06KT01A.qxd 11/5/2013 10:48 PM Page 1 wednesday | november | 6 | 2013 | srinagar KASHMIR TRIBUNE AWARENESS: PUBLIC INFORMATION CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED AT GANDERBAL Þ PAGE 2 VARSITY: PROGRAMME ON CHILDREN’S SAFETY TODAY Þ PAGE 2 AGELESS CHARM For Bollywood actor Dharmendra, age is just a number even as he continues to exude his charm on the silver screen. "I don't consider myself old. Even now on the sets, I feel like a newcomer and give my best to every shot. I work hard, love adventure and take everything as a challenge," he says. WEATHER RAIN Valley reels under intense cold ■ Rain, snow predicted in next 36 hours; Leh records coldest night as mercury plunges to -3.3°C 9°C 3°C MAXIMUM Þ PAGE 4 MINIMUM Saffron growers a worried lot as Met forecasts snow In Kargil, another district in Ladakh, the mercury overnight fell to a low of minus 0.8°C. SMC reviews snow clearance arrangements A view of snow-covered mountains at the Pir Panjal ranges in south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Tuesday. TRIBUNE PHOTO: AMIN WAR Tribune News Service Srinagar, November 5 The Kashmir valley continues to reel under cold weather as the state weather department warned of moderate to heavy rains and snowfall in the region in the next 36 hours. The state weather department issued the warning in its forecast bulletin on Tuesday evening, saying that “moderate to heavy” rain and snowfall would occur at isolated places in the state during the coming hours. The department said that “light to moderate” rain and thundershowers would occur at many places in the state during the next 24 hours. It said snowfall was also expected Boy killed in road accident Tribune News Service over the higher reaches of the region. As the region awaits this fresh spell of downpour, cold wave condition continued across Kashmir region as mercury slid to the lower end during the night hours. The mercury slipped to a low of 2.4°C in the Srinagar city, which was a departure of one degree from the normal, an official of the state Meteorological Department said. In Pahalgam resort of south Kashmir, mercury dropped to 0°C, the official said, while in north Kashmir's Gulmarg resort, a famous skiing destination during winters, the mercury fell to a low of 0.6°C. While the minimum tem- COLD WAVE CONTINUES ACROSS REGION ■ The mercury slipped to a low of 2.4°C in Srinagar while in Pahalgam resort of south Kashmir, mercury dropped to 0°C ■ The night temperature remained close to freezing point in south Kashmir's Qazigund town where mercury fell to a low of 0.6°C while the minimum temperature in north Kashmir's Kupwara town dropped to a minimum of 0.4°C ■ In Kargil, the mercury overnight fell to a low of minus 0.8°C. perature across the Kashmir valley remained on the positive side of the zerodegree mark, the cold conditions remained unaltered. The night temperature remained close to freezing point in south Kashmir's Qazigund town where mercury fell to a low of 0.6°C while the minimum temperature in north Kashmir's Kupwara town dropped to a minimum of 0.4°C, the official said. Leh town in the remote Ladakh region, which is located outside the Kashmir valley, recorded an extremely cold night as the mercury there fell to a low of minus 3.3°C. The Ladakh region remains cut-off from rest of the state during the winters as the mountainous pass at Zojilla, which connect Ladakh with Kashmir, remains buried under a wall of snow. Ahead of expected inclement weather conditions, Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) Commissioner GN Qasba chaired a meeting here to take stock of snow clearance arrangements. “The commissioner took stock of preparedness for snow clearance and passed directions to make the control room/helpline operational at the central office which would be monitored by the executive engineer (XEN) of the mechanical division,” said SMC media relations officer. “It was also decided at the meeting that a team would be divided into four zones of the city headed by four zonal officers XEN Right River Works, XEN left River Works, DTP Right, DTP left to look after the snow clearance arrangements in the field.” Qasba said all machines, including loaders and robots, shall be kept ready for clearance in case of snowfall. Meanwhile, the SMC meeting also reviewed the arrangements made on the eve of Muharram. Qasba directed all ward officers to keep a close liaison with the general public, managing committees of the Shia-dominated areas to address their problems on priority, further stressing to upkeep sanitation in these areas. Children hold a bunch of crocus flowers used in the production of saffron in a field in Pampore on Tuesday. TRIBUNE PHOTO: AMIN WAR Suhail A Shah Anantnag, November 5 Saffron growers of the Kashmir valley based in Pampore area of Pulwama district are a worried lot after the Meteorological Department issued a snow forecast for November 6 and 7. Saffron flowers are in a full bloom at this time of the year and once they are plucked, there will be another cycle of the blossom. A