SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


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    E D I T I O N

Udhampur-Katra rail link likely by Dec 2011
Udhampur, December 28
Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrims from all parts of the country may look forward to a journey by train right up to the base camp of the shrine at Katra by the end of next year. The facility is also expected to give a push to the economy of the area.

Cong demands rotation of chief ministership
Warns NC against ignoring the party in important decisions
Jammu, December 28
For the first time in two years, the Congress leadership today showed its anger to the National Conference (NC) and warned it against ignoring the party in important policy decisions to run the coalition.

Snowfall in Valley likely in three days
Srinagar, December 28 As the Kashmir valley continues to reel under intense dry and cold conditions for the past several weeks, the weathermen have indicated that a mild to widespread snowfall may occur at different places during the next three days.

Public health staff stage protest
Udhampur, December 28
A large number of employees of the Public Health Engineering Department under the banner of the PHE Employees United Front today organised a protest in front of the office of Deputy Commissioner, Reasi, in support of their long pending demands.

Condemns BJP’s stand on Article 370
Srinagar, December 28
On the occasion of the 126th year of its foundation, the Congress here today held a protest against the BJP’s stand on Article 370, which grants a special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and burnt effigies of senior BJP leaders.



YOUR TOWN
Jammu
Srinagar


EARLIER STORIES


A woman with her child holds a placard during a sit-in staged by the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons in Srinagar on Tuesday.
A woman with her child holds a placard during a sit-in staged by the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons in Srinagar on Tuesday. PTI

2010 was a year of change in Jammu
Jammu, December 28
It was a year of change for Jammu. The change from a city of protests to a far quieter place, with the number of protests and demonstrations coming down drastically than the previous year. The year underlined Jammu’s spirit of camaraderie and its assertion of being an integral part of India.

Now, traffic cops under CCTV scanner
Jammu, December 28
CCTV cameras installed on city roads are not only keeping an eye on suspicious-looking elements and traffic rule offenders but are also helping nab traffic policemen who demand bribes.

PDP seeks national highway status for Mugal Road
Jammu, December 28
The PDP today demanded the national highway (NH) status for Mugal Road. The party observed that this historic road, if granted the NH status, would not only boost the economy of the region but also emerge as an alternative route to connect Jammu with Kashmir.

Tributes paid to socialist leader
Jammu, December 28
Tributes were paid to veteran socialist leader Surendra Mohan, who died on December 17, at a condolence meeting jointly organised by the Janata Dal (S), Janata Dal (U), Socialist Front, Samajwadi Party and the Yusuf Meherally Centre (YMC), J&K, here today. The meeting was organised under the chairmanship of Balraj Puri, a senior journalist and renowned socialist.
Activists of the Jammu and Kashmir Physiotherapy Association jostle with the police during a protest in Jammu on Tuesday.
Activists of the Jammu and Kashmir Physiotherapy Association jostle with the police during a protest in Jammu on Tuesday. A Tribune photograph

Two Years of Coalition Govt
Initiatives taken to fast-track development: Shabir Khan
Jammu, December 28
Minister of State for Power, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Shabir Ahmad Khan has said the state was marching towards peace and prosperity. He has added that this became possible by the people-friendly policies pursued by the present government during its two years in office.

Panun Kashmir holds scooter rally
Jammu, December 28
Members of the Panun Kashmir led by Dr Ajay Chrungoo took out a scooter and car rally to commemorate Homeland Day here today.The rally started from Lower Roop Nagar, Muthi, passed through Bantalab, Durga Nagar, Janipur, BC Road, Indra Chowk, Vivekanand Chowk and culminated at the Press Club.

3.5 quintals polythene bags seized
Udhampur, December 28
The district officials of the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) conducted a surprise checking in the markets at Reasi and Pouni towns today and seized about 3.5 quintals of banned polythene bags. However, the erring shopkeepers were let off with a warning.

Balraj Puri flays life sentence to social activist Sen
Jammu, December 28
The convener of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), J&K, and senior journalist, Balraj Puri, has expressed support to protests against the life sentence to a renowned social activist and popular doctor of Chhattisgarh, Dr Binayak Sen, for his alleged contacts with the Maoists.
Members of the PHE Employees United Front protest in Jammu on Tuesday
Members of the PHE Employees United Front protest in Jammu on Tuesday. Photo: Inderjeet Singh

Dogri Manta Divas observed
Jammu, December 28
Though delayed, the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages observed Dogri Manta Divas here today and released a Dogri novel ‘Bail’, written by Rattan Gopal Khajuria.

