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[India], Jun 20 (ANI): Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) Arvind Subramanian has stepped down from his post and will return to the United States, Union Minister Arun Jaitley announced on Wednesday.

In a Facebook post, Jaitley wrote that Subramanian's decision to go back to the US was due to "pressing family commitments", due to which he had no option but to agree with the latter.

"Few days ago, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian met me over video conferencing. He informed me that he would like to go back to the US on account of pressing family commitments. His reasons were personal but extremely important for him. He left me with no option but to agree with him," he said.

The Union Minister added that he had requested Subramanian to continue for some more time after the latter's three-year term expired in October last year.

"Even at that stage, he told me that he was torn between family commitment and his current job, which he considered the best and most fulfilling he has ever done," he added.

Lauding Subramanian for his expertise and achievements, Jaitley said, "Arvind's interaction with the Government in the Ministry of Finance, Prime Minister's Office and with other Departments was both formal and informal. His instantaneous communications with his interlocutors had increased his effectiveness. The Chief Economic Advisor's job had multi-facets to it. He is not a spokesman of the Government. He is an Advisor who has to analyse and thinks several steps ahead. It is a unique responsibility with freedom to the work that he enjoys. Arvind functioned within these parameters and concentrated on the challenges to the economy."

The Union Minister said the adoption of macroeconomic strategy of higher public investment in the 2015-16 Union Budget was due to Subramanian's early diagnosis of the twin balance-sheet. He also said Subramanian conceptualised JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhar, Mobile) as a database for availing public benefits and contributed to the debate of federalism.

Jaitley also heaped praises on Subramanian for coming out with newer ideas and policy reforms in the sectors of clothing, fertilizers, kerosene, power and pulses.

"His report on the Revenue Neutral Rate was of great use in forging a consensus which led to the constitution amendment enabling the GST. He participated in every meeting of GST, gave his independent views and was heard in rapt attention by almost every Finance Minister," Jaitley wrote in the post.

He further claimed that Subramanian's four "Economic Surveys" were treated by several independent critics as one of the best ever produced, and was considered as "basic teaching material" all over the country.

"He thought ahead and, therefore, came out with futuristic ideas on rationalisation of removal of "subsidies for the rich", universal basic income, climate change, from "socialism without entry and capitalism without exit" and the four C's that he had historically paralysed decision making. He conducted the first online course on Indian economy for the benefits of students and teachers across the country," he opined.

Jaitley also credited Subramanian for the launching of "Swayam", the Centre's online education platform which became one of the most followed courses in India.

He then went on to say that during his three and a half year tenure, Subramanian built up a strong team of both "insiders" and "outsiders" in the Economic Division of the Finance Ministry.

"Personally I will miss his dynamism, energy, intellectual ability and ideas. He would walk into my room - at times several times a day, addressing me as "Minister" to give either the good news or otherwise. Needless to say, his departure will be missed by me. But I know that his heart is very much here. I am sure he will keep sending advice and analysis wherever he is,"

Responding to the Facebook Post, Subramanian thanked Jaitley for the "extraordinarily generous words", while describing the post of the chief economic advisor as the "most rewarding, fulfilling and exciting."

"Profoundly grateful & humbled by these extraordinarily generous words by Minister @arunjaitley announcing my decision to return-for personal reasons-to researching & writing. CEA job most rewarding, fulfilling, exciting I have ever had. Many many to thank:https://m.facebook.com/notes/arun-jaitley/thank-you-arvind/804077679780782/ .," Subramanian wrote on Twitter.

Subramanian, whose term was to end on October 16 last year, was given a year's extension by the Centre.

The principal author of the annual Economic Survey, Subramanian took over as the CEA on October 16, 2014, owing to a vacancy post the appointment of Raghuram Rajan as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor in September 2013. (ANI)

Posted: June 20, 2018, 10:57 am

[India], June 20 (ANI): Hyderabad Central University student Rohit Vemula's mother refuted the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) allegations that she had accepted money from the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) for speaking against the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Speaking to ANI, Vemula's mother clarified that even though "it's true that the IUML promised to provide me with money, but they haven't used me for political gains."

"It was my wish to speak against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and if needed I will speak again in any of their meeting. The IUML had sent us two cheques of Rs 2.5 lakh out of which one has bounced. We informed them and they said they will directly provide us money so that we can buy a house," she said.

Earlier today, BJP leader Piyush Goyal, while addressing a press conference alleged that the IUML had offered Rohit's mother a sum of Rs 20 Lakh to malign the image of the BJP.

"IUML made fake promises to provide them (Rohith Vemula's family) Rs 20 lakh and asked them to address their rallies and misrepresent the unfortunate incident and then not completed that promise. This is condemnable," Goyal said.

He further slammed the IUML for giving a political angle to the death of the Hyderabad Central University student and exploiting his mother's grief for some "very low level of politics".

"I was shocked after reading Rohith Vemula's mother's statement. For how long will some opposition parties continue these lowly deeds for petty political gains? The family is not financially stable and fake assurance of money was provided to a distressed mother for political purposes," he added.

Rohit, a Dalit PhD scholar at the Hyderabad Central University, was found hanging from a ceiling fan in a hostel room on January 17, 2016. (ANI)

Posted: June 20, 2018, 10:36 am

[India], June 20 (ANI): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday hit out at the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and Congress for misusing Rohit Vemula's suicide incident for their political gains.

Addressing a press conference, BJP leader Piyush Goyal said that the IUML had offered Rohit's mother Radhika a sum of Rs 20 Lakh to malign the image of the BJP.

"IUML made fake promises to provide them (Rohith Vemula's family) Rs 20 lakh and asked them to address their rallies and misrepresent the unfortunate incident and then not completed that promise. This is condemnable," Goyal said.

He further slammed the IUML for giving a political angle to the death of the Hyderabad Central University student and exploiting his mother's grief for some "very low level of politics".

"I was shocked after reading Rohith Vemula's mother's statement. For how long will some opposition parties continue these lowly deeds for petty political gains? The family is not financially stable and fake assurance of money was provided to a distressed mother for political purposes," he added.

Rohith's mother had reportedly said that the IUML took them to Kerala and made them participate in a big meeting where the party promised that it would sanction Rs 20 lakh and construct a house for them but nothing happened.

Goyal further alleged that Congress president Rahul Gandhi also asked Vemula's family to attend public events and make statements against the BJP. Goyal also asked Rahul to tender an apology for the same.

