Vaishno Devi yatra suspended as fire breaks out in Trikuta Hills
Jammu, May 23: The pilgrimage to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Cave Shrine was suspended on Wednesday when a devastating forest fire was broke out in Trikuta Hills in Katra town of Reasi district in Jammu and Kashmir.
“The pilgrimage on 13-kms long track from Katra base camp to Bhawan was suspended on Wednesday afternoon after a fire broke out in the woods of Trikuta Hills,” police sources here said.
They said that the wild fire spread fast and engulfed the Hemkoti, Sanji Chhat and Bhairon Ghati belts in the hills.
“Two MI-17 helicopters of Indian Air Force and two choppers of Army were immediately pressed into service and they are on job to douse the flames,” they added. They further said that around 7000 to 8000 pilgrims are stranded at Bhawan, who had performed darshan but were not being allowed to track towards Katra due to fire. Police sources added that over 20,000 pilgrims, are halted at Katra base camp in view of suspended yatra, adding, “the yatra will resume on Thursday morning only after reviewing the situation and if fire will be completely extinguished.”
Major relief to age-old pensioners, CM directs payment of 7th PC arrears in one go
SRINAGAR, May 23: Giving a major relief to senior citizens in the State, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti today directed paying of 7th Pay Commission arrears to pensioners above the age of 80 years in just one instalment. The humanitarian step of the Chief Minister is expected to benefit a large number of old aged pensioners. Recently a number of senior citizen pensioners had requested the Chief Minister for payment of 7th Pay Commission arrears in one go and today she passed the directions in this regard.
Lakhanpur is now Anti-Polythene Check Post
SRINAGAR, May 23: Government today accorded sanction to the renaming of Lakhanpur Forest Check Post as Anti-Polythene Check Post with the sole purpose of checking the entry of polythene in the state. The Check Post shall be manned and monitored by Forest Territorial, Pollution Control Board, and Forest Protection Force. The Check Post shall have the staff headed by the Range Officer Forest (Territorial) Lakhanpur under the overall supervision of Divisional Forest Officer Lakhanpur. The team shall work as Rapid Action Force and shall take all the necessary steps to check polythene related matters.Meanwhile, the Government also ordered that the anti-pollution check post-Lakhanpur shall also check smuggling of willow and minor forest produce.
Vaishno Devi: When will you finalise rehab plan, NGT asks J-K Govt
NEW DELHI, May 23: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) today expressed dissatisfaction over the status report filed by the Jammu and Kashmir Government on rehabilitation plan for those engaged in carrying pilgrims to the Vaishno Devi shrine on horses and mules, which have now been barred. A bench headed by acting NGT Chairperson Jawad Rahim said it was inclined to summon the State Chief Secretary to explain the default in implementation of the rehabilitation scheme. However, after a lot of persuasion by the State’s counsel, the green panel gave him a day to clearly inform it about the time within which the Government will comply with the directions of the tribunal. (Agencies)
Justice Prasad again appointed PCI chief
NEW DELHI, May 23: Former Supreme Court judge C K Prasad has been appointed the chairman of the Press Council of India (PCI) for a second term, an official notification said.
Prasad headed the media watchdog for three years from November 2014. He had succeeded Justice Markanday Katju.
“… The central government hereby notifies the re-nomination of Justice C K Prasad, retired judge of the Supreme Court of India, as the chairman of the Press Council of India,” said the notification of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, dated May 22. The notification was made public today. A three-member committee headed by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, which met last week, had given its nod for appointing Prasad as the PCI chief for a second term.
The Press Council of India is a statutory body with a mandate to act as a watchdog to oversee the conduct of the print media. It was reconstituted for three years in October, 2014 and the term ended in October last year. According to the Press Council Act, the council shall consist of a chairman and 28 other members. In March, the government had notified the names of eight nominated members of the reconstituted council, while 20 other names are yet to be announced. Prasad had said that the Council has submitted the names of the other members of the revamped PCI to the Centre, which will decide on its notification. Last month, the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) had accused the PCI chief of “biased” selection of new members. The claims were, however, rejected by the media watchdog, which said, laid down rules were followed in the process of induction of new members. The INS had also moved the Delhi High Court on PCI’s rejection of its nominee after which the court stayed the Council’s decision.
On April 9, eight prominent media bodies had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to defer a meeting of the “truncated” council scheduled on April 11, alleging that the PCI chairman had adopted “arbitrary” procedure to reconstitute the media watchdog. Countering the allegations, Prasad had said that he had followed the rules while making the nominations. (Agencies)
No agreement with Pak on resolving Indus Waters dispute: World Bank
Washington, May 23: The World Bank has said it failed to arrive at an agreement with a visiting Pakistani delegation on a way forward to address Islamabad’s concerns regarding the Indus Waters Treaty with India.
Over two days – Monday and yesterday — a high-powered Pakistani delegation led by Attorney General, Ashtar Ausaf Ali, met with Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank Chief Executive Officer, and the regional management for South Asia.
During the meetings, held at Pakistan’s request to discuss issues regarding the Indus Waters Treaty and opportunities within the treaty to seek an amicable resolution, “several procedural options” for resolving the disagreement over the interpretation of the treaty’s provisions were discussed, the bank said.
“While an agreement on the way forward was not reached at the conclusion of the meetings, the World Bank will continue to work with both countries to resolve the issues in an amicable manner and in line with the treaty provisions,” the Bank said in a statement at the end of the talks.
“The delegation of the Government of Pakistan also shared with the Bank their concerns about the recent inauguration of the Kishanganga hydroelectric plant,” the statement said.
Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated the 330 MW Kishanganga hydroelectric project in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan had protested the inauguration claiming that the project on a river flowing into Pakistan will disrupt water supplies.
The Embassy of Pakistan here did not immediately respond to questions related to the World Bank meeting.
“The Indus Waters Treaty is a profoundly important international agreement that provides an essential cooperative framework for India and Pakistan to address current and future challenges of effective water management to meet human needs and achieve development goals,” the Bank said.
As a signatory to the Treaty, the World Bank’s role is limited and procedural, it noted. “In particular, the role in relation to differences and disputes is limited to the designation of people to fulfil certain roles when requested by either or both parties,” the bank said.
At the conclusion of the talks, the World Bank said it remained committed to “act in good faith and with complete impartiality and transparency” in fulfilling its responsibilities under the treaty, while continuing to assist the two countries.
Vaishno Devi yatra suspended as fire breaks out in Trikuta Hills