10-day NSS camp begins
Jammu, December 28
The 10-day winter camp being organised by the NSS unit of Government Gandhi Memorial Science College was inaugurated here today by the patron of NSS and Principal of the college, Dr MS Baloria, by lightning a lamp.

115 Leh youths to be trained in hospitality
Leh, December 28
As many as 115 unemployed youths of Leh district will be given one-month training in the hospitality sector by the Taj Public Service Welfare Trust at Taj Hotel in Mumbai from January 17 next year.The training in hospitality to the local youth of the region is a significant step towards addressing the problems of trained manpower in the fast growing tourism sector and unemployment in the region.

 






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Udhampur-Katra rail link likely by Dec 2011
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Udhampur, December 28
Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrims from all parts of the country may look forward to a journey by train right up to the base camp of the shrine at Katra by the end of next year. The facility is also expected to give a push to the economy of the area.

The facility will be of immense convenience to the pilgrims, especially women, children and old persons, because they will not be required to break their journey at Jammu and travel by road to Katra. The rail link so far available only up to Udhampur has not served the purpose because the pilgrims still have to travel about 30 km by road to reach Katra.

Deputy Commissioner, Reasi, PK Pole informed that the Udhampur-Katra rail link, the first section of the Udhampur-Qazigund railway line project, is in full swing and is likely to be completed by the end of next year while the construction of the railway station at Katra for the purpose is in the last stage.

Notably, Katra town is the base camp for pilgrimage to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, where an estimated nine million devotees pay obeisance every year. The section of the rail link between Udhampur and Katra is being constructed by the Northern Railways, while the project joining Katra and Qazigund in the Kashmir valley is being constructed by Konkan Railway Cororation Limited. The total cost of the project is Rs 1,700 crore and is likely to be completed by year 2017.

Besides the convenience factor, the facility is expected to give a boost to the economy of Katra and adjoining areas. As per businessman Bal Krishan of Katra, the pilgrims would be expected to shop at Katra instead of Jammu, as they would not be required to stop there anymore. Moreover, tours and travel business would also flourish as the bookings for other tourist places like the famous hill resort of Patnitop and the Shivkhori shrine could also be done from here, he added.

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Cong demands rotation of chief ministership
Warns NC against ignoring the party in important decisions
Dinesh Manhotra
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 28
For the first time in two years, the Congress leadership today showed its anger to the National Conference (NC) and warned it against ignoring the party in important policy decisions to run the coalition.

Besides demanding a provision for the rotation of chief ministership in the state, the Congress also made it clear that the party would not allow the state government to conduct the panchayat elections if the 73rd amendment of the Indian Constitution was not extended to Jammu and Kashmir.

On the 126th foundation day of the party, the Congress not only gave a clear message to its coalition partner against ignoring it, but also made it clear to the NC that the party would claim the chief ministership after the completion of three years’ tenure of Omar Abdullah.

First time after the formation of the coalition, the Congress has adopted such an aggressive posture. “It is wrong to give the whole of the six years’ tenure to the NC to head the government,” argued veteran Congress leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Mangat Ram Sharma. In the presence of the top leadership, including Congress Working Committee (CWC) member Satyavrat Chaturvedi, who specially came here to attend today’s function, Sharma demanded that there should be a provision for the rotation of chief ministership. “I am of the opinion that a three years’ tenure of chief ministership should be given to the Jammu region to remove the feeling of discrimination among the people,” he argued. Unlike other parts of the country, the term of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly is of six years.

Although Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief Saifuddin Soz avoided any harsh statement against the NC, he, however, made it clear that the strengthening of the coalition depended upon the strengthening of the Congress. Soz, in his typical style, made it clear that the Congress would not hesitate from taking any extreme step if the present government failed to address the aspirations of people. Senior party leader and Lok Sabha member from the Jammu-Poonch segment Madan Lal Sharma seized the opportunity to lash out at the NC for demanding autonomy for the state. “On the one hand you are demanding autonomy for the state and on the other you are not ready to decentralise power to the grass-roots level,” Madan Lal said. “Why the double standards?,” he asked.