Rohit, a PhD scholar at the Hyderabad Central University, was found hanging from a ceiling fan in a hostel room on January 17, 2016. He was allegedly upset over disciplinary action taken against him by the university. (ANI)

Posted: June 20, 2018, 10:27 am

[Austria], Jun 20 (ANI): Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan said on Wednesday that India will again appeal to the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for a reasonable fuel price.

Pradhan told ANI, "Being a consuming country, we always expect a reasonable fuel price. India is consistent on this issue for the last few years and we'll repeat our appeal in the seminar. They're taking us seriously. Four years back, they were just listening to us. In an era of consumerism, India will have its own voice."

Pradhan added that India should get reasonable and inexpensive fuel prices as per requirements.

Highlighting the importance of the OPEC seminar, he further said, "In the era of energy security, this OPEC seminar will play a major role of reassurance for non-disruptive energy supply network."

On Monday, Pradhan said India will raise the issue of the recent fuel price hike at the OPEC meeting.

"The OPEC countries are going to meet in Vienna. India is also going to be a part of it. We will put our points forward. We'll seek responsible crude oil pricing from OPEC and we will ensure that oil prices remain within common man's reach," he told reporters in Delhi.

Pradhan had also pointed out that the less production of oil in the OPEC, reduced value of the Indian rupee in comparison to the US dollar and a hike in crude oil price in the international market were some of the factors affecting fuel prices in India.

As per a release from OPEC, the organisation will host the 7th OPEC International Seminar at the Imperial Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, on June 20-21 under the theme - 'Petroleum - cooperation for a sustainable future'.

The seminar will provide fresh impetus to key petroleum industry issues and challenges, helping to enhance existing avenues of dialogue and cooperation, while stimulating new ones.

It will feature presentations by officials from energy and oil ministries, executives from oil companies and financial firms, and other representatives from international organizations and research institutions, according to the release.

The meeting will seek to reinforce OPEC's longstanding commitment to strive towards a secure and stable market in support of a healthy global economy. It will also highlight the need for continuing promotion of cooperation and dialogue with all oil industry stakeholders, including producers and consumers. (ANI)

Posted: June 20, 2018, 9:30 am

[India], Jun 20 (ANI): Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Wednesday said that the imposition of Governor's Rule in Jammu and Kashmir will not interrupt the operations against terrorists.

General Rawat's response came after President Ram Nath Kovind approved the imposition of Governor's Rule in the state with immediate effect earlier in the day.

He told ANI, "We only stopped our operations during Ramzan. But, we saw what happened. The imposing of Governor's Rule will not affect our operations. Our operations will go on like they used to. We don't face any political interference."

After receiving President Kovind's approval, state governor N.N. Vohra on Wednesday issued the Proclamation to impose Governor's Rule under section 92 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Governor's Rule was necessitated after Mehbooba Mufti resigned as Jammu and Kashmir's Chief Minister, following the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) exit from its alliance with the People's Democratic Party (PDP) in the state on Tuesday. (ANI)

Posted: June 20, 2018, 9:21 am
New Delhi: In a Facebook post Arun Jaitley writes of Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian's decision to go back to the United States on account of family commitments. He adds that he had no option but to agree with Subramanian.

This is what Jaitley, who is recuperating after his kidney transplant, wrote today on Facebook.

"Few days ago Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian met me over video conferencing. He informed me that he would like to go back to the United States on account of pressing family commitments. His reasons were personal but extremely important for him. He left me with no option but to agree with him.

"Arvind had joined us as the Chief Economic Advisor on 16th October, 2014 for a period of three years. On the expiry of the three years I had requested him to continue for some more time. Even at that stage he told me that he was torn between family commitment and his current job which he considered the best and most fulfilling he has ever done.

"Arvinds interaction with the Government in the Ministry of Finance, Prime Ministers Office and with other Departments was both formal and informal. His instantaneous communications with his interlocutors had increased his effectiveness. The Chief Economic Advisors job had multi-facets to it. He is not a spokesman of the Government. He is an Advisor who has to analyse and thinks several steps ahead. It is a unique responsibility with freedom to the work that he enjoys. Arvind functioned within these parameters and concentrated on the challenges to the economy. His early diagnosis of the twin balance-sheet had led us to adopt the macro-economic strategy of higher public investment in the Budget of 2015-16. He conceptualised JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhar, Mobile) as a data base for availing public benefits. He contributed to the debate of federalism by conceptualising that the Indian federalism has not merely to be cooperative but also competitive. He came out with newer ideas, policy reforms in the sectors of clothing, fertilizers, kerosene, power and pulses. His report on the Revenue Neutral Rate was of great use in forging a consensus which led to the constitution amendment enabling the GST. He participated in every meeting of GST, gave his independent views and was heard in rapt attention by almost every Finance Minister.

"He elevated the quality of the analysis and the presentation of ideas for public deliberation in his four Economic Surveys. His documents for four years was treated by several independent critics as one of the best ever produced. The latest survey had about 15 million visitors from 117 countries. The Economic Survey today is a basic teaching material all over India. He thought ahead and, therefore, came out with futuristic ideas on rationalisation of removal of subsidies for the rich, universal basic income, climate change, from socialism without entry and capitalism without exit and the four Cs that he had historically paralysed decision making. He conducted the first online course on Indian economy for the benefits of students and teachers across the country. He launched the Governments online education platform Swayam, which became one of the most followed courses in India. He travelled across the country and spoke on public platforms on economic issues to elevate the quality of public discourse. He built up a strong team of both insiders and outsiders in the Economic Division of the Ministry.

"Personally I will miss his dynamism, energy, intellectual ability and ideas. He would walk into my room at times several times a day, addressing me as Minister to give either the good news or otherwise. Needless to say his departure will be missed by me. But I know that his heart is very much here. I am sure he will keep sending advice and analysis wherever he is.

I wish Arvind Subramanian and his family all the very best.

Thank you Arvind."

It may be recalled that RBI governor, who was also a colleague of Arvind Subramanian at the World Bank, quit his job in June 2016.

Posted: June 20, 2018, 9:08 am
New Delhi: Radhika Vemula, Rohith Vemula's mother, today clarified that while it was true that the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) had promised to provide her with money, they haven't used her for political gains. "It was my wish to speak against PM Modi and if needed I will speak again in any of their meeting. IUML sent us two cheques of Rs 2.5 lakh out of which one has bounced. We informed them and they said they will directly provide us the money so that we can buy a house," Radhika Vemula said.

The statement comes after the BJP on Wednesday accused Opposition parties of playing "low-level politics' over Rohit Vemula's death after a report claimed that the Dalit scholar's mother slammed the Indian Union Muslim League for making "false promises'.

