Sanjha Morcha

The faujis are unhappy, for good reason…

THE fauji biradari is seething with unhappiness. And perhaps for good reason. A single video from Kashmir has tarnished the Army’s image. Every professional officer knows that the photograph of a Kashmiri tied to a Jeep as a human shield has not added lustre to the Army’s prestige. Not only abroad, but even at home, sensibilities have been offended.

Our armed forces take a legitimate pride in being a disciplined, apolitical, secular and professional organisation. Our armed forces’ self-image is one of a morally superior wing of the Indian State, whose members bravely and unquestioningly make the ultimate sacrifice in defence of the motherland. Our Army is admired all over the world for having so uncomplainingly socialised itself in the ethos of democratic constraints and civilian supremacy.

All professional officers who have had any experience of Kashmir’s volatile landscape can understand the urgent and the unpleasant choices that young Major Gogoi faced. Yet, somehow that ‘human shield’ has disturbed the peace of mind. Maybe, it is a realisation that use of force and violence has a brutalising impact on everyone. I suspect that behind this seething anger is something deeper. It is a sense of being let down and being used by the calculating politician.For some time now, this country had been led to believe that most of our national security troubles have remained unresolved because over the decades we have had weak, vacillating, pusillanimous rulers who were afraid to use the available force. A sizeable section of the fauji biradari also began subscribing to this view. Some scheming generals — the VK Singhs — began getting ambitious. Now the sensible and intelligent professionals among the fauji biradari are beginning to understand that a group of politicians has, in fact, used the armed forces to build itself up. The faujis, serving or retired, could not have helped notice how ‘surgical strikes’ got worked into the partisan electoral rhetoric in Uttar Pradesh; worse, the “Chief” was made a talking point in the Uttarakhand election. There is an unsettling realisation that the fauj is being used to cover up the politician’s failure — or worse, his mendacity.Since May 2014, we have not had a substantive Defence Minister. For the first six months, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was asked to look after the Raksha Mantralaya. Then, there was the inconsequential Manohar Parrikar, a provincial man, utterly unequal to the task, who at the first opportunity, was happy to play again in the provincial league in Goa. And now, once again, Arun Jaitley finds himself saddled with the additional charge. He is an extremely intelligent and extremely hard-working man, but no country in the world — certainly not a country of our size and our security problems — can do without a fulltime Raksha Mantri. And, the senior army officers cannot be faulted for discerning the grand confusion on the Raisina Hills. Nor can they be faulted for not being very comfortable with all the inputs flowing from extra-constitutional sources on how “Kashmir” and “Kashmiris” have to be sorted out. Beginning with General S Padmanabhan, practically every Army Chief has suggested that it was up to the politicians and the diplomats to find a way out of our problems with our neighbours. Political failure in Srinagar, Jammu and Delhi is all too blatant. A few days ago, (Tuesday, April 25), Lt-General Subrata Saha (retd), who was the Corps Commander, Srinagar, (2014-15) had penned a very thoughtful piece, detailing this political failure and its deleterious consequences. Yet, our clever politicians have cunningly manufactured an ultra-nationalist discourse. The incompetent and corrupt politicians in Srinagar and Jammu have performed in perfect jugalbundi with the scheming crowd in New Delhi.An unhappy realisation is dawning on the fauji biradari: the mendacious politicians in Delhi would continue to use the sacrifice and the blood of the soldiers to accumulate more and more power. This is a painful and unsettling realisation. 