Cautioning that the conduct of the panchayat elections without incorporating the 73rd amendment of the Indian Constitution into the J&K Panchayati Raj Act would be a farcical exercise, Madan Lal said the Congress would not allow the elections without a proper delegation of powers to the grass-roots level.

Another veteran leader and former Lok Sabha member Dharam Pal Sharma also flayed the NC for taking important policy decisions without taking the Congress into confidence. 

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Snowfall in Valley likely in three days
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, December 28
As the Kashmir valley continues to reel under intense dry and cold conditions for the past several weeks, the weathermen have indicated that a mild to widespread snowfall may occur at different places during the next three days.

“A western disturbance is approaching the state due to which light to moderate snowfall may occur over the hills at isolated places from Tuesday evening, and fairly widespread snowfall at many places till Friday,” Aamir Ali, coordinator of the Disaster Management and OSD of the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, said here this evening. 

“There has not been much change in minimum temperatures witnessed in the Valley over the past many days. All deputy commissioners have been advised to activate snow control rooms from today, and the field staff have been kept in a state of readiness,” an official spokesman said. 

He added that the Kashmir valley had been divided into three zones and 74 snow clearance machines had been kept in a state of preparedness. These include 27 for Srinagar, Budgam, Ganderbal; 21 for Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam, Anantnag; and 26 for Baramulla, Kupwara, Gulmarg, Bandipore and Gurez.

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Public health staff stage protest
Tribune News Service

Udhampur, December 28
A large number of employees of the Public Health Engineering Department under the banner of the PHE Employees United Front today organised a protest in front of the office of Deputy Commissioner, Reasi, in support of their long pending demands.

More than 1,000 permanent and contractual employees as well as daily wage workers took out a rally from the office of the PHE subdivision, Reasi, to the DC’s office. They raised slogans against the government and the Minister for Public Health and Engineering Taj Mohiudin for letting them down in spite of the assurances regarding their demands.

The protesters demanded that the services of contractual workers as well as need-based daily wage workers, who had worked for seven years, should be regularised. The remuneration of the daily wage workers should be enhanced from Rs 500 per month to Rs 3,300. They also demanded that the arrears of permanent employees should be cleared at the earliest.

The chairman of the employees front, Tara Mani Bhagat, accused the government as well the PHE Department authorities of adopting a callous attitude towards the genuine demands of the employees. He lashed out at the minister concerned for backing out of the promises made recently to the employees to fulfil their demands.

The protesters continued their demonstration for more than an hour. They submitted a memorandum of demands to the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Reasi.

Bhagat added that they had given an ultimatum to the government as well as the department authorities that in case their demands were not met within 15 days, the employees would intensify their agitation.

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Condemns BJP’s stand on Article 370
Ehsan Fazili
Tribune News Service

Congress activists burn an effigy of BJP leaders in protest against their stand on Article 370 in Srinagar on Tuesday.
Congress activists burn an effigy of BJP leaders in protest against their stand on Article 370 in Srinagar on Tuesday. Photo: Amin War

Srinagar, December 28
On the occasion of the 126th year of its foundation, the Congress here today held a protest against the BJP’s stand on Article 370, which grants a special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and burnt effigies of senior BJP leaders.

The protest was held in Pratap Park in front of the PCC headquarters after a meeting of the leaders and workers under the chairmanship of PCC vice-president Ghulam Nabi Monga. The leaders and workers of the Srinagar district unit of the Congress later held a protest outside the PCC headquarters. They condemned the BJP’s demand for the abrogation of Article 370 and vowed that the Congress would not allow any such move.

Earlier in the meeting presided over by Ghulam Nabi Monga, the Congress leaders and workers criticised the “divisive forces” in the state unit of the party and extended their support to party president Saifuddin Soz. The leaders condemned the elements responsible for creating differences within the state unit. They also urged AICC president Sonia Gandhi to intervene and take steps to frustrate the designs of such elements bent upon creating a wedge and weakening the party at the state level.