"Indian Union Muslim League made fake promises to provide them (Rohith Vemula's family) Rs 20 lakh and asked them to address their rallies and misrepresent the unfortunate incident',' Union Minister Piyush Goyal said at a press conference.

Days after Rohith committed suicide in his hostel room, the IUML had promised his mother Radhika Rs 20 lakh for building a house for the family.

"I was anxious after reading Rohith Vemula's mother's statement. For how long will some opposition parties continue to play politics over it? The family is not financially stable. Fake assurance of money was provided to a distressed mother for political purposes," Goyal said.

He also demanded Congress president Rahul Gandhi apologise for indulging in such "petty politics'.

"I received information that even Congress President took them (Vemula's family) to rallies and asked them to make statements. Rahul Gandhi should apologise for doing petty politics on pillar of lies," Goyal said.

The Indian Union Muslim League, however, called the cheque bounce a clerical mistake.

Posted: June 20, 2018, 8:57 am

[India], June 20 (ANI): Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Wednesday inaugurated the Eastern Delta Regulator at the Prakasam Barrage on Krishna River.

From this regulator, water will be released into the eastern delta ayacut (the area served by an irrigation project) in Krishna district spanning over an area of 7.34 lakh acres. The water is being drawn from the Godavari River via the Pattiseema Lift Irrigation project. This is fourth consecutive year water from the Godavari is being given to Krishna delta.

Irrigation minister Devineni Umamaheswar Rao, local public representatives accompanied Naidu for the inauguration.

"This project fulfills the needs of Krishna, Guntur and Prakasam districts. As the Polavaram project was taking very long, we first built the Pattiseema lift irrigation project. We will also connect the Penna, Vamsadhara and Nagavali rivers with the Godavari. Then water from the Godavari will be available to North Andhra and Rayalaseema regions also. We have to maintain ecological balance. Only that protects water," he said in his speech.

He also blasted opposition parties for hindering the progress, saying, "The opposition is trying to create hurdles at every juncture, but we are overcoming all of them. When opposition parties make baseless allegations, everyone should come out and condemn such attempts."

Recently, the Andhra Chief Minister has been on a virtual inspection spree. On June 15, he inspected the condition at Prakasam Barrage and other ghats on Krishna River.

CM Naidu also said that he will continue similar virtual inspections of all irrigation canals in the state using drone cameras and warned the officials to be alert or be ready to face stern action. (ANI)

Posted: June 20, 2018, 8:39 am

[India], June 20 (ANI): Union Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has said there has been an unprecedented and inclusive development across his parliamentary constituency of Chandni Chowk.

Giving an account of the developmental works and welfare measures initiated by him in Chandni Chowk in the four years of the NDA government, he listed the Rani Jhansi Flyover, the construction of 1675 multi-story flats for slum dwellers, the multilevel 2400-vehicle modern parking at Gandhi Maidan, Chandni Chowk, the state-of-the-art Power Grid station at Piragarhi as some of the major projects completed under his watch.

He claimed that he had also been instrumental in setting up about 50 open gyms in parks, construction and modernisation of school buildings, installation of high-mast LED lights, providing passenger amenities in five railway stations, setting up multiple skill development centres, construction of community halls and development of three urban villages under SansadAdarsh Gram Yojana.

"I have obtained sanction for another 237 projects, including 80 more open gyms, development of parks, high mast lights, repairing of roads, installation of tubewells, etc." said Dr. Harsh Vardhan.

He said that the Rani Jhansi Flyover project had been held up a decade, and that it was only after a regular follow up with the Union Ministry of Urban Development and local bodies, that work on it had been revived and it is now expected to be commissioned by August end.

The 1.6 km flyover from Filmistan Cinema to St. Stephens Hospital is critical to decongest important stretches in Old and Central Delhi - it will connect Central-East-West and North Delhi, bypassing the heavily congested Azad Market area.

Parking is a major problem in the national capital. Considering that there are several congested commercial areas in the constituency, the issue was taken up with the local authorities and now 13 Stack level parking stations and 7 Multilevel Parking stations on PPP Mode have been sanctioned.

Stack Level

1. LNJP Hospital

2. Salimgarh Fort, Hanuman Sethu

3. Fatehpuri

4. Pratapnagar Metro Station

5. Mukherjee Nagar

6. NaniwalaBagh

7. BQ Block, Shalimar Bagh

8. BW Block Shalimar Bagh

9. BN Block Shalimar Bagh

10. NigambodhGhat

Multilevel Parking

1. Shiva Market, Pitampura

2. Gandhi Maidan, Near Red Fort

3. Sant Nagar (Rani Bagh)

4. Idgah Road

5. U&V Block, Shalimar Bagh

6. AC Block, Shalimar Bagh

7. Madipur Metro Station

Passenger facilities at Railway Stations

There are five railway stations in Chandni Chowk Parliamentary Constituency - New Delhi, Old Delhi, Sarai Rohilla, Sadar Bazar and Shakur Basti. Several passenger amenities were implemented as a result of regular interactions with the Ministry of Railways -

New Delhi

(i) Renovation of waiting room at an expenditure of Rs. 9.0 crores

(ii) Construction of a new waiting room

(iii) Installation of 16 new escalators

(iv) WiFi facility at New Delhi station

(v) Installation of 16 water coolers

(vi) Installation of 6 automatic ticket vending machine

(vii) Set up a control room and 11 KV Electric Station for uninterrupted power supply

Old Delhi Railway Station

(i) Construction of facilitation counters, ticket booths, Waiting Hall on Hamilton Road, Kashmiri Gate side.

(ii) Installation of six escalators is in progress

(iii) Renovation of three Dormitories at a cost of Rs. 35 lakhs

(iv) Reconstruction of Platform No. 16 at a cost of Rs. 1.7 crores

(v) Setting up of automatic ticket vending machines,

(vi) The station has been made Divyang-friendly

Sarai Rohilla Station

(i) Resurfacing of Platforms

(ii) Steel benches at Waiting Hall

(iii) Renovation of foot-overbridge

(iv) Development of approach road from New Rohtak Road

(v) Installation of lift

(vi) Installation of Escalator (Under progress)

SabziMandi Station

Development of main entrance to the station and parking facilities

Shakur Basti Railway Station

Redevelopment of Shakur Basti Railway Station is complete

Construction of additional blocks/renovation in schools

As many as 18 school buildings were either renovated/or additional blocks constructed. Some of these projects are still in progress. These include:

