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    I Don’t Need To Give Any Message To Pak Army Chief, Only Need To Give A Message To My Army,” Says General Bipin Rawat

    • Making it clear that the Indian army is well prepared to undertake any given task at any point of time, Army chief Bipin Rawat stated that ‘he doesn’t need to give any message for his counterpart (Pakistan Army chief)’
    • Another major topic which General Rawat spoke about during the interview was the kind of reply which India may give to Pakistan for the barbaric acts they have been committing at the border in recent times

    Making it clear that the Indian army is well prepared to undertake any given task at any point of time, Army chief Bipin Rawat, in an exclusive with Republic TV, stated that ‘he doesn’t need to give any message for his counterpart (Pakistan Army chief)’.

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    On the matter of the kind of message he intends to deliver to General Qamar Jawed Bajwa, the Chief of Army Staff said, “I don’t think I need to give any message (to General Bajwa). I need to give a message only to my army, and the message, which I’ve given to my army from day one is we have to always be prepared for any task that is entrusted to us by the government. And we will undertake any task, anytime and anywhere.”

    Another major topic which General Rawat spoke about during the interview was the kind of reply which India may give to Pakistan for the barbaric acts they have been committing at the border in recent times.

    “I have said there are options available, and what options can be undertaken are always planned and the execution when necessitated will be done. These kind of barbaric acts which are carried out by the terrorists are completely supported by the Pakistani Army and the ISI.

    “When the time come they’ll be punished, but not in the same manner, I mean if the Indian army ever punishes or the security forces ever punish, we do not carry out such barbaric acts. We are a very professional army. All acts that we conduct or any actions that we take are completely within the framework of Geneva conventions,” he added.

    READ: EXCLUSIVE: ‘When The Time Comes They Will Be Punished But Not In The Same Manner,’ Says Army Chief While Issuing A Warning To Pakistan Over Barbaric Acts

    Further divulging into the topic of elections in J&K, the COAS said, “We would like the elections to happen as it is for the benefit of the people. On the one hand, the local population has been complaining about the governance of Kashmir and has been talking about unemployment, lack of job opportunities, they have been talking about development. If the panchayat elections go through, then all these issues will be addressed because the power devolves to the people, jobs will be available and development activity according to the wishes of people can continue in the valley, in the Kashmir valley.”


    Day 4: 81 rescued from Lahaul & Spiti Zoom

    Aerial rescue op was partially hampered in the afternoon due to snowfall in higher reaches of the district

    A technical team of state electricity board landed at Keylong in Lahaul & Spiti on Friday for the restoration of power supply.
    VIKAS LABRU, divisional commissioner (central zone, Mandi)

    DHARAMSHALA/MANDI:As many as 81 people, mostly tourists, were rescued by the Indian Air Force (AIF) helicopters from the various locations of the snow-marooned Lahaul and Spiti district on Friday.

    HT PHOTOSIndian Air Force helicopter airlifting stranded tourists during a rescue operation at Chhota Dara in Lahaul and Spiti district on Friday; (and below) two professional skiers from Manali before skiing down Baralacha Pass to rescue five stranded tourists.As the rescue operation entered its fourth day, IAF helicopters airlifted 26 people from Chhatru and Chhota Dara. The rescued included six bikers, three of whom were women, from Delhi, Thiruvananthapuram and Rajkot. Over 30 people, who were stranded for nearly a week in Chotta Dara near the Kunzum Pass area, were airlifted later in the day.

    Divisional commissioner (central zone, Mandi) Vikas Labru informed as many as 191 people, including 30 foreigners, have been airlifted from the valley in the last four days.

    Two light utility helicopters Cheetah have been additionally deployed by IAF along with the three already deployed helicopters, he said, adding that a ground-level rescue operation by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is also on.