The meeting was attended by leaders of the PCC, women’s wing, Youth Congress, district and block unit presidents, and Sewa Dal workers. The PCC leaders included vice-president Abdul Majid Paddar and general secretaries Ghulam Nabi Mir Lasjan and Mohammad Anwar Bhat.

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2010 was a year of change in Jammu
Jupinderjit Singh/TNS

Jammu, December 28
It was a year of change for Jammu. The change from a city of protests to a far quieter place, with the number of protests and demonstrations coming down drastically than the previous year. The year underlined Jammu’s spirit of camaraderie and its assertion of being an integral part of India.

This was the year when the Jammu residents displayed yet again their patience and did not let incidents taking place in the Valley spill over to this part. This was a year of success against the militants, as the number of those stated to be still active in this division of the state came down to a little over 100 against 500 in the beginning of the year.

The high point was surely the celebration of the 63rd anniversary of the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India. It was for the first time that such a massive celebration took place since the accession was signed in 1947. Then, the year saw the beginning of four major projects, all of which were being sought for many years.

The Central University of Jammu, finally, got going this year with the Centre appointing Prof Amitabh Mattoo as its first Vice-Chancellor. Last year when his selection was announced, there were massive protests by political parties and student organisations, he was welcomed by various organisations this year. It seems behind the scene parleys of the government worked in the end.

Then, Jammu saw the beginning of the work on making an artificial lake on the Tawi, construction of the third bridge on the Tawi, which would surely reduce pressure on the earlier two, and the work on the construction of a flyover on BC Road also started.

The city’s hope of getting a modern sewerage were not fulfilled this year. The number of road accidents and the loss of valuable lives, especially in Doda and Kishtwar districts, remained high.

On the crime scene, there was a shocking incident of a girl’s kidnap and murder for ransom by her friends. A paper Leak scandal and cases of mass copying also came to light. Most shocking was the impersonation case of seven aspiring medical students, one of them being the daughter of Congress minister GM Saroori.

The police started modernisation by initiating the project of installing cameras at key intersections and rotaries. However, a controversial encounter of an alleged criminal left a bad taste. The political scene warmed up with the visit of the team of three interlocutors. National leaders of the BJP descended on the city a few days ago announcing that there could not be any compromise on the Kashmir issue.

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Now, traffic cops under CCTV scanner
Archit Watts
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 28
CCTV cameras installed on city roads are not only keeping an eye on suspicious-looking elements and traffic rule offenders but are also helping nab traffic policemen who demand bribes.

Nearly 15 policemen have so far been spotted by the cameras while accepting or demanding bribes from commuters, said an official in the office of the IG, traffic. He added that the department had initiated inquiries against all of them.

The police official said the cameras had proved a very useful means to improve the image of the traffic police, as they randomly monitor the activities of the policemen deployed at all major intersections and rotaries in the city. “The policemen are unaware that officials sitting in the office are also monitoring their activities, besides keeping an eye on the vehicular movement in the city,” said a senior police officer.

It may be mentioned here that the state police is in the process of installing around 60 more CCTV cameras in the city for keeping a tab round-the-clock on all suspicious-looking people and activities. “At present, only a few cameras are working in the city, but in a few days all of them will start functioning, thus giving relief to the commuters,” said the officer.

Rajnish Mahajan, a local resident, said, “If these cameras are really monitoring the traffic cops, it will surely decrease tension for the commuters, as policemen mostly harass people without any valid reason.” Earlier, a large number of commuters had lodged complaints with the top police officers against of some traffic cops, but to no avail.

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PDP seeks national highway status for Mugal Road
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 28
The PDP today demanded the national highway (NH) status for Mugal Road. The party observed that this historic road, if granted the NH status, would not only boost the economy of the region but also emerge as an alternative route to connect Jammu with Kashmir.

Addressing a public meeting at Rajouri, the Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Sartaz Madani, said it was during the regime of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed that the construction of the historic road was restarted.

“The construction on this dream project had remained halted for years together and it was Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who had not only restarted work on the road but also arranged special funds for expediting the completion of the road,” Madani said. He said with the starting of routine traffic on the road, socio-economic conditions of the people of Poonch and Rajouri districts would be changed.

Speaking on the occasion, vice-president of the party, Trilok Singh Bajwa, said during the three-year tenure of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, many developmental projects were initiated in the remote areas of Poonch and Rajouri. He, however, regretted that the present dispensation headed by Omar had miserably failed to carry forward the agenda of equitable development in the state.

