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  • Directs  making Institute functional by April 2019

JAMMU: Principal Secretary Transport Department  Dr Asgar Hassan Samoon today said that Institute of Driving, Training and Research (IDTR) has been mandated with capacity building in the area of road safety and to bring down road fatalities, besides generating   adequate traffic sense among the trainees to become competent drivers. The Principal Secretary made the remarks during his visit to IDTR Kot Bhalwal here today.  

He said that the purpose of IDTR facility is to impart practical training, develop sound driving habits among trainees as the department is taking innovative steps towards capacity building in the area of road safety. Samoon informed that the objective of the IDTR is to act as a centre of research, promote best practices and human resource development adding that the exchange of knowledge forms an important component of its activities.

The Principal Secretary was apprised that the Institute will contribute in the development of the facilities like test tracks, well-maintained vehicles for training, realistic simulators, result processing, classroom infrastructure with latest training aids and computerized systems, workshops; electronic display room, hostel facility and canteen facility. It was also said that the Institute has been established to act as model Driving Training Centre with state-of-art infrastructure where training programme for commercial vehicle drivers will be provided.

Samoon was further informed that the drivers will be imparted   practical training on road safety through a self-sustainable model, which will make them more competent and safe on roads. It was given out that the institute will provide three-week capacity building training in driving skills and safer roads and each batch will train fifty drivers at a time. The Principal Secretary directed for completing the pending works of the institute before April and start first training course in mid-April.

He also directed to take in drivers of Jammu & Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) and State Motor Garages Department (SMGD) in the first batch of the training programme. The Principal Secretary directed for timely utilization of funds without compromising on the quality of material and engineering.  He also asked the concerned officers for taking care of landscaping, fencing and beautification of the Institute, besides stressing on coordination among concerned agencies for time-bound completion of pending construction works.

Samoon asked the concerned officers to work with added zeal and enthusiasm and contribute their skill and experiences to make the Institute functional on time. The Principal Secretary was accompanied by Director State Motor Garages Zakir Hussain Choudhary, RTO Jammu Deep Raj, EXn JKPCC, concerned engineers and other administrative officers. 

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SRINAGAR: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday, while reacting to the statement of NC Vice President Omar Abdullah, has stated that what Kuka Parray used to represent as an individual was adopted as an official policy by the national conference government after the 1996 elections. While responding to NC Vice President  Omar Abdullah’s recent statement that Kuka Parray would’ve been CM had NC not contested 1996 polls, senior PDP leader Naeem Akhtar said that soon after coming to power in 1996, national conference strengthened the concept of Task Force and converted the entire democratic system to favor Ikhwan. He said that the time between 1996 and 2002 was used by the national conference to sell out state’s vital interests, bringing POTA, Catch and Kill, selling state’s water resources, strangulating the people of the state, killing innocent civilians and making thousands disappear because there was no opposition to its anarchic and despotic rule at that time.

“What Kuka Parray used to represent as an individual was adopted as an official policy by the national conference government after 1996 polls.  NC had 60 seats in the assembly and that was the only time the state had the maximum advantage to negotiate a decent deal with centre. But it was filtered away for a junior ministerial position in central government along with penalty in the shape of atrocities that have no parallel,” Akhtar said, adding that even the Narasimha Roa government had publically promised sky from a foreign land for the people of the state but NC thought only of concentrating power in one family and making the people slaves who would not have any option but to be bonded to the national conference.

Akhtar said that despite having no electoral compulsions, NC went into the lap of BJP which oversaw massacres like Gujarat in which Muslims in hordes were slaughtered on streets. “You (NC) didn’t even protest at that time against the Pogrom and maintained a stoic silence at the time when autonomy was rejected which was the ultimate snub that the people of the state got in its 70 years of association with the country.  The truth is that NC demeaned the position of Jammu and Kashmir in every possible way,” Akhtar said.

The PDP leader added that the national conference institutionalized official terror which was dismantled only in 2002 by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.  “If the people are now aware and they resist atrocities it is because of the change that PDP brought from 2002 and gave people the confidence to protect their rights,” Akhtar said. 

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SRINAGAR:  The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Wednesday wrote to Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya pal Malik to release Kashmiri journalist Aasif Sultan who is undergoing detention since August 27 last year. A letter written by CJP’s Asian Program Coordinator Steven Butler asked Governor Malik to drop all legal proceedings against Sultan. “Sultan, a journalist with the Kashmir Narrator, has been falsely accused under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. His name was included in a First Information Report filed after a gunfight in Batamaloo on August 12, and he has been accused of having contact with and promoting militants. His editor and family have credibly disputed these claims and say his work was strictly that of a journalist gathering news. No charge sheet has been filed,” Butler, said in the letter, cc’d to Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

In July 2018, Sultan wrote a cover story for the Kashmir Narrator on militant Burhan Wani, which included interviews with non-combatant members of Hizbul Mujahideen, said Butler. Police have reportedly subjected Sultan to repeated interrogation during his detention regarding the article, asking him to reveal his sources and why he reported on the conflict in Kashmir, as well as questions on headlines that appeared in the Kashmir Narrator and why he had not reported on development in the state, he said, adding the police have also objected in court to his Facebook postings.

“We understand that Jammu and Kashmir is facing a difficult situation, but CPJ would like to stress that interviewing or having sources who are critical of the government is within the scope of a journalists’ job and does not implicate them in a crime. Reporting on an important and newsworthy story such as the conflict in Kashmir is a public service, not a criminal act,” said Butler, in the letter. He said that journalists have long operated in a dangerous environment in Kashmir, and that they are extremely concerned about the climate for press freedom.

“In the past year, CPJ has documented various attacks against journalists, including the murder of Shujaat Bukhari and the questioning and detention of multiple reporters for their work. Freedom of the press is a vital tenet of democracy and a proud part of India’s history. We urge you to use the authority vested in you as governor of Jammu and Kashmir to help immediately ensure that Aasif Sultan is released and that the charges against him are dropped,” he urged.