    Kullu deputy commissioner Yunus Khan said at least 37 people were rescued from the 16,020foot high Baralacha La Pass by road on Friday. Around 1,200 people have been rescued through Rohtang Tunnel so far. Most of them were stranded for the past six days at various locations in the Himalayas due to heavy snowfall. Early snowfall in the higher reaches, cloudburst and heavy rains snapped several road links from September 22 to 24. Kullu and Lahaul & Spiti districts were the worst affected.

    Heavy snowfall on the Rohtang Pass (13,050 ft) has cut off the Lahaul and Spiti valleys, affecting a large number of tourists and hampering the water and electricity supply.

    Labru said a 10-member technical team of HP State Electricity Board Limited (HPSEBL) landed at Keylong, the headquarters of Lahaul & Spiti district, on Friday along with electric transformers for the restoration of power supply in the district.

    SKIERS RESCUE FIVE IN MANALI

    In a daring operation, two professional skiers from Manali, Joginder Thakur and Praveen Sood, rescued five people who were stuck in their vehicles at a location away from Baralacha La Pass, where the IAF helicopters could not reach.

    Thakur and Sood were airdropped at Baralacha La by an IAF helicopter from where they skied for around five kilometres to reach the stranded people, including a woman and a sevenyear-old child.

    The duo was also involved in the rescue of a BRO jawan who was buried in an avalanche at Rohtang in February, earlier this year.

    WEATHER TAKES A TURN

    Meanwhile, the aerial rescue operation was partially hampered in the late afternoon owing to the onset of snowfall.

    The higher reaches in Lahaul & Spiti experienced fresh snowfall, partially hampering the rescue operation at Baralacha La Pass and other locations, said the Kullu DC, adding that operation will continue on Saturday.


    In a first, Attari border pips Jallianwala Bagh in tourist footfall

    AMRITSAR: For the first time, the Attari-Wagah border joint check post (JCP) has pipped Jallianwala Bagh in terms of tourist footfall and has become the second most-visited destination in Amritsar after the Golden Temple.

    SAMEER SEHGAL/HTVisitors during beating the retreat ceremony at the Attari­Wagah border in Amritsar. The ceremony is being jointly followed by the two countries since 1959.As per the state tourism department, nearly 15,000 people witness beating the retreat, a flag-lowering ceremony, at the border check-post everyday. However, the number is around 25,000 on Saturdays and Sundays. Beating the retreat has been jointly followed by the two countries since 1959 with the Border Security Force (BSF) jawans and Pakistani Rangers displaying aggressive posturing and foot-stomping.

    District tourism officer Gursharan Singh said, “Around 10,000 people visit Jallianwala Bagh daily and around 15,000 people witness the retreat ceremony everyday.”

    “On weekends, the rush increases to more than 25,000. We are now considering the border as second most-visited tourist site in the city.”

    Though the retreat ceremony starts at 5:30 pm, hundreds of people can be seen standing in queues from 2pm daily at the JCP. This is regardless of the scorching heat in summer.

    NEW DEVELOPMENTS AT THE BORDER

    Looking at the increasing footfall, a newly upgraded spectator gallery was constructed at the JCP at a cost of Rs 32 crore.

    As per BSF officials, the old gallery could accommodate only 5,000 people but the new gallery gives space to around 25,000 viewers.

    The new U-shaped gallery,

    which seems to complement the one on the Pakistan side, has 32-meter height (equivalent to a nine-floor building). The 22 dooms constructed atop the gallery give it a heritage look.

    The gallery has a conference hall, 140 public toilets, nine barracks for jawans, a medicalaid room, a meeting hall, a dining hall, a kitchen, an army weapon exhibition room and a souvenir shop.

    Satinder Mahajan, owner of the gallery’s construction company said, “For security, we have installed 60 high-definition

    imported cameras in the gallery, along with a high-quality fire-fighting system. We have also constructed a museum inside the gallery which is yet to be started. The museum will depict the glorious history of BSF, its achievements and weapons, among other things”.