1. Gujaranwala Town Primary School

2. Model Town-2 Primary School

3. Municipal Corporation Primary School, Lalitha Block, Shastri Nagar

4. Jhandewalan Kadam Sharif School

5. PaschimVihar Block A-5 PrathibhaVidyalaya

6. Ashok Vihar Phase-3 Municipal Corporation Primary School

7. Pitampura CP Block Primary School

8. Azadpur, Bhadola Village Primary School

9. Multan Nagar, PaschimVihar Municipal Corporation Primary School

10. Shalimar Bagh C&D Block School (In progress)

11. Foundation Stone for Hyderpur Municipal Corporation Girls Primary School

12. Inauguration of new Municipal Corporation Primary School at Block C-7, Keshavpuram

13. Inauguration of new building of Municipal Corporation Primary School at Prem Nagar, SadarPaharGanj Zone

14. Inauguration of new building of Municipal Corporation Primary School at Amarpuri, SadarPaharGanj Zone

15. Inauguration of new Municipal Corporation Primary School at A-4, PaschimVihar

16. Foundation Stone for Municipal Corporation Primary School at HU Block Pitampura

17. Foundation Stone for Municipal Corporation Primary School at AC Block, Shalimar Bagh

18. Inauguration of new block and swimming pool at Municipal Corporation Primary School, SP Block, Pitampura

Library & Recreational Facilities

The Minister has also been instrumental in the construction of a new building for Delhi Public Library's Ashok Vihar branch and he provided assistance for interior decoration. He has also sanctioned Rs. 15 lakh from MPLADS fund for a mobile library to be stationed outside Old Delhi Railway Station. Besides, a recreational centre for senior citizens was set up in CU Block of Pitampura.

Community Centres

As many as 12 community centres were constructed in the constituency:

1. MajnuKaTila

2. Azadpur MCD Colony

3. Idgah

4. Sahipur, Shalimar Bagh

5. VardhamanVatika, Trinagar

6. C-Block Shakurpur (Anandvas)

7. Ramgarh, Jahangirpuri

8. CD Block Shalimar Bagh (Under construction)

9. Captain Satish Marg, Rishi Nagar

10. BG-6 Block, PaschimVihar

11. Qutab Road

12. A-5 Block PaschimVihar

Major Road Connectivity projects

(1) East-West Corridor

The proposal is for construction of a corridor from AnandVihar to Peeragarhi. It is being considered to connect from the intersection of Nizambuddin Bridge to Peeragarhi through Ring Road, ITO, DeenDayalUpadhyay Marg, New Delhi Railway Station, Ajmeri Gate, Deshbandhu Gupta Road, Old Rohtak Road, Anand Parbat Industrial Area, Zakira and Peeragarh (approximately 30 Kms). The proposal is to construct an elevated corridor connecting NH 24 to NH 10.

(2) Consultant appointed for study of highway connecting Haiderpur Water Works to Premwadi Bridge.

(3) Centre has allocated Rs. 34,100 crores for a third ring road, of which Rs. 6,000 crores will be utilised for development of NH-24.

Development of Heritage Sites

Two main heritage spots in the constituency are being developed in close coordination with the Heritage and Tourism Department of Delhi Government. These are Naini Lake in Model Town and Roshanara Park.Ministry of Culture has approved a proposal for development of RoshanaraBagh at an expense of Rs. 12 crores.

A decision has also been taken for re-development of the Town Hall in Chandni Chowk into a heritage museum.

Repair and refurbishing of KashmereDarwaza at Kashmere Gate and renovation of Archaeological Park at Sarai Pipalthala, were the other works done to preserve heritage sites in the constituency.

Apart from these, several projects were implemented for face-lift of historical sites like Jama Masjid, QudsiaBagh and Shahjahanabad.

Delhi Metro Development

Dr Harsh Vardhan said, his efforts to speed up early implementation of Delhi Metro's Majlis Park-DurgabhaiDeshmukh South Campus Pink Line and ITO-Kashmere Gate section has paid off. Both the sections have since been opened for public.

Peeragarhi Power Grid

A state of the art technology 220 KV substation was set up with the help of Ministry of Power in Peeragarhi. It will be a landmark in strengthening the power transmission system in the North West Delhi.

Adoption of Urban Villages

Under the SansadAdarsh Gram Yojana, the minister had adopted Dhirpur Village during the first two years, where a comprehensive development plan was implemented, the highlights of which are as under:

1. Redevelopment of AmbedkarChaupal

2. Development of Coronation Park

3. Renovation of Municipal Corporation School at a cost of Rs. 1 crore

4. Development of cremation ground at a cost of Rs. 92.5 lakhs

The second village he had adopted was Ghoga Village, where several development works were carried out using funds from MPLADs and with the help of Municipal Corporation of Delhi and DDA.

1. Distribution of 87 benches at main public places in the village

2. Redevelopment of parks at a cost of Rs. 53.35 lakhs

3. Ordered development of rainwater storage tank in the village.

4. Installation of semi High Mast LED lamps

Currently, the minister said that he has adopted Singhola Village near Narela, where several development works are in progress. The proposals under consideration are, construction of a community centre, setting up of a school, beautification of the village pond and repair of roads.

Redevelopment of Parks

Dr. Harsh Vardhan said he has been instrumental in redeveloping as many as 67 parks across the constituency. Apart from these, three new parks are being developed at the following places:

1. Birla Mill Green Zone

2. Model Town

3. Redevelopment of DeendayalUpadhyay Park and NakshatraVatika (Completed)

Open Gyms

At the behest of Dr Harsh Vardhan44 Open Gyms were set up in parks throughout Chandni Chowk constituency. Apart from this, around 75 Gyms are planned to be set up during this year.