ON the last page of The Tribune today, Mr Gopal Gandhi has drawn a very fine portrait of Mrs Shoba Nehru. With his characteristic sensitivity, he has brought out the richness of Fori Nehru’s personality. I met her last in the first week of February, 2016. Along with some of the Trustees of The Tribune, I had gone to her house in Chandigarh to honour her as our oldest reader.And, what a powerful impression she left on me. As it happened, a few days earlier, I had written in these columns on “Why the Mahatma had to be killed.” She seemed to have read that short piece and complimented me for reminding everyone that an assassination had taken place. In turn, I asked her whether she remembered where she was and what she was doing when Nathuram Godse fired those shots at the Mahatma. Indeed, she remembered. And then, for the next fifteen minutes, she proceeded to fill me in with minute details of the scene at Birla House. She and her husband had been asked by Pandit Nehru to look after the foreign dignitaries arriving to pay their homage to the Mahatma. It was a marvel; here was this lady, over 100 years old, recalling so vividly, on the spur of the moment, an event that took place sixty years earlier. In her younger days, she must have made a remarkable companion to her equally redoubtable husband.Anyone who reads BK Nehru’s autobiography Nice Guys Finish Second cannot fail to get the flavour of the difference Fori made to her husband’s successful career. The Nehrus’ years in Washington as Ambassador, during the Kennedy and the Johnson years, were probably the finest years of Indian diplomacy. The Nehrus had charmed the Kennedys. Imagine the President of the United States inviting the Nehrus to a private dinner upstairs in the White House. Probably, the first and the last time such a gesture was made to an Indian ambassador in Washington.And then, there was President Johnson coming to the Ambassador’s residence for a chat with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and staying (unscheduled) for dinner. With Fori at his side, Ambassador Nehru spontaneously managed to convert the evening into a grand success. And, truth is that the Indian ambassadors were allowed only a paltry entertainment fund. No matter. Writes Ambassador Nehru with satisfaction: “But the Indian ambassador and his wife had no shortage of good manners, good taste, good food, good wine, and above all, sophistication, elegance and style, which was what was really valued.” Touche!


LAST Tuesday, there was this function at the UT Guest House in Chandigarh to launch PPS Gill’s new book, Blood on the Green — Punjab’s Tryst with Terror. Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Badal was the chief guest and he lived up to his reputation as an erudite speaker.The book makes an interesting read, forcing the reader to not only recall that Punjab had gone through a harrowing time but also make him wonder whether the political and bureaucratic elites had learnt any healthy lesson from the blunders and stupidities of an earlier generation. The book is also a reminder of the enormous risks and dangers to which the journalistic fraternity was subjected during those days — by the terrorists with guns and by the security agencies, both determined to control the narrative. PPS Gill was reporting for The Tribune from Amritsar and it probably was the best — and, also the most dangerous — assignment any reporter could ask for. And Gill sahib acquitted himself very honourably. What I found so gratifying at this book launch was that so many fellow journalists had put in an appearance. This, indeed, was an indication of the high esteem in which PPS Gill is held. It was also a reassuring expression of professional solidarity.




Sharif sacks top aide over info leak, army ‘rejects’ it Dawn report spoke of rift over proxy war against India

Sharif sacks top aide over info leak, army ‘rejects’ it
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. — File photo

Islamabad, April 29

Beleaguered Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today faced a crisis when Pakistan’s powerful army rejected his move to sack top aide Tariq Fatemi and demanded full implementation of recommendations by a committee which probed a story on a rift between the army and the government.The Sharif government was quick to go into a damage-control mode after the confrontation with the army over a “notification” and announced that the “real notification” to implement the recommendation of the probe was yet to be issued.In October, a columnist for Dawn newspaper wrote about a rift between civilian and military leaderships over militant groups that operate from Pakistan but engage in a proxy war against India and Afghanistan.Dawn had reported how in a “blunt and unprecedented warning”, the civilian government had informed the military leadership of growing international isolation of Pakistan on terrorism.The army took strong exception and the PML-N government was forced to remove then information minister Pervaiz Rasheed, but a probe was also initiated at the army’s behest to fix responsibility. According to the report, special foreign affairs assistant Fatemi was primarily responsible for leaking the report of the meeting.Today, in an unusual move, the army rejected the “notification” by the government to sack Fatemi. “Notification on ‘Dawn’ leak is incomplete and not in line with recommendations by the Inquiry Board. Notification is rejected,” army spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor tweeted.Minutes later, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in a veiled criticism of the hasty reaction said, “Twitter reactions were highly dangerous for the country.”“There are several issues of great importance and it’s unfortunate they are being dealt with through tweets. State institutions don’t communicate with each other through tweets,” Khan said. — Agencies

