09JK01A.qxd 11/8/2013 10:29 PM Page 1 WORK IS WORSHIP saturday | november 9 | 2013 | Jammu JAMMU TRIBUNE FELICITATION: SHAAN-I-URDU AWARD GIVEN ÞPAGE 2 Avika Gor will soon be seen in a Telegu film as the lead actress. She is thrilled about bagging the film and claims to have offers from other regional cinemas as well. Þ PAGE 4 WEATHER SUNNY CHENANI-NASHRI: WORK RESUMES AT TUNNEL SITE, WORKERS RELEASED ON BAIL ÞPAGE 2 23.1°C 12.3°C MAXIMUM MINIMUM Veggie prices spiral as govt ignores its own scheme of major vegetables and ❝ The increase in pricesphenomenon, but thelike onions, tomatoessuch potatoes is a nationwide state could prevent Sumit Hakhoo Tribune News Service Jammu, November 8 Failure to fully implement Vegetable Initiative for Urban Clusters (VIUC) scheme in Jammu and Srinagar is becoming a major reason for rise in prices of vegetables in the urban centres of J&K. The project was launched across the country in 2010 and was aimed at meeting demand for vegetables in all state capitals and cities with population greater than 10 lakh. Sources from the Agriculture department claimed that though most of the demand is met by the local production, insufficient supply of hybrid seeds, seedlings, training, processing and lack of cold storage facilities is leading to a decrease in production and dependence on imports from other parts of the state. The centrally sponsored scheme was to cover several Auto drivers charge passengers a premium Amir Karim Tantray Tribune News Service Jammu, November 8 Want to get an auto rickshaw ride in Jammu, be ready to pay more. As auto rickshaw drivers charge an exorbitant amount of money from the commuters, this mode of public convenience is increasingly becoming a burden on the pockets of people living in Jammu as well as the number of tourists that visit this city of temples. For a distance of three kilometres, auto rickshaw drivers charge around Rs 250 to Rs 300, around 100 times more in comparison to the auto-rickshaw fares in the capital city of Delhi. There is no rate list pasted on any of the auto-rickshaws and most of them run their vehicles on their own terms and conditions without any fear of law. And tourists visiting the city often end up paying more as they don’t have exact idea of distances. “I wanted to hire an auto rickshaw from the Jammu Tawi railway to the Ragunath bazaar. When I enquired about the fare, the auto rickshaw driver asked for Rs 250. I smelled wrong and left. I, then, hired an auto rickshaw from outside the station area and he charged me just Rs 100,” said Deepak Kumar, from Amritsar. The J&K transport department, long time back, had ordered for installation of meters on every auto rickshaw. Though, the orders were complied with, most of the drivers do not put them to use. They have rendered these meters non-functional. “When they (auto rickshaw owners) approach the Regional Transport Office (RTO) for approval to ply their vehicles in the city, we check the meters. If the meters are not functional we impose a fine,” chief inspector of the board of inspection at the RTO, Jammu, Jugal Sharma said. He expressed his ignorance when asked about the loot being made by the auto rickshaw drivers. “I am not aware of this. We will look into the matter,” Sharma said. Millions of pilgrims visit the cave shrine of Vaishno Devi in Katra every year. They generally come to Jammu by train and hire an auto to reach the bus stand or increase if proper consideration is given to use of scientific techniques to boost production. Local farmers around the major towns and capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar are meeting 70 per cent of the demand locally❞ — AN OFFICIAL SOURCE Chronic rot ❙ Over 13.5 lakh tonnes of vegetables are being produced annually in the state but it continues to bank on import of onions, tomatoes and potatoes from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh to meet its demand ❙ Many farmers associated with vegetable cultivation have not heard much about the VIUC scheme. They say many schemes have been advertised in the past, but they fail to reach cultivators ❙ A visit to vegetable and fruit mandis shows that the rates of vegetables have witnessed a sharp rise and is likely to increase in the coming days ❙ In absence of any mechanism to keep a check on the prices and failure of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD) department to effectively deal with rates fixed illegally by retailers, people are at the mercy of vendors, who charge at will A vendor sells vegetables in Jammu. TRIBUNE PHOTO: INDERJEET SINGH fronts including production and logistics covering postharvest handling, storage, transportation, marketing, distribution and policy reform, which is the main reason for the price hike. “Increase in prices of major vegetables like onions, tomatoes and pota- toes is a nationwide phenomenon, but the state could prevent such increase if proper consideration is given to use of