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BHUBANESWAR: Music Legend Pandit Bhajan Sopori has been conferring with the Doctorate of Literature (Honoris Causa) by the Utkal University of Culture, Bhubaneswar, Odisha in recognition of his unparalleled contribution to Indian music and culture by the Board of Management and Hon’ble. The honour was conferred upon Pt. Sopori during the 6thConvocation of the University by Vice-Chancellor Prof. Kamal Kant Misra, Registrar Dr. Suman Das, Director Culture Shri Bijay Kumar Naik, Board Members and Members of the Executive Council. This is the 2nd Honorary Doctorate conferred upon Pandit Bhajan Sopori. 

Pandit Sopori also delivered the Convocation Address on the occasion. He expressed his gratitude to Hon’ble Governor & Chancellor of the University Dr. S. C. Jamir, Vice-Chancellor and the Board of Management for bestowing the honour upon him. He said “We have to contribute to our society, country and the entire world with creative works which makes a difference in the lives of the people and for that one has to take strong initiatives for which we need strength through pillars like rigorous training, dedication and devotion, and clear vision and ideology with a positive approach”. He further added “I hope that all the students excel in their respective fields and achieve success with new creative works and experimentations bringing smile on the faces of everyone around the world”. 

Pandit Bhajan Sopori is a complete institution in himself. Regarded as the cultural bridge of Jammu & Kashmir State with the rest of the country, he is hailed as the “Saint of the Santoor” and the “King of Strings”. Representing the fabled 300 year old Sufiana Gharana of Kashmir, he has used his Santoor and his compositions to highlight the concept of oneness and foster unity enshrining the idea of national integration, humanism and peace. He has composed music for more than 6000 songs and created history by being the first person to play the Indian Classical music on the Santoor in concerts way back in the early 1950’s. In his six decades of dedicated work he has explored various dimensions of the Santoor, carrying out many path-breaking innovations”. 

For his enormous contributions, Panditji has received hundreds of national and international awards, lifetime achievement decorations and titles including the prestigious Padmashri, Sangeet Natak Academy Award, J&K State Lifetime Achievement Award, J&K State Civil Award, National Flag Honour of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan Memorial National Award, Atal Bihari Vajpayee Media Excellence Award, National Shiromani Award, National Excellence Award, Delhi Ratan Award, Rajiv Gandhi Pratishta Samman, Delhi Telugu Academy Award, Beenkar Samman, Best Citizens of India Award, Baba Allauddin Khan Award, Dogri Award, etc. to name a few. Pandit Sopori also has a unique distinction and honour to be on an Indian Postal Stamp of Rs.5.00 /- presented by the Indian Postal Department as a special honor to him in the year 2011.

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  • Says JK people have been suffering immensely
  • AoA implementation, PMDP execution, better coordination between PDP-BJP also discussed

NEW DELHI: Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, who is in the national capital, called on the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi here this evening. During the meeting, the Chief Minister apprised the Prime Minister about the overall situation in the State. She informed the Prime Minister that the people of Jammu & Kashmir have been suffering immensely due to a precarious situation for the past so many decades. She also brought into his notice the recent up scaling of violence along the borders in the State which has forced thousands of people to leave their homes, hearths and daily routine. She said the dire need of the time is to de escalate this situation of violence and uncertainty and adopt the path of reconciliation, as envisioned in the Agenda of Alliance of the present Government, so that a durable peace is ensured in the State and the sub continent.

Threadbare discussion on the Agenda of Alliance also took place during the meeting and the need was felt to ensure time bound progress on all the items including reconciliation between groups, regions and countries and return back of power projects. Better coordination between the two ruling parties, PDP and BJP, was also stressed during the meeting so that better results are delivered to the people in the State. Mehbooba Mufti also discussed with the Prime Minister the execution of Rs. One Lakh Crore Prime Minister’s Development Package in the State while underlining the need for people’s outreach for effectively percolating down the benefits of such a package. 

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  • Process on to prepare fresh list of PMAY beneficiaries: Abdul Haq
  • Govt laying network of roads in rural areas to augment connectivity: Naeem Akhtar

NEW DELHI: Minister for Public Works Naeem Akhtar and Minister for Rural Development Panchayati Raj, Law and Justice, Abdul Haq Khan attended a meeting convened here today by the Union Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Mines, Narendra Singh Tomar to discuss implementation of Prime Minister's Awas Yojana (PMAY) and Prime Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY). 

The meeting was attended by various state Rural Development Ministers and officers.  The Union Minister said under the guidance of Prime Minister, Ministry of Rural Development is determined to improve standards of living of the people in rural areas through various schemes.  He said the Ministry has brought important changes in implementation of its programmes and has also ensured that the States are provided adequate resources to augment infrastructure. 


Union Minister said the Budget of Rural Development Department which was Rs 58,630 Crore in 2013-14 has been increased to Rs 1,09,042 Crore in 2017-18 which depicts government’s commitment to uplift the rural areas at par with the urban areas.  The Minister said under PMGSY the government is providing rural connectivity connecting habitations besides Mandis, Towns, Hospitals and other amenities. 


He said the Government has advanced target of connecting all eligible habitations with pucca road from March, 2022 to March, 2019 under PMGSY. He urged the States to complete the road projects in time to avail the Central funds and incentives as budget is no constraint for PMGSY. Minister for Public Works Naeem Akhtar informed the meeting that a network of roads is being laid in rural areas to increase the connectivity and assured that the centrally sponsored schemes will be implemented in letter and spirit.  


He said the roads in villages will set the villages on the track of development as more jobs will be created and business will flourish after the connectivity is increased. The minister informed that upto Phase X of PMGSY, 2410 roads and 108 bridges have been constructed at the sanctioned cost of Rs 8132.38 crore out of which Rs 4085.92 crore have been spent up to January this year and has connected as many as 2035 habitations.


Union Minister was informed that before the inception of PMGSY in J&K the rural connectivity in the state was 58 percent which has been now increased to 86.13 percent.  Under PMAY, Tomar said the government intends to provide Housing for All by 2022 and said the government is determined to achieve the target within stipulated time by providing housing facilities to 1 core beneficiaries in rural areas by March, 2019.  The union Minister reviewed the functioning of these schemes including PMGSY and PMAY in the states and urged the respective ministers to expedite work on these projects so that not only the target can be achieved well in time but the common masses are benefitted at earliest.


Abdul Haq briefed the meeting about the achievement in the implementation of PMAY and assured full support from the state government with regard to the implementation of these schemes.  Minister said the state government is in process of holding Gram Sabha to prepare a fresh list of the house-less and economically backward population who were left out in the earlier surveys.  


He said the department has already been instructed to hold fresh Gram Sabhas so that the left out deserving people can benefit identified and included in the list that will be sent to the union government for approval.  He said the JK Government has also directed the officials of Rural Development Department to finalize the list within 15 days after holding Gram Sabha and make the list public in the respective Panchayats by pasting the same list at Public places including outside the Offices of BDOs and Panchayat houses so that everybody is aware about the list and discrepancy or complaint, if any, can be communicated to the people thereby by ensuring transparency.  He said under the guidance of Prime Minister and Chief Minister at the centre the government is determined to improve standard of living of the people in rural areas through its various schemes.