Won’t talk to separatists: Govt to SC

J&K HC Bar body had asked Centre to hold dialogue with Hurriyat leaders

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court asked the Union government on Friday to facilitate talks between separatists and Kashmiri lawyers, paving the way for the first attempts to defuse tension in a region where nearly 100 people have been killed in waves of violence since last year.

PTIKupwara attack martyr Capt Ayush Yadav’s mortal remains arrive in Kanpur on Friday. The army paid floral tributes to three of its personnel who were killed in the Thursday attack.

The bench, headed by chief justice JS Khehar, told the representatives of the J&K High Court Bar association to use their influence in the region to open a dialogue with separatist Hurriyat leaders, the “first step to bring normalcy” to the Kashmir valley. During the hearing, the government ruled out engaging with the Hurriyat leaders, the political face of the anti-India movement in the region claimed by Pakistan as its territory.

The meeting, the bench told attorney general Mukul Rohatgi, should be facilitated only if the rules allowed it.

“The Centre is aware of the situation there and is taking all the measures,” Rohatgi told the court, objecting strongly to the HC bar association’s arguments that NDA government should hold “unconditional talks with the jailed Hurriyat leaders.”

The AG also said it was not for the court to commence a dialogue, but for the political parties.

The SC did not “appreciate” AG’s aggressive stand, saying, “what they say is that we are the bar association and we should be allowed to talk to them (separatists). Let them meet and talk. Court can always be a facilitator, though the solutions are somewhere else”.

The court said if Rohatgi felt the court had no jurisdiction then it would not hear the petition by lawyers’ body seeking a direction to stop the use of pellet guns by security forces in Kashmir. “The leaders are under house arrest by the state government who would be told what the SC has asked for. If a request is made, then the state shall take a decision as per the rules”, Rohatgi told HT, when asked about the next step.

Allegations of human rights violations – including a video of a man tied to an army jeep – have soured relations between locals and security forces in the Valley amid increasing incidents of stone pelting and civilian deaths.

The apex court said it was disturbed to see photographs presented by the petitioners of people injured by pellet guns. But it told the Kashmiri lawyers that no progress was possible unless the protests abated.

“We can put it (pellet firing) off provided there is some reasonableness on both sides. You tell us what you would do if we direct the government not to use pellets for two weeks.”

Senior lawyers from the association demanded the government hold a dialogue, which the court ruled out for the time being, and also declined their plea to remove the army from the Valley. “If we do that everything will finish.” “Most worrisome aspect is that children are getting involved. Girls are coming on the streets,” the bench told the advocates

DARBAR MOVE Vyas had been serving as principal secretary to chief minister for the past one year; replaces Braj Raj Sharma

JAMMU : On the last day of the Darbar Move office in Jammu, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti during a cabinet meeting on Friday appointed Bharat Bhushan Vyas, a 1986-batch IAS officer, as the new chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir.

He replaced Braj Raj Sharma, who will now serve as an advisor to the chief minister.

Vyas had been serving as principal secretary to the chief minister for the past one year. He has also served as principal secretary to J&K governor and former chief minister Omar Abdullah, besides holding other positions, including principal secretary (finance).

Darbar Move offices closed here on Friday and shall reopen on May 8 in Srinagar.


Apart from this, the government also made some other major reshuffling in the administrative set up.

Krishan Ballabh Agarwal is posted as principal secretary (coordination) in the Resident Commission, J&K government at New Delhi.

Shaleen Kabra, principal secretary school education, is now the chairperson of J&K special tribunal.

Farooq Ahmad Shah, secretary tourism, floriculture, parks and gardens department, will hold additional charge of administrative secretary school education.