snowfall at this point in time will destroy the present crop completely, in case the flowers are not plucked on time. Moreover, the snowfall will affect the next expected blossom of the saffron flower. The chief agriculture officer (CAO), Pulwama, Javaid Ahmad, said a snowfall at this time would be a disaster for the saffron crop. “We are in touch with the farmers and they have been advised to get their crop plucked before the snowfall,” said the CAO. “This can at least prevent the standing crop from getting destroyed,” he added. He said the blossom has already been a bit late in wake of the temperature fluctuation this year. “The flowers need a constant temperature for a timely blossom. However, it has not been the case since a month now,” said the CAO, adding that, “We are keeping our fingers crossed and hope that it will not snow in the plains at least.” The farmers, on the other hand, say that they have picked just 30 per cent of the average annual crop as of now. “We have hurried up the flower-plucking process in wake of the weather forecast and hopefully, the standing crop will be picked up,” said Mushtaq Ahmad, a saffron grower from Pampore. “We will be facing heavy losses if it snows at this point,” said Gulzar Ahmad, another grower. “The crop will decline by at least 50 per cent in case of a snowfall,” he added. One of the world’s costliest spices, saffron, is cultivated in abundance in the Pampore area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Unhygienic vegetables 15-yr-old girl attempts suicide Fire breaks out at destroyed in Shopian LD hospital Our Correspondent consumers. “The squad checked the rate lists of various shopkeepers, besides checked the quality of the goods, including vegetables, fruits, mutton etc being sold in the market. About 30 kg of unhygienic vegetables were destroyed on the occasion,” the statement added. It said the market checking squad would continue to conduct regular checks of the market in the future. Srinagar, November 5 A teenaged girl (15) was admitted to a hospital in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district after she allegedly tried to commit suicide over failing in the high school exams. The girl, who is a student of class IX at St. Joseph Higher Secondary School in Baramulla, consumed some poisonous substance on the school premises today morning. She was immediately rushed to the Baramulla Dis- trict Hospital where her condition was declared stable. “The sample of the poisonous material has been sent for verification. She is in a stable condition now,” said Dr Masarat Iqbal, Deputy Superintendent, District Hospital, Baramulla. “The girl was brought to the hospital in a critical condition, but now, she is safe and has been discharged,” he said. There has been a sudden rise in the number of suicide cases in Kashmir over the issues of academic failures. Last week, a 17-year-old boy ended his life in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district over his poor performance in the secondary school exams. According to a psychiatrist, high parental expectations could be a cause of these suicides. “This is a result of high parental expectations that is burdening these students. We have made literacy equal to goodness,” said Dr Arshid Hussain, a psychiatrist. He said from the past few years, there has been an increase in suicide attempts. “On the result days, there is an increase in these cases in the hospitals,” he said. Tribune News Service Three structures damaged in fire Islamic new year begins today, Bar to challenge dismissal of PIL Muharram functions underway seeking ban on pepper gas use Srinagar, November 5 Two structures and a telecom tower were damaged in three different fire incidents across the Valley. Police said fire broke out in a Reliance tower at Zaini Mohalla, Lal Bazaar, last evening. “A 25KV transformer was damaged in the incident. Fire was brought under control with the help of fire tenders and the police,” said a police spokesman. Meanwhile, fire broke out in the residential house of Abdul Majid Lala, a resident of Sanibagh-Zakura, Srinagar, resulting in partial damage to the house. Fire was brought under control with the help of fire tenders and the police. Fire broke out at the shop of Mohammad Yousuf Sheikh, a resident of Chountiwari, Sogam, in frontier Kupwara district, resulting in partial damage to the house.