    “A big LED screen is also installed outside the gallery. When the entire gallery is packed on Saturday and Sunday, people see the retreat ceremony live on the screen by standing outside the gallery”, he added.

    Mahajan said they spent Rs 21 lakh to install a new gate at the Indian side. “The new gate provides better view to Indian spectators to look across the border. A similar gate has also been put up at the Pakistan side”, he said.

    As the sun sets, both the gates at the border are opened and the flags are lowered simultaneously.

    The district tourism officer said since the new gallery was constructed, the border is attracting more tourists.

    Though the BSF makes people sit inside the new gallery, it

    is yet to be inaugurated.

    On Wednesday, the gallery was to be inaugurated by BSF’s DG KK Sharma, but the ceremony was postponed till further date on Tuesday night.

    GENERATING MORE JOBS

    As the footfall at the border is increasing, there have been more opportunities of employment for people. Dozens of new eateries have opened near the border and it is like a fair every evening, outside the JCP.

    Hundreds have been given

    employment at the JCP to sell tricolor flags, umbrellas, cold drink, water and other food items to tourists.

    Kulwant Singh, who sells junk food at the gallery said, “More than 200 workers of the Attari and nearby villages have recently been employed here.”

    Harish Sharma, a local taxi driver, said, “I belong to Chandigarh and I get around 15 to 20 customers in a month for the Attari border itself. Around 1,000 taxis can be seen parked daily here. After Golden Temple, this site has generated employment for us.”

    INSTILLS PATRIOTISM

    Before the actual ceremony begins, women and children can be seen dancing to patriotic Bollywood songs at the border.

    “It was my first visit to Amritsar

    and also to watch the Retreat ceremony here. I have never experienced this in my life. The 25-minute spectacle touched my soul and instilled patriotism in me. I feel every Indian should come here once,” said Sanjeev Kumar, a tourist from Delhi.


    Role of Army highlighted Two-day event marks 2nd anniversary of surgical strikes

    Role of Army highlighted

    A girl poses with a rocket launcher.

    Our Correspondent

    Jalandhar, September 28

    To commemorate the second anniversary of the surgical strikes, a two-day programme was celebrated here today at three places to spread awareness among the youth and the masses regarding what the Army had been doing on the borders and how people are living peacefully.

    The two-day programme has been organised by the Ministry of Outreach Bureau, under the aegis of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, in collaboration with the Army.

    The event was organised at three places — at Curo High Street Mall inaugurated by Lt Gen Dushyant Singh, Commander, 11 Corps of the Army; at MBD Neopolis, in association with the Sikh Light Infantry; and at Jawahar Park, Mall Road, Jalandhar Cantt.

    Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC), Jalandhar, Jitendra Jorwal, and Commanding Officer Col Prashant Aggarwal, along with other senior officers of the Corps, attended the programmes.

    The Vajra Corps carried out day-long activities such as pipe and jazz band display and video presentations. Weapons and other equipment such as rocket launchers and AK-47 were also displayed, which were the major attraction for youngsters.

    A video was also showcased at the MBD Mall, highlighting why the Army was among the toughest job.

    Besides, at Curo Mall, a photo exhibition on the topics ‘Sankalp se Siddhi’, the struggle of the Indian Independence, youth power for the development of the country, women’s empowerment, healthy India and Government’s commitment for social justice was also held.

    Lt Gen Dushyant Singh said: “Through such events, a message is passed on to society that progress can only be made if boundaries of a country are safe.”

    He said, “Such programmes increased the close interaction with the public and the young generation get inspiration to join the Army, adding that the country was safe and secure till the Army is present.”

    A special ‘selfie corner’, where small weapons were installed, was the major attraction. A youth, Kamaldeep Singh, donning an Army t-shirt said: “Its being a great honour to be present here today and learning about various equipment as well as life of Army personnel.”

    An information desk was set-up to motivate the youth to join the Army.