Former Minister and Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Abdul Rehman Veeri, observed that Mugal road would change the economic conditions of the people of this region. He stressed that besides giving NH status to this road, this belt should be brought under the tourist map.

“The region has a huge tourism potential and there is need to explore this potential to improve the socio-economic conditions of the people,” he said. He stressed on creating adequate infrastructure to attract tourists in this belt. He also said by bring this belt on the tourism map, job opportunities for the local youth would also be created as new avenues of employment would be opened after the influx of tourists on this road.

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Tributes paid to socialist leader

Jammu, December 28
Tributes were paid to veteran socialist leader Surendra Mohan, who died on December 17, at a condolence meeting jointly organised by the Janata Dal (S), Janata Dal (U), Socialist Front, Samajwadi Party and the Yusuf Meherally Centre (YMC), J&K, here today. The meeting was organised under the chairmanship of Balraj Puri, a senior journalist and renowned socialist.

Dwelling on his personal memories, Puri said he came in touch with the late socialist leader in early forties in the last century. “Surendra Mohan was a rare combination of intellect, dedication and activism, a rarity in today’s public life,” he said.

He regretted that Surendra Mohan passed away at a time when with the decline of the communist parties, particularly in their strongholds of West Bengal and Kerala. Dhanraj Bhargotra of the Janata Dal (S) also threw light on the life and works of Surendra Mohan as a torchbearer of socialism. Others who spoke on the occasion included Inder M Tar Singh of the Janata Dal (U); Mohamad Shafi of the SP, Jai Ram Verma, state coordinator of the YMC, J&K, and socialist workers Jagdish Gupta, Kulbir Singh, Ram Rattan Sharma and Suresh Chander. — TNS

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Two Years of Coalition Govt
Initiatives taken to fast-track development: Shabir Khan
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 28
Minister of State for Power, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Shabir Ahmad Khan has said the state was marching towards peace and prosperity. He has added that this became possible by the people-friendly policies pursued by the present government during its two years in office.

Addressing a public gathering at Manjakote in Rajouri district organised to celebrate the completion of two years of the present government, Shabir said yesterday that during the last two years various exemplary and revolutionary initiatives had been taken by the government for the fast-track development of the state.

He said hundreds of new projects in core sectors were taken up to boost the economy of urban and rural areas. Shabir said various welfare schemes had been launched to transform the socio-economic condition of weaker sections. He added that thousands of educated youth had been appointed in government and semi-government departments during this period.

The minister said the new employment policy under which the unemployed educated youth could get loan to the tune of Rs 7 lakh had rekindled hope among the youth. He added that strenuous efforts had been made to upgrade power, health care, road connectivity and expansion of education facilities to every citizen of the state.

Enumerating various developmental projects completed in Rajouri during the last two years, the minister said landmark achievements had been registered in the district by initiating massive infrastructural development for strengthening basic amenities of this hilly and border area.

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Panun Kashmir holds scooter rally
Tribune News Service

Members of the Panun Kashmir hold a protest to observe Homeland Day in Jammu on Tuesday.
Members of the Panun Kashmir hold a protest to observe Homeland Day in Jammu on Tuesday. A Tribune photograph

Jammu, December 28
Members of the Panun Kashmir led by Dr Ajay Chrungoo took out a scooter and car rally to commemorate Homeland Day here today.The rally started from Lower Roop Nagar, Muthi, passed through Bantalab, Durga Nagar, Janipur, BC Road, Indra Chowk, Vivekanand Chowk and culminated at the Press Club.

Speaking on the occasion, the members of the Panun Kashmir highlighted the importance of the day and said that it was on this day in 1991 that the historic “Margdarshan Resolution” was passed. The “Margdarsgan Resolution” is a road map for the reversal of the genocide and nationalistic solution to the Kashmir problem.

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3.5 quintals polythene bags seized
Tribune News Service

Udhampur, December 28
The district officials of the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) conducted a surprise checking in the markets at Reasi and Pouni towns today and seized about 3.5 quintals of banned polythene bags. However, the erring shopkeepers were let off with a warning.