Navin Kumar Choudhary, commissioner secretary finance, will hold additional charge of administrative secretary, labour and employment.

Pawan Kotwal, divisional commissioner Jammu, is posted as commissioner secretary health and medical education. Mandeep Kumar Bhandari, commissioner health and medical education, is posted as divisional commissioner, Jammu.

Dalai: China will avoid military confrontation

Dalai: China will avoid military confrontation
The Dalai Lama at the Professor ML Sondhi Prize for International Politics-2016 in New Delhi. MR Bhui

Ravi S Singh

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 27Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama today said China would desist from military confrontation with India considering the latter’s military and geographical might.While receiving “Professor ML Sondhi Prize for International Politics-2016”, the Dalia Lama ruled out China’s mis-adventurism against India and said the neighbouring country was a “totalitarian which has not much future. Its leaders are fighting how to retain power”. On China’s belligerence over his recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh, he said: “India is not a small country; militarily it is gaining.”“When they (China) think of indulging in conflict with India, they will have also to think of the simmering unrest in Tibet,” the spiritual leader said. He described the Chinese reaction as “sad” and “unusual”. He said India had a right on the environmental issues and ecology of Tibet. Hence, it should raise the issue of the Brahmaputra, which originates in Tibet, with Chinese authorities.Several reports say the Chinese regime has been tampering with the flow of the river by diverting its course.Prof Sondhi, a native of Punjab, was Bharatiya Jana Sangh MP from Delhi (1967-71). Earlier, he was in the India Foreign Service from which he resigned and joined Jawaharlal Nehru University to become Professor at International Affairs. The award was instituted by the Professor ML Sondhi Memorial Trust and the ML Sondshi Institute for Asia-Pacific Affairs in 2003. Former Union Minister Arun Shourie presented the award and addressed the gathering, besides former Foreign Secretary Lalit Mansingh and Madhur Santanam Sondhi.

18 years on, Kargil martyr lives on only in memory

Except for family, Major HP Singh who laid down his life fighting infiltrators in 1999, remains a forgotten hero

Nitin Jain

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13

It has been 18 long years since the Kargil conflict. Fighting the enemy, many a valiant soldier had laid down his life in the operation to protect his motherland. For the family of Kargil martyr, the time span, however, has not done anything to make the memories, of times spent together, any dim.Initially, there used to be special functions by the community and the local administration also to commemorate Shaurya Chakra awardee Major Harminder Pal Singh, the 31-year-old, 6 feet 2 inch lad from Kharar, who was killed in a fierce encounter with militants in Baramullah district of north Kashmir on April 13, 1999, but 18 years down the line, it seems that all others have forgotten the supreme sacrifice of the brave soldier, who had laid down his life for the motherland, except the wailing family.When The Tribune called upon the Kargil martyr’s family now shifted to Sector 70 in Mohali, it has no regrets. While the countrymen have recognised the supreme sacrifice made by their brave son, the government has also done its bit for the family. On this day in 1999, even as lakhs of Sikhs were thronging Anandpur Sahib to revel in the spirit of the Khalsa on the occasion of the tercentenary of their birth, a modern-day Sikh warrior was living up to the Sikh military traditions in the Kashmir Valley.Major Singh had been wounded in the left arm but had recovered to encourage three militants armed with Kalashnikovs and grenades in an eyeball-to-eyeball encounter in a remote North Kashmir on April 13.The 18 Grenadiers Major was shot through the temple by the third militant, but not before he had gunned down two of them. Harminder led the commando platoon of his battalion in what has been described as a “dare-devil” operation in a congested locality of Sadurkotbala village in Manasbal.The Grenadiers revere Harminder as a ‘sant-sipahi’ and his loss made even a tough Haryanvi Jat like Havildar misty-eyed. “Our welfare was uppermost in his mind,” he recollects, adding that perhaps valour ran through his blood.Major’s father Harpal Singh, who had also served the Indian Army and retired as a Captain, has already decided to make his 18-year-old grandson Navteshwar follow in the footsteps of his father. Navteshwar had appeared in Class XII exams from Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16, here this year.Harminder’s mother Surinder Pal Kaur said her son’s sacrifice was an honour for her and the family. “It was Pintu’s (Harminder’s nickname) childhood dream to join the Army and do something for the country,” she adds.“Apne liye to sabhi jeeten hain, aadmi to woh hai jo auron ke liye jiye, auron ke liye mare (Everybody lives for self, the man is that who lives and dies for others),” says Rupinder Pal Kaur, late Major’s young widow, who has been serving as a District Food and Supplies Controller (DFSC) in Fatehgarh Sahib, after she completed her B.Ed following her husband’s death. She adds that Harminder had even written in the birth certificate of Navteshwar that he wants him to earn a name for the family, by serving the nation as defence personnel. Rupinder had given birth to Navteshwar, three months before the death of her husband.The Major’s father Capt Harpal Singh (retd) says, “The Shaurya Chakra award in anyway cannot compensate the loss we have suffered. But then, I am among those fathers who can take pride even in his son’s death”.Major had got married only 18 months before his death to Rupinder, who hails from Sri Ganganagar. Harminder’s younger brother, Ravinder Pal Singh, is an officer in the Merchant Navy.Harminder was twice recommended for decoration and received letters of appreciation from his Corps Commander who had also sent his name for the Army Chief’s commendation certificate.