    People of all age groups, a large number of NCC cadets and schoolchildren visited the venue.

    Deputy Director of Regional Outreach Bureau Anuj Chandak, Field Outreach Bureau’s Deputy Director Pritam Singh and Assistant Director Sapna, besides other officials, were among those others present.

     


    Badnore gives nod to policy for transfer of society flats Major relief for those living in over 10,000 dwelling units in city

    Badnore gives nod to policy for transfer of society flats

    Chandigarh, September 28

    In a major relief for thousands of people living in over 10,000 flats of group housing societies in the city, Punjab Governor and UT Administrator VP Singh Badnore has approved the new policy for transfer of flats.

    The new policy will allow residents to become owners by getting the conveyance deed executed, which was stopped after the Administration started the process of framing the new policy. The Administration had started the process to review the policy for the transfer of flats six months ago.

    The last transfer policy was announced in 2016. Under the current procedure, the sale/purchase was allowed on the basis of a conveyance deed, which had to be executed on the payment of stamp duty at the prevailing collector rates and after getting a no-objection certificate from the society concerned.

    Sources said the Governor had given relief to residents by giving a one-time relaxation in the proposed unearned profit charges and the subsequent stamp duty. The sources said the Administration would not impose unearned profit charges on those who applied under the scheme in the next one year.

    The Administration is likely to make public the details of the relaxations and other conditions soon. The residents got worried after the unearned profit charges clause was included in the policy.

    The proposal for imposing unearned profit charges was included in the draft policy for transfer of flats. Unearned profit is the difference between the price paid by the original allottee and the market value of the site/building at the time of permission for the transfer. The Administration has proposed to charge 1/3rd of the unearned profit.


    IAF rescues people stranded on Himachal’s higher reaches

    IAF rescues people stranded on Himachal’s higher reaches

    Tribune News Service
    Shimla, September 28

    Six bikers along with 20 tourists who were stranded in Himachal Pradesh were rescued by a Mi-17 V5 helicopter of the IAF.

    The stranded bikers and tourists were picked up from locations near Chhattru and Chhota Dara on the way from Rohtang Pass to Chandrataal near Bara Shigri glacier, who had got stuck there due to heavy snow in the region.

    The rescued bikers included three women hailing from Delhi, Thiruvananthpuram and Rajkot. More people are reported to be holed up at a snowbound location near Chhattru. They will be rescued in subsequent sorties by IAF helicopters later in the day.

    The BRO has opened the Manali-Sarchu road till Km 182. It means Patsio and Zing Zing Bar are connected. The BRO is providing transport to evacuate around 95 people from Patsio to Keylong.

    The work to clear Rohtang Pass and Baralachala Pass from either side are in full swing. Work is also in progress to connect Gramphoo to Chattru.

    On Thursday, 424 people were evacuated from Lahaul-Spiti and taken to Kullu, while 350 were evacuated via the Rohtang tunnel and 74 people airlifted.

    As many as 74 people, including three German nationals, were airlifted from the Baralacha Pass, Sarchu, Satingri, Chhota Dara and Kunzum Pass.

    Seven were rescued from the Rohtang Pass by BRO personnel. They were admitted to the Manali hospital.

    Ten women and three children, spotted in a remote shelter near Chhota Dara, were airlifted. A few men were provided food packets, relief material and medicines. The rescued women and children were brought to Kullu.