1. Indira Nagar Mahila Park

2. Sanjay Enclave, Adarsh Nagar

3. Rampura, Behind SDM Office

4. Kohat Enclave Park, Pitampura

5. Haidarpur Village

6. Beriwala Park, Ashok Vihar Phase 2

7. AB Block Park, LokVihar

8. Rose Garden Park, Trinagar

9. Sahib Singh Verma Park, Keshavpuram

10. AsokVihar Phase I, Behind E-67 Block

11. Ashok Vihar Phase I, Behind A-61 Block

12. Kamla Nagar D Block Park

13. Sandesh Vihar, Pitampura

14. Ismail Khan Park, GT Road

15. District Park, Shastri Nagar (56 Bhiga Park)

16. Bandarwala Park, Gulabibagh

17. SainikVihar, Pitampura

18. PaschimVihar District Park

19. Shalimar Bagh, Sheeshmahal Park

20. BrijVihar District Park, Pitampura

21. Shalimar Bagh, Motawala Park

22. AE Block, Shalimar Bagh

23. Sanjay Van, Pitampura

24. Ashok Park

25. Shakti Vihar, AnandVihar Park, Pitampura

26. ChandiwalaBagh, Ashok Vihar

27. Ashok Vihar, D-90, Phase I

28. BG-6 Park, PaschimVihar

29. Rajiv Gandhi Park, PaschimVihar

30. DDA Park, PaschimVihar (Behind B-3 Block)

31. Fountain Park in front of Crescent School, Pitampura

32. Maharaja Agrasen Park, ISBT

33. Keshavpura, Hathoda Ram Park

34. Keshavpuram B-2/B-3 Park

35. Kanhaiya Nagar, Narang Colony Park

36. A-Block Park, Ashok Vihar

37. D-Block Park, Kamla Nagar

38. AB Block, SaraswatiVihar

39. D-Block, SharadaNiketan

40. Kapil Vihar Park, Pitampura

41. Laxmibhai College, Ashok Vihar

42. Sushil Mohan Mahila Park, Opp. Old Delhi Railway Station

43. Picnic Hut, Savan Park

44. HU Block, DDA Park, Pitampura

Medical Camps

Dr. Harsh Vardhan said he has been organising many free medical camps in his constituency for poor and underprivileged. Free check-up for sight and hearing were carried out and lenses or hearing aids distributed free of cost at these camps. Besides, persons requiring cataract surgeries were referred to hospitals for free procedures. So far over 21,000 beneficiaries were examined and about 19,000 people were given free medicines. Free glasses were distributed to more than 12,000 persons, free hearing aids to over 900 people and cataract surgeriesarranged for 660 people. So far, 31 such free camps have been organised.

Apart from these, seven camps were organised in association with Union Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment. At these camps, aids like Tricycles, Wheel Chairs, Crutches, Hearing Machines, Folding Sticks, Braille Kits, MSID Kits etc worth Rs. 2.78 crore were distributed. In addition, motorized tricycles worth Rs. 16.48 lakhs were also distributed to needy.

Skill Development Programme

Five skill development centres were set up in Chandni Chowk constituency to train youth in different trades.

1. Jama Masjid

2. Anand Parbat

3. Rani Bagh

4. Paharganj

5. Netaji Subhash Place

Clean India

Under Prime Minister's Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, a number of modern public amenities were constructed, in close coordination with Municipal Corporation and other agencies.

1. Nabi Karim, Paharganj

2. Sangam Park

3. Lal Bagh

4. Outside Old Delhi Railway Station

5. MajnuKaTila

6. A-5 Block Market, PaschimVihar

7. Kishan Lal Sharma Park, North PaschimVihar

8. RUSU Block Pitampura

9. Rampura (near Mother Diary)

10. Ramnagar, Ashok Basti

11. 56 Bigha Park, Shastri Nagar

12. Yamuna Bazar, Hanuman Mandir (Marghatwale)

13. AngooriKhatta (near RamlilaMaidan)

UjjwalaYojana

Held camps at Wazirpur JJ Colony and Keshavapuramand distributed free cooking gas connections under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's flagship programme "UjjwalaYojana".

Jahan Jhuggi, WahanPakkaMakan

Construction of 1675 multi-story flats is underway for relocation of people living in slum colonies. These include JailorwalaBagh and Ashok Vihar, where amenities like anganwadi, health centre, creche, community hall, PDS shop, etc. would also be provided.

Surya Jyoti

Solar lights developed by a research facility, with support from Department of Science & Technology have been installed inLalbagh clusters in Azadpur area. These are low cost and environment-friendly solar lighting device, which would prove to be a boon for the urban and rural households in the country that do not have reliable access to electricity. NitiAyog has now approved Surya Jyoti for installation all over India.

GST

After the introduction of GST by the government, traders and businessmen had a number of concerns/doubts. Dr Harsh Vardhanheld several interactions with them and taken up their concerns directly with Prime Minister and Finance Minister andas a result, 90% of their concerns were redressed.

Post Offices

Two post offices were set up in Rani Bagh and Rajdhani Enclave in North West Delhi.

Waste Process Plant

Set up a plant, using unique technology, for reprocessing of flower waste at NigambodhGhat into compost and other useful products.

Other development/Welfare activities done during the last four years in nutshell are-

1. Forwarded 8,247 applications for old age pension/financial assistance to Social Welfare Department of the Delhi Government.

2. Facilitated assistance from Prime Minister's Relief Fund to 185 families for treatment or serious ailments.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, the mobile application launched by him acts as an interface with people in his constituency. He said, a large number of requests were received through the mobile application, which were taken up with various agencies for resolution. (ANI)

Posted: June 20, 2018, 8:35 am

[India], June 20 (ANI): After receiving a nod from President Ram Nath Kovind on imposing Governor's rule in Jammu and Kashmir, NN Vohra will hold a significant meeting in Srinagar on Wednesday.

The officials belonging to the three areas like Security, Administration and Governance will attend the meeting headed by Governor Vohra will take place at around 2 pm at Raj Bhavan.

As accessed by ANI, the list of senior officials who will be present during the meet are -

- Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, Northern Army Commander

- BB Vyas, Chief Secretary

- Lt Gen AK Bhat, GoC 15 Corps

- SP Vaid, DGP

- Umang Narula, PS to the Governor

- Rajkumar Goel, PS to Government, Home Department

- Munir Ahmad Khan, ADGP, Home Guards and Security

- AG Mir, ADGP CID

- Rahul Rasgotra, JD IB

- Zulifiquar Hasan, IGP Operations, CRPF

- Ravideep Singh Sahi, IG CRPF

- Shyam Prakash Pani, IGP Kashmir

- Nitin Jeet Singh, Addl Commissioner, Special Bureau, Srinagar

The Governor's Rule in the state came into effect after Mehbooba Mufti resigned as Jammu and Kashmir's Chief Minister following the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) exit from its alliance with the People's Democratic Party (PDP).

Earlier in the day, President Kovind approved the imposition of Governor's rule in Jammu and Kashmir, with an immediate effect.

Yesterday, Governor Vohra forwarded his report to the President of India for the imposition of Governor's Rule under Section 92 of the Constitution. (ANI)

Posted: June 20, 2018, 8:35 am

[India], June 20 (ANI): Representatives of the Vedanta Group-owned Sterlite Copper plant on Wednesday approached the Madras High Court, appealing for the provision of the minimum manpower and electricity to maintain the factory.

Their plea stated that they needed a power supply and authorised personnel to rectify the leakage of sulfuric acid in the plant, the process for which had begun on June 18.