Commissioned in March 1992

  • Harminder was an alumnus of Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Kharar, and Government College, Mohali. He got his commission in the Army in March 1992 and was promoted shortly before his death to the rank of Major. He had qualified for a pilot’s job with the Air Force, but decided against it.

What they said

  • Apne liye to sabhi jeeten hain, aadmi to woh hai jo auron ke liye jiye, auron ke liye mare. — Surinder Pal Kaur, Harminder’s mother
  • The Shaurya Chakra award in anyway cannot compensate the loss we have suffered. But then, I am among those fathers who can take pride even in his son’s death. — Capt Harpal Singh, Harminder’s father

Syria Strikes: More Clutter Than Clarity Achieved BY Lt Gen Ata Husnain

Syria Strikes: More Clutter Than Clarity Achieved


Trump may have achieved for himself the image of a strong and decisive leader at a time when many were questioning his ability to lead the US and the world.

However, he has also opened up risk far greater than currently meets the eye.

To be seen as an effective leader, he has to go beyond just the muscular response.

A single decision leading to a major military offensive can have serious implications especially when it involves a superpower and a former one in an already tenuous environment. There can be an escalatory effect and the implications can be felt well outside the military domain. That is how the US Tomahawk (cruise missile) strike against Syria has to be viewed. Importantly, we are only looking at the initial symptoms of the decision. Probably much more will follow.

US President Donald Trump, off late under increasing pressure of falling approval ratings and criticism from his own Republican Party took a decisive step to launch 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles against the Syrian airfield Al Shayrat from where purportedly the Syrian government forces of President Bashar Al Assad launched aerial chemical attacks on civilians leading to 80 civilian deaths, including children. Assad’s alleged target for the chemical attack was the province of Idlib, where a number of displaced people from rebel-held areas are herded; a loose rebel and Al Qaeda control exists in the area where almost 3.5 million people still live. The post strike damage assessment for the physical damage caused to the infrastructure of the airfield is unimportant. The more important part is the damage effect on the situation and the highly sensitive strategic environment of Syria especially with the presence of Russian military forces in the area and the multiple interest groups.

Trump’s decision reversed quite decisively his predecessor Barack Obama’s policy of non-intervention in the Syrian conflict. Personally for him, it met immediate approval from some of his detractors such as Senator John McCain. However, none of the events explains the rationale and logic employed.

