Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) is turning out to be a role model for other states in crowd management. Last Tuesday,a team of Orissa government officials visited the state to get tips on crowd management,so that they could tackle large crowds at the famous Jagannath temple in Puri more efficiently. Commission of Inquiry,constituted by the Orissa government to suggest improvements in pilgrim facilitation and regulation in Puri,visited Katra to assess steps taken by the SMVDSB to regulate the yatra. The commission was headed by Justice (retd) P K Mohanty. Additional chief executive officer of SMVDSB M K Dwivedi gave a presentation to the commission pointing out the steps taken by the board,including allowing pilgrims in groups only after registration at the base camp.
A journey from the Valley to the tinsel town
This Friday,as Dekh Bhai Dekh,a comedy starring Gracy Singh and Siddharth Koirala,was released all over the country,it was a moment of glory for militancy-hit Poonch. The film has been written and directed by 28-year-old Rahat Kazmi,a native of Poonch. Prior to the release of the film,he was in Jammu to share his experiences as a film-maker. It has been a tough journey to the tinsel town for Kazmi. Talking about films was a taboo in Poonch, he said,adding,I have been working on the concept of the film for the last three years. But it was in the last two months before the film was shot that I locked myself up in the room and wrote the script. Kazmi had started his career with low-budget films. After directing Rs 6 crore worth Dekh bhai dekh,he hopes to make it big in Bollywood.
Wildlife Dept hopes CM will give it back the land
With the state government constituting the Wildlife Board under Section 5 of the Jammu and Kashmir Wildlife (protection) Act,1978,headed by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah,the Wildlife Department officials are expecting that issues pertaining to wildlife and involving other departments will get priority. The constitution of the board is a major development,as it is being headed by the Chief Minister himself, said Jammu and Kashmirs Chief Wildlife Warden Deepak Khanna. Besides witnessing a decline in the number of wildlife species,the state has also lacked direction to pursue the case of handing over of vast forest areas to the Wildlife Department which has been under the occupation of the Forest Department. The board is expected to pursue the transfer of 605 sq km of wildlife area to the Wildlife Department. Khanna,said,We lack infrastructure and manpower to take over the possession of the area from the Forest Department. The matter pertaining to the upgradation of the staff has been brought to the notice of the state government. While the total wildlife area in the state is 15,782 sq km,an area of 605 sq km is with the Forest Department. With the constitution of board,the Wildlife Department also hopes to get more cages,nets and tranquilising guns to protect the wildlife. In the past few years,there have been reports about man-animal conflicts. Expecting more manpower,the department hopes to check such conflicts.
LoC traders rue lack of banking,communication
Despite non-availability of banking service between Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Jammu and Kashmir,the cross-LoC trade is picking up. On July 7 on the Poonch-Rawalakote route,the volume of trade was Rs 2 crore. As many as 35 trucks crossed the LoC at Chakan Da Bagh in Poonch district. Of these,16 trucks went to PoK and 19 came to Jammu and Kashmir. Traders from the PoK sent moong dal,medicinal herbs,among other things to the Indian side,while this side traded in coconut,cardamom and other items. The consignments sent by PoK traders valued at Rs 1.30 core and the Indian side traded items worth Rs 68 lakh. However,traders here complained about the lack of communication facilities and banking facilities,which,they say,are major stumbling blocks in their business. President of the Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ram Sahai said that the lack of banking facilities between the two sides is one of the main hindrances. He added that communication facilities need to be better for business to flourish.