scientific techniques to boost production. Local farmers around the major towns and capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar are meeting 70 per cent of the demand locally,” an official source revealed. The state government has not been able to utilise the money properly and farmers who supply farm produce to the urban centre did not get expected help. When contacted, Director Agriculture Ajay Khajuria said that the first phase of the scheme has been implemented in the state and is showing results. “Nearly 3,000 farmers have been brought under the purview of the scheme and in the coming months, more cultivators will be covered. But prices are not under our control," said Khajuria. Meanwhile, after onions, tomatoes are selling at Rs 80 per kg in Jammu while the prices of all other green vegetables are increasing routinely. “First, onions vanished from our menu; now it is tomatoes. The government should take steps to ensure the prices are controlled so that the common man is able to survive," said Mansi Gupta, a housewife. Jeep driven by minor boy hits traffic cop Tribune News Service Jammu, November 8 A jeep being driven by a boy hit a traffic cop at Nagrota bypass on Friday at Jammu, when he was trying to flee, as the traffic cop was trying to stop him to check his licence. The incident took place when an open jeep (PB517222), being driven by a boy was moving on the wrong side at the Sidhra-Kunjwani National Highway near Bathindi Morh, Narwal. Traffic cop SC Sharma, constable, tried to stop him, but the boy tried to flee, and injured the traffic cop on duty. Other cops however caught the boy and fined him on the spot. The traffic cop received minor injuries. Narwal police post has not registered any complaint against the boy for hitting the traffic cop. “It was a minor incident and the act was not deliberate," it was stated. Miraculous escape for eight It’s bumpy on Jammu-Udhampur Highway ■ Authorities ignore repair work as potholes, slush make driving dangerous as vehicle rolls into gorge Arteev Sharma Tribune News Service Tribune News Service Jammu, November 8 Eight persons had a miraculous escape after a car rolled into a deep gorge when it was hit by a rashly driven oil tanker on the treacherous Jammu-Srinagar Highway near Nagrota town, some 18 km from Jammu city today. The police said a rashly driven oil tanker, which was on way to Srinagar from Jammu, was overtaking a vehicle and it hit a Tavera vehicle coming from the opposite direction. It also collided with another vehicle which rolled into a gorge as there were no parapets along the dangerous stretch. "The oil tanker driver managed to escape from the spot with the vehicle, while a passenger out of the eight Jammu, November 8 Call it official apathy or wilful ignorance on the part of the authorities, commuters continue to have a bumpy travel when it comes to the treacherous JammuUdhampur highway, as the road has not been repaired for the past few years. The highway authorities, who are required to fill potholes and patchwork routinely, have turned a blind eye to the danger posed to commuters due to dilapidated condition of the road. Poor maintenance of the road has not only lowered the speeds of vehicles but also the pothole-ridden stretches get especially bumpy when it rains and the craters are filled with water. At certain places, even slight negligence could lead to a fatal mishap and The taxi that fell into a gorge near Nagrota on Friday. TRIBUNE PHOTO: ANAND SHARMA sustained a fracture. All the passengers are safe and we have registered a case," a police spokesman said. The injured was shifted to Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) and he was stable, the police said. Three months on, not even debris of Bahu Fort’s collapsed wall removed ■ JDA estimated `122.75 lakh to be the cost of the wall’s restoration Amit Khajuria Tribune News Service Jammu, November 8 Three months on, not even the debris of the wall that collapsed at Bahu Fort has been removed. JDA estimated Rs 122.75 lakh to be the cost of restoration of the wall. The 110-feet wall of ancient Bahu Fort, which collapsed on August 18, is being ignored by the authorities concerned. Three months have elapsed, and the authorities have not even removed the debris of the collapsed wall. Bahu Fort, constructed on 30 kanal area, is under threat after collapse of the 110-feet wall from the right side, as the remaining wall from the same side has got major cracks in it, but the authorities seem to be busy doing paper work and other formalities. The Jammu Development Authority was given the task of preparing the project report for the work towards sanction of the funds. But even after three months of the incident, the department has not submitted the report. Earlier too, the JDA was A view of the fort. TRIBUNE PHOTO: INDERJEET SINGH given the task of repair and maintenance of the Bahu Fort by the state's archaeological department in 