Looking at the Syrian side, Assad has used chemical weapons in the past but the attempts in 2014-15 drew little international response and this probably emboldened him. Then, the Islamic State (Daesh) was at its peak and engagement against it was perhaps more prudent than getting after Assad; the Russians had just started operations in Syria and their role was yet being ascertained, while Obama was nearing the end of his presidency.

The question begging answer now should be: why there is a need for Assad to take the extreme step of employing chemical weapons at this stage, at a time when things seemed to be going his way? He had definitely not won the war but the military situation was in the favour of the Russian-Syrian-Iranian combine. In the US, there were indicators that President Trump was willing to allow the re-legitimisation of the Assad regime and diplomatic efforts were afoot towards this. Billions in US dollars aid was being discussed in Brussels without insisting on any political transition. The refugee crisis in Europe was in mind while seeking ways to restore some order in Syria. So, why this strategic hara-kiri by Assad when he was surely aware of these steps afoot? Assad has denied the involvement of his forces in the chemical attacks so who then was responsible? Complete lack of clarity exists on that with no evidence at all to point fingers at Iran or Russia, both being partners of Assad. The finger was also being pointed towards rogue elements of the Syrian Army who are out of sync with the larger diplomatic process that is underway now.

On the US side, what was achieved with the decision to launch 59 Tomahawk missiles? From a military angle, it hardly had any tactical effect; wasn’t aimed at chemical weapon storage facilities for obvious reasons; the choice of the airfield from where the strikes were launched was perhaps with a focused but symbolic intent. The aim in such circumstances when one-off military action is launched is invariably politico-strategic. It is not regime change, nor diluting Assad’s military capability. It is more about a message to Assad that in spite of Russian presence the US retains the capability and will to launch military strikes in an area of its interest. A follow up action is unlikely which signifies that the objective here is the message regarding use of chemical weapons. The intent is to put an end to it. It is equally a strategic messaging to Russia that the Trump administration has the will to robustly defend its interests even at the risk of escalation. Trump’s personal image will take an upswing, at least temporarily until more analyses reveal some other murky picture; that goes for the image of his advisers too.

Has Trump been wise in his decision? There are two angles to this. First is his personal image and that of his advisers. Second is the strategic effect of the strike. Here was a situation which could fetch tremendous dividend in terms of restoration of US confidence after a period of some uncertainty and self-doubt. Trump was probably advised that retrieval of US military prestige, particularly in the eyes of its allies, could be done with little risk and the same would contribute to his personal image of a decisive chief executive, both for the external and the internal constituency. However, that will be true if the objectives remain just there and no ‘vague maximalism’ (term courtesy Foreign Affairs magazine) without clarity enters the matrix of future options, which most certainly would be drawn up. It was probably calculated that the Russian connection, in public perception, being Trump’s negative point. A military strike which would needle the Russian leadership would probably retrieve the situation with the home constituency.

An effect which is likely to be immediate is the stoppage of the process of re-legitimisation of Assad, something which would have had a decisive effect on the Syrian crisis. It is regime change once again that the US and its allies are going to seek after a brief hiatus. The ceasefire is going to be a major problem here onwards. Russia seems to have painted itself into a corner with accusations of being complicit in the chemical weapon attacks. Its intended deployment of a robust anti-aircraft defence to defend the Syrian airspace is not the answer in these circumstances. It should be seeking ways of how to respond diplomatically. The event also puts Iran under pressure in the face of an emboldening US where the new administration has already threatened the scrapping of the 15 July 2015 nuclear deal.

The ones with the last laugh will quite obviously be the IS, who suddenly appears like they are the ‘good guys’. Anything to divert attention is good for Daesh. In a three-way conflict in the Levant weakening of one of the other two has a commensurate effect on the fortunes of the third. Hopefully, the battles underway to vanquish and displace Daesh will not witness any change in the focus and weight of attention and resources.