The head of the SPCB, Reasi district, Angrez Singh, said the surprise checking of about 60 commercial establishments was done in the wake of information that their owners were using banned polythene bags. The state government had imposed a ban on the use of polythene bags a couple of years back.

Angrez added that the drive would continue in view of the cases of non-compliance of the government order to this effect. “We have warned the owners of shops that if caught the second time, they will be liable to be fined. They have also been asked to ensure the use of either paper or jute bags,” he said.

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Balraj Puri flays life sentence to social activist Sen
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 28
The convener of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), J&K, and senior journalist, Balraj Puri, has expressed support to protests against the life sentence to a renowned social activist and popular doctor of Chhattisgarh, Dr Binayak Sen, for his alleged contacts with the Maoists.

In a statement, Puri said those who had joined the protests included a Nobel Laureate, human rights organisations in the country and abroad, prominent citizens and people at large in Chhattisgarh.

He recalled Dr Sen’s commendable work in providing medical relief to the poorest of the poor as also inmates of jails, including Maoists. “Is treating ailing Maoist prisoners with the permission of the jail authorities a crime?”, he asked.

Having personally known close colleagues of Dr Sen, who is the vice-president of the PUCL, Puri was confident that he and his group of selfless workers were incapable of the crime attributed to him. To punish such a person with a severe punishment like life imprisonment was a disgrace to a democratic country like India, he added.

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Dogri Manta Divas observed
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 28
Though delayed, the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages observed Dogri Manta Divas here today and released a Dogri novel ‘Bail’, written by Rattan Gopal Khajuria.

On December 22, 2003, Dogri was recognised as a national language and was included in the Schedule VIII of the Indian Constitution. Since then, December 22 is observed as Dogri Manta Divas by the lovers of the language in the Jammu region.

Prof Nilamber Dev Sharma, a former secretary of the J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages, was the chief guest, while TR Sharma, special secretary with the Department of Culture, was the guest of honour.

On the occasion, Dr Rattan Basotra, Assistant Editor, Dogri, presented a research paper on the novel. Earlier, Savita Bakshi, additional secretary of the academy, welcomed the guests.

Neeru Sharma, Chief Editor (Hindi), delivered the vote of thanks. A poetic symposium was also held on the occasion. Those who mesmerised the audience with their poems included Sanjay Vidrohi, Ayodhya Rani Gamkhar, Shakti Singh, Dhian Singh, Capt Lalit Sharma, Ramesh Rahi, Sham Talib, Jugal Kishore Chandan, Yash Pal Nirmal, and Dr Harish Kaila.

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10-day NSS camp begins
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 28
The 10-day winter camp being organised by the NSS unit of Government Gandhi Memorial Science College was inaugurated here today by the patron of NSS and Principal of the college, Dr MS Baloria, by lightning a lamp.

Speaking on the occasion, the Principal stressed the need for organising such camps during vacation. He said such camps made the volunteers physically and socially energetic. He applauded the efforts of the organisers of such camps.

Later, the programme officer, Dr Rajinder Kumar, gave a brief account of various activities to be undertaken during the camp.

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115 Leh youths to be trained in hospitality
Yangchan Dolma

Leh, December 28
As many as 115 unemployed youths of Leh district will be given one-month training in the hospitality sector by the Taj Public Service Welfare Trust at Taj Hotel in Mumbai from January 17 next year.The training in hospitality to the local youth of the region is a significant step towards addressing the problems of trained manpower in the fast growing tourism sector and unemployment in the region. At present hundreds of hospitality professionals from other parts of the country come to Leh every year in summer to work as chefs, waiters and housekeepers etc., in hotels and restaurants of Ladakh.

Tashi Thokmat, Deputy Director, Ladakh Environmental Health Organisation (LEHO), who is entrusted with the work to coordinate with and facilitate the youths, said, “The Taj Public Service Welfare Trust will impart training to the 115 selected youths in food production, food and beverages, front office and house keeping. The duration of the training is one month and it will be provided in three batches from January 17 till April 2011.”

Thokmat added, “Initially the Taj Public Service Welfare Trust wanted to offer training to youths from the flash flood affected families with an objective to rehabilitate them in the long run. However, with more and more applicants applying for the training, it decided to provide training to all interested youths.”

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