— TNS Srinagar, November 5 Around 30 kilograms of unhygienic vegetables were destroyed during market checks at Shopian in south Kashmir. An official statement said the market checking squad inspected the marketplaces in Shopian to ensure that the shopkeepers and vendors adhere to the rate lists and quality goods are provided to the M Aamir Khan Tribune News Service Srinagar, November 5 The new year of the Islamic calendar will begin from tomorrow with the beginning of the month of Muharram. During the first 10 days of Muharram, Shiites mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, by holding a whole host of religious functions. Maulana Sibti Mohammad Shabir Qumi, head, Pairwan-e-Willayat - a Shiite body, said religious functions would begin from tonight and nightlong supplications would be held at the mosques of Shia-dominated areas. While the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, besides his family and companions, is mourned by the Sunni community, especially during Friday sermons, the Shias hold religious functions on a larger scale. ‘Zuljinnah’ processions are taken out at several places by Shiites on Ashura, the 10th day of Muharram month, along with flagellation by mourners. Even as the state government has been disallowing major Muharram processions, which were taken out on the eighth day and 10 day of Muharram, many bodies have been demanding the lifting of ban. Traditionally, on the eighth day of Muharram, Shia Muslims in large numbers march from Guru Bazar and proceed through Lal Chowk area of the city before the grand procession culminates at Dalgate. Another major procession, before militancy, was taken out from Abi Guzar to Zadibal on 10th day of Muharram, said Qumi, while urging the state government to lift the ban. “The government curbs on these processions are unjustified. It is interference in our religious matters and we demand that the ban be lifted at the earliest,” he said. However, the government has got no plans to lift the ban. Minister for Rural Development Ali Mohammad Sagar said the ban was in place to prevent ‘group clashes’ while pointing out that Muharram processions elsewhere were allowed and being taken out. Tribune News Service The official said attempts were on to douse the fire while the cause of the fire was not known. The official said seven members of the Fire and Emergency Services department were injured while trying to douse the fire. An official at the Raj Bagh police station said there was no immediate report of any injury to patients and hospital staff. Srinagar, November 5 A minor boy was killed in a road accident in south Kashmir's Shopian district, said the police. A load carrier was hit by an unknown vehicle near Arhama in Shopian district resulting in on-the-spot death of a 10-year-old boy who was travelling in the load carrier, said a police spokesman. The boy has been identified as Ashiq Husain Malik, a resident of Pinjoora village. Srinagar, November 5 Fire broke out at Kashmir region's main maternity hospital on Tuesday evening in the city here. An official of the Fire and Emergency Services Department said fire was first reported at one of the building, which houses the Outdoor Patients block, inside the LD hospital at around 8:30 pm. WHAT THE PIL SAYS? Tribune News Service ■ Srinagar, November 5 The Kashmir Bar Association decides to appeal against a recent High Court dismissal of a PIL seeking ban on the use of pepper gas in Kashmir. The Bar said that the High Court judgment in the said case was bound to affect the Human Rights of the multitude of the people living in the state. On October 30, a division Bench of the High Court, comprising Justice MM Kumar and Justice Ali Mohammad Magray, had dismissed a PIL seeking a ban on the use of pepper spray and pellet guns by the security forces during mob management in J&K. Pepper gas contains capsaicin, which is derived from capsicum, and is highly irritating. It calls for compensating the victims in case of death or other health hazards suffered due to the exposure to pepper gas ■ It was introduced in Kashmir by the police in 2010 to control agitating mobs ■ The police in its defence had that said there is enough scientific evidence to prove conclusively that these methods are completely safe for use against human beings, while showing two certificates of Defence Research and Development Establishment (DRDE). “The executive committee of the J&K High Court Bar Association in its meeting held on November 2 has decided to facilitate the filing of review petition in the pepper gas/pellet gun case, as the judgment passed in the said case is bound to affect the Human Rights of the multitude of the people living in the state,” the Bar said in a statement issued here yesterday. It said the judgment was also going to render the petition filed by two members of the Bar Association before the State Human Rights Commission anfractuous and the order of restraint passed in the said case by the commission as a faulty,” the Bar said in the statement. The Bar Association has taken the aforesaid decision after examining the judgment passed in the case and also after hearing the learned counsel appearing for the petitioners who had requested the court to grant them some more time to argue the case and render better assistance in deciding the controversy raised in the petitions effectively and completely, the statement added. “The Bar feels that the public interest litigation (PIL) is not adversary litigation and as it is filed for protecting the Human Rights of the people, therefore, in the interests of justice, the court should have given further time to the parties to argue the case,” it said.
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