Trump may have achieved for himself the image of a strong and decisive leader at a time when many were questioning his ability to lead the US and the world. However, he has also opened up risk far greater than currently meets the eye. To be seen as an effective leader, he has to go beyond just the muscular response. Perhaps he could have initiated the setting up of a United Nations investigation team, in the light of denials about chemical weapon capability of the Syrian state, also being certified by the Russians. Russia has put on hold all military cooperation with the US including local agreements in the battle zone of West Asia.

The complexities of West Asia dictate that he who can think through situations with vision and forethought will stand to benefit. In the current context, that notion seems far from any considerations of the US President and his team of advisers.

In death, ex-IAF man gives new lease of life to two Corneas to help another two in getting eyesight

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8

The family of an ex-serviceman of the Indian Air Force, who was declared brain dead at the PGIMER here yesterday, today gave the consent to donate his organs, which saved the lives of two critical patients and will give vision to another two.Nirmaljit Kaur, wife of Manjit Singh (64), said, “My husband was a brave soldier. He lived saving others and even in his death, he has turned a saviour for four others.”The Kharar resident was admitted to a local hospital on March 26 following a brain stroke and remained in an extremely critical condition for almost 12 days. He was shifted to the PGIMER on April 6 where he was declared brain dead the next day.After his family’s consent, his kidneys and corneas have been harvested for transplantation.

UP waives Rs 36,000-cr farm loans

UP waives  Rs 36,000-cr farm loans
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath coming out after the cabinet meeting at Lok Bhawan in Lucknow on Tuesday. PTI photo

Tribune News Service

Lucknow, April 4

The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh today approved waiver of farm loans, totalling Rs 36,359 crore, benefiting 86 lakh farmers, as promised by the BJP during the Assembly elections.The decision was taken at the first Cabinet meeting. (Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)Senior minister Siddhartha Nath Singh said the waiver also included a loan amount of Rs 5,630 crore taken by nearly  seven lakh farmers. Sources  claimed the government would take a loan either from the Centre or other financial institutions. The PM had declared at a rally that he would ensure “the BJP government at its first Cabinet meeting takes the decision to waive farmers’ loan”.The Cabinet approved Anti-Romeo Squads. Development works in Varanasi, the PM’s  constituency, also figured at the meeting. Congress’ RS Surjewala said the waiver excluded a large section of farmers. “UP has 2.33 crore farmers, of which 2.15 crore are small and marginal farmers. As many as 64.14 lakh farmers have taken a loan of Rs 86, 241 crore from banks. Cooperative bank loan is Rs 6,000 crore. This loan is of two kinds, crop and term loan, but unfortunately the UP Government’s decision covers only crop loans and not term loans,” he said.


Why this tunnel will become Jammu and Kashmir’s lifeline

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate to the nation Asia’s longest bi-directional road tunnel on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway on Sunday (April 2). The Chenani-Nashri all-weather tunnel has been built at a cost of over Rs 2,500 crore in about five years.

Built at an altitude of 1,200 meters, the 10.89 km tunnel would cut the travel distance between Jammu and Srinagar by about 40 kilometres, and is expected to save passengers over 2 hours in travel time as it will bypass snow- and landslide-prone Kud, Patnitop and Batote on National Highway 44. According to estimates, it also promises fuel savings of over Rs 27 lakh per day and will also provide better connectivity to people in Kishtwar, Doda and Bhaderwah in the Jammu region.

The work on the twin-tube tunnel, which is part of National Highway Authority of India’s (NHAI’s) 286-km-long four-lane project on the highway, started on May 23, 2011, in the lower Himalayan mountain range. The project forms part of the proposed widening of NH-44 (old NH-1A) from Jammu to Srinagar.

Hailed as an engineering marvel, this marks significant roadbuilding firsts in India, including an unprecedented stress on user safety. Amongst its host of intelligent road tunnel features are:

Integrated traffic control system
Entrance Detection Control System
Active Firefighting System
Electronic Surveillance System
Evacuative Broadcast System
Tunnel Ventilation System




head lines ::::29 Apr 2017

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