Earlier, Thoothukudi District Collector Sandeep Nanduri had informed the media that all the necessary security protocols were being followed to ensure the safety of locals.

Last month, the people of Thoothukudi protested against Sterlite industries, demanding a ban on the plant alleging that it was polluting groundwater, and was hazardous for the environment.

The protests took a violent turn on May 22 when police opened fire on the protesters, which killed 13 people and left at least 102 injured. (ANI)

Posted: June 20, 2018, 8:32 am

[India], June 20 (ANI): Soon after receiving President Ram Nath Kovind's approval, Governor NN Vohra on Wednesday issued the Proclamation to impose Governor's Rule under section 92 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Governor held discussions with Chief Secretary B.B. Vyas today forenoon and identified the major tasks which shall require to be dealt with on a strict time bound basis, beginning from today.

To gear up the State administrative machinery to function with speed, efficiency and accountability the Governor will speak to senior officers of the Civil, Police, Forest and other departments today.

Governor Vohra will also address senior administrative officers and security forces on Wednesday at 11:45 am in Srinagar, according to a government release.

This meeting shall be followed by a Security Review Meeting at the Raj Bhavan.

Earlier in the day, President Kovind approved the imposition of Governor's rule in Jammu and Kashmir, with an immediate effect.

Yesterday, Governor Vohra forwarded his report to the President of India for the imposition of Governor's Rule under Section 92 of the Constitution.

This came after Mehbooba Mufti resigned as Jammu and Kashmir's Chief Minister following the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) exit from its alliance with the People's Democratic Party (PDP) in the state. (ANI)

Posted: June 20, 2018, 8:27 am

[India], June 20 (ANI): Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday met the family of Rifleman Aurangzeb, who was abducted and later killed by terrorists in Pulwama's Gusoo.

The Defence Minister met the family of the deceased at his residence in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch.

Talking to media, Sitharaman said Aurangzeb and his family stands out as an inspiration for the entire nation.

"I came to meet martyr's family. I have spent some time here. One message I can take back from here is that here's a family, here's a martyr, who stands out as an inspiration for the entire nation," she said.

Her visit comes two days after Army Chief General Bipin Rawat also met the family of Aurangzeb.

After Aurangzeb's demise, his family had made an emotional appeal to the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir government to eliminate militancy from the state.

Aurangzeb was abducted from Pulwama by terrorists and later his bullet-ridden body was recovered on June 14.

The deceased Army man was proceeding towards his home on account of the festival of Eid, when he was abducted in broad daylight from a vehicle. After his abduction, the Jammu and Kashmir Police had launched a massive manhunt.

Aurangzeb belonged to 44 Rashtriya Rifles, and was posted in Shopian district. (ANI)

Posted: June 20, 2018, 8:27 am
Mumbai: There was a 64% rise in terror incidents in Jammu and Kashmir over three years to 2017, providing some perspective to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) decision to call off its three-year alliance with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Over 800 terror incidents have been reported in J&K over the three years ending 2017–up from 208 in 2015 to 342 in 2017–according to an IndiaSpend analysis of government data.

As many as 744 people died in these three years: 471 terrorists, 201 security forces and 72 civilians, the data show.

It was amidst this scenario eight months ago that home minister Rajnath Singh said the situation in the conflict ridden state was “improving”. “I don’t want to claim that everything is completely fine but things are improving, this I can say with firm belief,” Singh said on September 11, 2017.

The state saw the most terror incidents in 2017 since 2010, which saw 488 incidents.

J&K witnessed the fewest terror incidents (170) over the last 28 years in 2013. Since then, incidents have more than doubled over the last four years to 2017.

The PDP and the BJP formed a coalition government in Jammu & Kashmir in March 2015. Since then armed encounters between militants and security forces have increased by 53% over the preceding three years, IndiaSpend reported on May 18, 2018. In 247 encounters recorded from 2015 to 2017, 439 militants (including 156 Kashmiris) and 200 government forces (including 109 army personnel) were killed.

The rift between the two parties widened following the central government’s decision to resume anti-terror operations in the state after Ramzan, NDTV reported on June 19, 2018.

“We have taken a decision, it is untenable for BJP to continue in alliance with PDP in Jammu & Kashmir, hence we are withdrawing,” Ram Madhav, BJP national general secretary, said.

We have taken a decision, it is untenable for BJP to continue in alliance with PDP in Jammu & Kashmir, hence we are withdrawing: Ram Madhav, BJP pic.twitter.com/NWsmr7Io9e

— ANI (@ANI) June 19, 2018

Terrorism, violence and radicalisation have risen and fundamental rights of the citizens are under danger in the Valley. #ShujaatBukhari's killing is an example: Ram Madhav, BJP pic.twitter.com/0T0HLurWVu

— ANI (@ANI) June 19, 2018

Keeping in mind larger interest of India's security and integrity, fact is that J&K is an integral part of India, in order to bring control over the situation prevailing in the state we have decided that the reigns of power in the state be handed over to the Governor: Ram Madhav pic.twitter.com/RauqGYtAQn

— ANI (@ANI) June 19, 2018
The withdrawal of support by the BJP led to the resignation by chief minister Mehbooba Mufti.

“I am not shocked,” Mufti said on the withdrawal of BJP from the alliance. “We didn’t do this alliance for power. This alliance had a bigger motive- unilateral ceasefire, PM’s visit to Pakistan, withdrawal of cases against 11,000 youth.”

With the chief minister resigning, the state is likely to be under Governor’s rule. This is the eighth time governor’s rule is being imposed on the state.

The PDP won 28 of 87 seats in the 2014 state assembly elections with the BJP coming second with 25. By quitting the J&K government, the BJP is now in power in 19 of 29 states.

J&K saw most terror incidents in 1995

J&K saw the most terror incidents (5,938) in 1995 in which 1,332 terrorists were killed and 1,031 civilians and 237 security forces lost their lives.

In 2001, the state saw most (2,020) terrorist deaths and maximum security forces (536) lost their lives.

Source: Lok Sabha 1; 2
Note: The data in Parliamentary Standing Committee report on terror incidents in J&K from 1990 to March 12, 2017 do not tally with the total given in the table. We have sent an email to the ministry of home affairs on June 18, 2018, requesting clarification on the data. We will update the copy as soon as we receive any response. We have used data from 1990 to 2016 from the parliamentary report, and data for 2017 from a Lok Sabha reply dated March 13, 2018.

More than 70,000 terror incidents have been reported in J&K over the last 28 years ending 2017, in which 22,143 terrorists were killed and 13,976 civilians and 5,123 soldiers lost their lives.