2005, with the total budget allocation of Rs 69.5 lakh, out of which, the department had spent more than Rs 47 lakh thus far, but nothing was visible on ground. JDA officials claim they have completed more than 80 per cent of the renovation work, but neither have they touched the wall which had collapsed nor have they done anything "extraordinary" to renovate Rani Mehal, which is situated on the rear side of the fort. SKA Qadri, Consultant Tourism and Culture, when contacted, said, "We are very keen on the wall's restoration. Even the funds are not a problem as the minister has already assured us that whatever be the cost, he will sanction the funds." "JDA has been given the task of restoring it. Whenever they submit their report, we will start the restoration. We wanted to start it from zero level, so that such an incident does not take place again in future," he added. Official sources in JDA said the total estimate for the restoration is Rs 122.75 lakh, but the form of DPR is not prepared as yet, which is why the report is being delayed. Bahu Fort is a cultural symbol of the city of temples. The fort also has an ancient temple dedicated to Goddess Kali, the presiding deity of the city revered by people across the region. It is one of the most ancient structures in the state and is said to have been originally built by Raja Jambu Lochan 3,000 years ago. Records say the Raja decided to build the fort when he witnessed a curious scene of a tiger and a goat drinking water side by side at the same location in the river Tawi. It was refurbished by the erstwhile Dogra rulers in the 19th century. instances of two-wheeler riders skidding off the road were often encountered. “The officers' management of maintenance of the Jammu-Udhampur highway has left the road unrepaired, which is causing great inconvenience to the commuters. The authorities might have been waiting for completion of the new fourlane highway, but that doesn’t mean the people are forced to risk their lives till then,” Ram Krishan, a 50year-old commuter, said. Ajay Sharma, a government employee, said, “Accidents have become a norm on this stretch as no repair work has been done on the existing highway. The potholes on the highway get more dangerous when these are filled with water during rains as the motorists couldn’t judge the depth of potholes. Besides, the dust on the highway due to the ongoing four-laning work has made situation worse for the people.” "Nobody should be spared for risking the lives of the people in the name of development. There is an immediate need to start repair work so that the people can undertake a safe travel till the start of the new four-laning work," said Sharma. A senior official of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) claimed they would make new four-lane Jammu-Udhampur highway operational by June 2014 but he remained tightlipped over the dilapidated condition of the existing highway. “We have fixed June 2014 as the deadline for the completion of four-laning between Udhampur and Jammu. It is likely to be completed in time,” the official said. To a query about the poor maintenance of the existing highway, the officer said they would do necessary patchwork to fill the potholes so that the commuters don’t face problems. The four-laning of existing highway was started in 2011. The four-laning would not only shorten the distance but also reduce the travel time between two capital cities to near half of the present time. At least 54 small and major bridges are being constructed on the Jammu-Srinagar highway. The major structures of the project include two long tunnels, namely the country’s longest road tunnel between Chenani and Nashri having a length of 9.2 km and 8.5-km-long Quazigund-Banihal tunnel, besides 12 short tunnels having a total length of 6.2 km. Shop at Satwari Chowk gutted Jammu, November 8 Fire broke out in a general store at Satwari Chowk on Friday evening, leaving the entire shop gutted. According to police, the fire broke out between 4.30 and 4.45 pm, probably due to short-circuit which engulfed the entire shop. “After receipt of the information about the fire, two fire tenders reached the spot and doused the fire, but the entire shop was gutted,” said a police officer. Satwari Chowk is situated on the Jammu-Pathankot National Highway, from where a link connects Jammu airport as well. The tiger division of the Indian Army is a few metres away from the spot. The police said the shop belonged to Gulshan Kumar, a resident of Nai Basti. “Some electricity repair work was going on inside the shop which led to short circuit and engulfed the entire shop. There was no loss of life in the incident,” the police officer added. The police has started investigations and if the fire is found to have been deliberately caused, a case will be registered, it was stated. — TNS Firemen douse the flames. TRIBUNE PHOTO: ANAND SHARMA
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