    36 students airlifted from Chamba

    36 students airlifted from Chamba

    Students at the Chamba helipad on Thursday. Photo: Balkrishan Prashar

     

    • As many as 36 students of various primary schools and five staff members were airlifted from Chamba by IAF choppers and sent to Pangi on Thursday.   
    • The remaining staff will be sent to Killar (Pangi) on Friday. In an official communiqué, Chamba Deputy Commissioner Harikesh Meena said 365 students of other primary schools of the district had also been sent by 15 buses to Salooni, Sundla, Tissa, Kalhel, Banikhet, Chowari and Sihunta.
    • The students had gone to Holi, the tribal sub-tehsil, to participate in the district-level primary school tournament (U-12).
    • But they could not reach their destination due to inclement weather. OC

     

     


    2 yrs after strikes, terror launch pads still active

    2 yrs after strikes, terror launch pads still active

    Soldiers patrol along the Line of Control fence in the Jammu region. Tribune Photo: Inderjeet Singh

    Amir Karim Tantray

    Tribune News Service

    Poonch, September 27

    Two years after Army commandos carried out surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), the morale of the forces guarding this volatile zone continues to be high.

    Committed to keeping the enemy at bay and not letting it push in armed militants, soldiers of the Army unit (name withheld) manning the Poonch sector are putting their lives at risk to guard the LoC amid all odds.

    From a forward post on an undisclosed location on the LoC in the Poonch sector, the surgical strikes were carried out inside the PoK on September 28-29, 2016. “Initially, when we came here as a frontline battalion, we adopted a tit-for-tat policy. Now, the emphasis is more on punitive action. The commanding officers have more freedom to take action and that is translating into success,” Col Bhupinder Singh, Commanding Officer of the unit, told The Tribune.

    “The commanders on the ground are free to initiate any action if any misadventure is undertaken by the enemy,” he said.

    Besides ceasefire violations by the Pakistan army, the biggest challenge on the LoC remains infiltration, as terror launch pads are still active there. To meet this challenge, the Army is using surveillance devices with advance technology and carries out drills and ambush operations to ensure the area remains safe. Also, patrolling is done to clear the area of all threats, including mines.

    “Infiltration has to be stopped at any cost. Our boys keep a high morale even in the face of harsh weather conditions and tough terrain,” the Colonel added.

     


    15 Corps GOC briefs Guv on security

    15 Corps GOC  briefs Guv on security

    Governor Satya Pal Malik with Lt Gen AK Bhatt, GOC, 15 Corps.

    Tribune News Service

    Srinagar, September 27

    Lt Gen AK Bhatt, General Officer Commanding, 15 Corps, met Governor Satya Pal Malik on Thursday. He briefed him about issues relating to the security situation in the Valley and security arrangements made for the upcoming urban local bodies and panchayat elections. The Governor stressed the importance of maintaining a sustained coordination between the security forces and the civil administration to meet the security challenges in the st

     


    Tributes to soldier killed in Anantnag

    Srinagar, September 28

    The Army on Friday paid befitting tributes to late Sepoy Happy Singh who was killed during a gunfight in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Thursday.

    Local Lashkar-e-Toiba commander Asif Malik was also killed in the gunfight that broke out in the wee hours on Thursday when security forces launched a search operation at Gazi Gund, Dooru in Anantnag.

    In a solemn ceremony at Badamibagh Cantonment, Lt Gen AK Bhatt, commander, Chinar Corps, and all ranks, paid homage to the slain soldier on behalf of a proud nation. J&K DGP Dilbag Singh and representatives from various security agencies also joined in paying their last respects to the soldier. “Sepoy Happy Singh sustained a bullet injury during the gunbattle in Anantnag. He was provided first aid and evacuated to 92 Base Hospital, but unfortunately he succumbed to his injuries,” an Army statement said. — TNS


    Saini is Southern Command head

    New Delhi, September 28

    The government has selected three Lieutenant Generals to hold Army Commander-level ranks. Lt Gen SK Saini will head the Pune-based Southern Command, replacing Lt Gen DR Soni, who superannuates on September 30.

    Lt Gen PS Thimayya will head the Army Training Command (ARTRAC) at Shimla. The incumbent Lt Gen MM Naravane has been appointed the Eastern Army Commander at Kolkata.

    Lt Gen PS Rajeshwar will head the tri-services CISC (Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee). He will replace Lt Gen SK Dua who retires on October 31. — TNS