J&K was rocked by a series of killings last week: Journalist Shujaat Bukhari was shot dead on June 13, and rifleman Aurangzeb Khan of the Indian army was kidnapped and killed on June 14.

The United Nations released a report on June 14, 2018, alleging violations of human rights and abuses by India in J&K.

The Central government called for a Ramzan ceasefire on May 16, 2018, asking the security forces not to launch anti-terror operations during the period in a move to reduce violence and tension in the state.

However, 60 terror incidents and 39 deaths–including six civilians, nine security personnel and 24 terrorists–were reported in J&K during the the ceasefire, Deccan Herald reported on June 17, 2018.

No respite from stone-pelting

As many as 39 incidents were reported during the first 16 days of Ramzan in May 2018 as against 195 incidents last year, Hindustan Times reported on June 6, 2018.

Between January and April this year, 245 incidents of stone pelting on central reserve police force were reported, in which 71 security personnel were injured.

As many as 4,799 stone pelting incidents were reported in J&K between 2015 and 2017, IndiaSpend reported on May 18, 2018.

Over 4,000 first information reports against 14,315 stone pelters have been registered during the last three years in the state, according to this reply to the J&K legislative council on February 7, 2018.

Comments have been coming in from political leaders on the sudden withdrawal of the BJP from the coalition government.

I have told Governor that since no party has the mandate to form government, he will have to impose Governor rule in the state: Omar Abdullah, National Conference on BJP called off alliance with PDP in #JammuAndKashmir pic.twitter.com/Tln9psdQC1

— ANI (@ANI) June 19, 2018

Whatever has happened is good. People of J&K will get some relief. They (BJP) ruined Kashmir & have now pulled out, maximum number of civilian & army men died during these 3 years. That question does not arise (on forming alliance with PDP): GN Azad, Congress pic.twitter.com/rcfVelHdnT

— ANI (@ANI) June 19, 2018

We tried our best to run the govt with BJP. This had to happen. This is a surprise for us because we did not have any indication about their decision: Rafi Ahmad Mir, PDP Spokesperson on BJP pulling out of an alliance with PDP in #JammuAndKashmir pic.twitter.com/6laodyNY97

— ANI (@ANI) June 19, 2018

(Mallapur is an analyst with IndiaSpend.)

indiaspend.com An Indiaspend story.

(Indiaspend.org is a data-driven, public-interest journalism non-profit. FactChecker.in is fact-checking initiative, scrutinising for veracity and context statements made by individuals and organisations in public life.)

Posted: June 20, 2018, 7:58 am
New Delhi: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman meets the family of Rifleman Aurangzeb in J&K's Poonch. Aurangzeb was abducted from Pulwama by terrorists and later his bullet-ridden body was recovered on June 14.

Aurangzeb was a rifleman with the 44 Rashtriya Rifles. He was in a private vehicle when he was abducted near Kalampora. Originally a resident of Poonch, Aurangzeb was on leave and going home when he was abducted by terrorists. His body was found with two gunshot wounds - one in the head and one in the neck.

#WATCH: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman meets the family of Sepoy Aurangzeb in J&K's Poonch. Aurangzeb was abducted from Pulwama by terrorists and later his bullet-ridden body was recovered on June 14, #JammuAndKashmir pic.twitter.com/xv2sobrq18

— ANI (@ANI) June 20, 2018
The defence minister is also likely to review the security situation in the state with two major security concerns -- the Kheer Bhavani festival that begins tomorrow and the 60-day Amarnath Yatra on June 28.

Yesterday, the BJP dumped the PDP, its alliance partner in Jammu and Kashmir. One of the reasons cited by BJP general secretary Ram Madhav at the press conference announcing the decision to withdraw support was that the Mehbooba Mufti government had failed to contain militancy and radicalisation of youth in the Kashmir Valley.

Posted: June 20, 2018, 7:13 am
Srinagar: People's Democratic Party chief and Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday raised the bogey of Article 370 and unilateral ceasefire, saying the muscular security policy will not work in the state and reconciliation is the key.

"I am not shocked as this alliance was never for power. The PDP never believes in power politics and we worked for the people," she told reporters after an hour-long meeting with her ministers and party workers at her residence.

Mehbooba maintained that Jammu and Kashmir was not an enemy territory as being perceived by few. "We had always said muscular security policy will not work in J-K, reconciliation is key," she said.

She began her press conference by raising Article 370, under which the state enjoys a special status, and said, "...we have safeguarded Article 370 and 35-A (of the Constitution) and we will continue to do that."

"We have been able to withdraw 11,000 cases against the stone pelters," she said while listing her side of the story after the Bharatiya Janata Party pulled out of its alliance with the PDP in the state.

She also mentioned about the unilateral ceasefire during Ramzan announced by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Lahore in 2015.

Mehbooba, who submitted her resignation to the governor on Tuesday evening , said her party will continue to strive for dialogue and reconciliation in the state.

"I have told the governor we will not go into any other alliance," she said.

Earlier in the day, the BJP said that the decision to pull out from the PDP-led government was a well-thought one as continuation of the alliance would have been against national interest.

Chief spokesperson of J&K BJP Sunil Sethi said the insistence of the PDP on the extension of the period of suspension of operations and soft approach towards militants, Pakistan and separatists were hurting the nationalistic sentiments not only in Jammu and Kashmir but across the country .

"It is well thought decision in the given circumstances as continuation of the alliance would have been against national interest," he told reporters.

Sethi said that the BJP has proved to one and all that for it staying in power is not significant when it comes to national interest.

The party has always maintained the policy of 'nation first', he added.

He said Mehbooba Mufti's party had underestimated the resolve of the BJP thinking that the PDP will always have its ways in all matters.

A message has been sent to it and all forces inimical to national interest that there is strong resolve of the nation to stay together and be ready for any sacrifice for the unity and integrity of the country, Sethi said.

According to him, now is the time for an all-out war against militants and their supporters and give them no place to hide and run.

Sethi noted that the BJP joined the government with a firm belief that the coalition will work for the people and provide honest and responsive government.

But it was highly unfortunate that our partner was always against taking strong measures against enemies of the nation.

Expecting that India would bow to have dialogue with separatists or Pakistan and its armed stooges is indicative that PDP was living in a fool's paradise, he claimed.

Posted: June 20, 2018, 5:12 am
New Delhi: The Haryana government has issued a circular reminding all its officials that they are required to stand up while meeting MPs and MLAs and that they should respond to any communication from them promptly. The circular is merely a repetition of one sent to the state government by the Union government. However, it has attracted attention considering the ongoing face-off between IAS officers and the Delhi government.

