two pilgrims die of cardiac arrest

Srinagar, July 17
Two pilgrims from New Delhi and Mumbai, died due to cardiac arrest, raising to five the number of devotees who met natural deaths in the ongoing 45-day-long holy pilgrimage to the holy Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas, official sources said today. — PTI

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Administrative reshuffle put on hold
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, July 17
The Jammu and Kashmir Cabinet put on hold the administrative reshuffle at its much awaited meeting held here today, while approving several proposals relating to socio-economic development and series of reforms in different sectors. Having met with the Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, in chair, after five months, the Cabinet is expected to meet again on Monday to give the final shape to transfers and postings in police and civil administration. The last Cabinet meeting was held in a Jammu on February 13.

Announcing the decisions of today’s Cabinet meeting the state Chief Secretary, Dr S.S. Bloeria, said that it approved a comprehensive policy for the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in the state. It also approved the draft of the Jammu and Kashmir Land Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2004, to abolish land revenue. By another decision the cabinet sanctioned 1,500 anganwari centres under the Prime Minister’s Employment Package created in the existing 121 ICDS projects. It also decided to set up a high powered economic reconstitution agency (ERA).

Mr Bloeria said that the Cabinet approved the master plan for the Jammu urban area, which shall remain in force up to 2021. The new master plan unfolds a comprehensive strategy for development of winter Capital with projections of demography and special growth.
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J&K abolishes land revenue

Srinagar, July 17
The Jammu and Kashmir government today approved the draft of Jammu and Kashmir Land Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2004 to abolish Land Revenue.

This decision was taken at the meeting of the state cabinet, which met here this morning under the Chairmanship of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed after more than four months.

Announcing the decisions of the Cabinet, Chief Secretary Dr Sudhir S Bloeria said the government had decided to do away with the centuries old concept of land revenue as it feel that in the backdrop of present-day context, small holdings and frequent dry spells, levy of land revenue would only add to the sufferings of the farmers.

The Bill seeks to achieve the twin objectives of abolishing the levy and also saving a mechanism for recovery of other sources of revenue due to the government. — UNI
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Eight militants killed in J&K

Srinagar, July 17
Security forces gunned down three militants and an Army jawan lost his life in separate incidents in Jammu and Kashmir, official sources said today.

Two militants were killed in an encounter with security forces during a search operation in the Qazigund area of Anantnag district in South Kashmir this morning, they said.

Security forces shot dead a militant in Karnah sector of Kupwara district in North Kashmir last night and seized arms and ammunition, they added.

Militants attacked an Army search party in the Bandipora area of Baramula district in North Kashmir last night, the sources said, adding that an Army jawan lost his life in the attack and another was injured.

In a follow-up search operation, security forces arrested one person, suspected to be a militant, the sources said.

The exchange of fire took place between a group of militants and security forces personnel in Pulwama district of South Kashmir last night. There were no casualties, they said.

Militants lobbed a grenade at a security patrol party at Handwara bus stand in Kupwara district last night, causing no injuries.

Jammu: Foiling an infiltration bid, security forces on Saturday gunned down five Pakistani militants near the Line of Control in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, official sources said here.

Alert troops, guarding the LoC, observed a group of five intruders sneaking into the Indian side via the Shahpur area from across the border in wee hours today, the sources said.

The troops immediately swung into action and challenged the intruders. In the ensuing gunbattle one of them was killed before noon, they said, adding that remaining four were eliminated by this evening.

Search operations were continuing in the area when reports last came in. The identity of the slain ultras and the recoveries from them were being ascertained, the sources said. — PTI
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20 killed as bus falls in gorge
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, July 17
At least 20 persons were killed and 55 injured when an overcrowded bus skidded off the road and fell into a deep gorge near Gund, Kangan, 65 kms from here on the Srinagar-Sonmarg road this afternoon.

The ill-fated bus carrying mostly local labourers, was on its way from Kangan to Baltal, the base camp of the Amarnath yatra when the accident took place at around 3.30 pm today. The police said eight persons died on spot. The Block Medical Officer at Public Health Centre, Kangan, 25 kms from the accident site, said 18 passengers were brought dead to the hospital.

The police said the bus (4658 JKC) skidded off the road when its driver lost control over the vehicle while negotiating a sharp curve at Gudribal near Sumbal, 30 km from Baltal, the base camp for the ongoing Amarnath yatra.
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14 children hurt as bus overturns

Srinagar, July 17
Fourteen children were injured when their school bus overturned in Baramula district of Jammu and Kashmir this morning, official sources said.

The bus was coming from Dalina to Baramula and on reaching near degree college, its driver lost control over the vehicle as a result of which it overturned, they said.

The injured children have been admitted to a hospital, the sources said adding five of them had received serious injuries. — PTI
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Untoo, Mir detained

Srinagar, July 17
Chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Human Rights Forum (JKHRF) Mohammad Ahsan Untoo and former vice-chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Javid Ahmad Mir were taken into preventive custody by the police today.

Official sources said Mr Untoo and Mr Mir were leading a procession of family members of detenues lodged in different jails in and outside the state when the police arrested them near Regal Chowk here.

The protesters were demanding the shifting of all detenues lodged in various jails, including some outside the state, and the release of others who have completed their term under the Public Safety Act or have been released by the courts.

Among the demonstrators were family members of Farooq Ahmad Dar, alias Beta Karata, of the JKLF, who was detained in the early nineties and lodged in different jails outsides, including Delhi’s Tihar jail.

Mr Untoo demanded the intervention of world human rights bodies to pressurise the Indian authorities for the release of the detainees. — UNI
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