"Any violation will leave the government servant concerned liable for appropriate punishment," says the order from the Haryana Chief Secretary's office.

The order says officers' behaviour should be "meticulously correct and courteous" and they should "stand up to receive the MPs and MLAs from their respective vehicles, while they are visiting their offices."

The lawmakers have to be invited to all functions and have to be made comfortable, the order says.

If the constituency of a lawmaker straddles two districts, invites should go to them from bureaucrats of both districts well in advance, the Haryana government says.

Officers have been asked to take "special care" to see that lawmakers are given enough notice on the time and place of the meeting.

All communication from an MP or legislator should be processed promptly, officers have been told, and any information or data sought by an MP or MLA should be furnished immediately, along with a soft copy.

The circular also includes instructions that telephonic messages left by MPs and legislators in their absence cannot be ignored and the call, message or email should be returned as soon as possible.

The Haryana government issued the guidelines after the central government referred to a parliamentary committee report that alleges disrespectful behaviour of officials with MPs and MLAs.

Posted: June 20, 2018, 4:44 am
Guwahati: The overall flood situation in the north-east continued to improve today, except in Assam, where six more people died, taking the death toll due to flood-related incidents in the region to 31, officials said.

According to a report of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority, four people lost their lives in flood-related incidents in worst-hit Karimganj district while two died in Cachar district since yesterday, taking the death toll in the state to 20.

Over 5.64 lakh people have been affected by the flood in Nagaon, Hojai, Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi districts.

Till yesterday, 5.49 lakh people were hit by the flood across six districts, including Golaghat.

Karimganj is the worst hit, affecting nearly 2.36 lakh people, followed by Hailakandi with 2.21 lakh, the report said.

At present, 727 villages in the affected districts are under water and 3,890 hectares of crop areas have been damaged, the report said.

It said the authorities are running 457 relief camps and distribution centres in four districts, where 1,57,524 people have taken shelter.

At least 9,250 people have been evacuated by the state and national disaster response forces personnel from Karimganj, Hailakandi and Cachar districts since yesterday. Landslides occurred at Kharguli locality in Guwahati, but no casualty was reported, the report said.

Barak river at Badarpurghat in Karimganj, Dhansiri at Numaligarh in Golaghat and Kushiyara at Karimganj town were flowing above the danger marks, the report said.

Posted: June 20, 2018, 3:45 am
Srinagar: National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah on Tuesday favoured governor's rule in Jammu and Kashmir and called for fresh elections as soon as possible so that people can choose their own government.

"I just returned from the Raj Bhavan where I met Governor N N Vohra. I told the Governor that NC did not get mandate to form the government in 2014 elections and so we do not have the mandate to form the government in 2018.

"We told him that NC is not discussing government formation in Jammu and Kashmir with any other political party. Neither has anyone approached us nor are we going to approach anyone from here," he told reporters in Srinagar.

He said he told Vohra that in this situation when no single party has the mandate to form the government, the Governor has no other option than to impose governor's rule immediately.

"He (Vohra) will have to try to improve the extremely bad situation in Jammu and Kashmir. I, on behalf of my party, have assured the governor of full support and we also requested him that governor's rule should not be there for long because after all, people have the right to choose their own government and we want that the Governor and his colleagues to make the situation conducive in the state once again and elections be held once again and whatever people decide in the elections, will be acceptable to all of us," he said.

Omar said as a responsible political party, it will be the NC's endeavour to help in normalising the situation and have a peaceful atmosphere in the state especially in the two regions of Kashmir and Jammu.

He said while he was not surprised by the Bharatiya Janata Party's decision to pull out from the coalition, the timing of the decision took him by surprise.

"I can't speak for the BJP, only the BJP can answer. I was expecting a pullout, I was expecting this coalition to fall apart but I had expected this to happen a later in the year. I was not expecting it to happen quite so soon.

"Clearly, over the last month or a month-an-a-half, we have seen a marked and very significant deterioration in the situation in the state and that perhaps is one of the reasons, but beyond that I do not want to speculate as to what was the reason for the BJP," the NC leader said.

Asked whether the People's Democratic Party would be embarrassed about the decision, Omar said the least the BJP could have done was to take the PDP into confidence before announcing the decision.

"Whether the PDP is embarrassed or not, I can't say. Clearly, if we were caught by surprise, so were they. Now, I don't expect that BJP would have taken us into confidence, but I think it is a little unfortunate that if they work together with the PDP for three years, the least they could have done was take the PDP into confidence about their decision. But difference parties function differently and so be it," he said.

Omar said the BJP can't escape the blame as both it as well as the PDP are responsible for the deteriorating situation in the state.

"This is no secret that we have an increase in the violence. They claim increase in radicalisation, they obviously have access to information that I don't have. But, if this is the reason for their pulling out, then they are as much responsible as the PDP is. The PDP did not govern on its own.

"The situation has reached where it has today, where we all are suffering, where all of you are working under this shadow of great fear, then obviously they are both responsible for this.

"Both these parties have pushed the state to this precipice and we can only hope that with an able administrator like Governor Vohra who has handled this state in very trying circumstance in the past, that we can begin the process of retrieving this state from the dark abyss that we are staring down," he said.

Asked about his offer of support to the PDP after the 2014 polls, Omar said that offer expired the day PDP and the BJP joined hands.

"I have told you many a times in the last three years that it was a one-time offer. I am not in a habit of going to parties that I am not invited to. They don't want my support, why should I be offering them. I am not that desperate," he said.

Omar said his party was not celebrating the breakup of the alliance but was mourning the demise of democracy in the state. Asked whether he favored dissolution of assembly, the NC vice-president said it was the decision that Vohra had to take.

Omar said Mehbooba should have resigned from the coalition before with some dignity intact rather than being shunted out.

"I can't speculate what happened. I can't speculate if the killing of Shujaat Bukhari or the end of ceasefire was the final straw that broke the camel's back. Something happened but it is not for me to speculate that," he said.

Posted: June 20, 2018, 3:36 am
Srinagar: Three top Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists, including its operational commander, were killed in an encounter with security forces in Tral in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday, police said.

The encounter broke out after security forces launched a cordon-and-search operation in the area following specific intelligence inputs, a police official said.

Earlier, Director General of Police (DGP) S P Vaid wrote on Twitter, "Encounter going on at Hyena Tral, 3 (three) important JEM Terrorists trapped...'

The police official said the gunfight was going on when last reports came in. Further details were awaited, he added.

Posted: June 20, 2018, 3:27 am