Situation returning to normal: Govt

Government spokesman Rohit Kansal along with other officials addressing a press conference in Srinagar on Thursday. -Excelsior/Shakeel
Government spokesman Rohit Kansal along with other officials addressing a press conference in Srinagar on Thursday. -Excelsior/Shakeel

Curbs lifted from most areas

Excelsior Correspondent/PTI
SRINAGAR, Sept 12: Normal life remained affected in Kashmir as the stalemate following abrogation of Article 370 entered its 39th day today with schools closed and public transport off the roads, officials said.
Restrictions on the movement or assembly of people have been lifted from most areas of the Valley, but security forces continued to be deployed to maintain law and order, the officials said.
They said the authorities were also considering easing out restrictions on mobile communications and restoring voice call services.
While landlines across the valley were functional, voice calls on mobile devices were working only in Kupwara and Handwara areas of North Kashmir.
The officials said some areas in Srinagar witnessed an increased movement of private transport, while few autorickshaws were also seen plying in some areas of the city.
However, normal life remained severely affected across the Valley due to shutdown which entered 39th day today, the officials said.
Markets and other business establishments remained closed, while public transport was off the roads across the Valley, they added.
Internet services remained suspended across all platforms, the officials said.
The efforts of the State Government to open schools have not borne any fruit as parents continued to keep children at home due to apprehensions about their safety.
Meanwhile, Government today said the situation in the Valley was fast returning towards normalcy but a decision on easing the communication blockade will be taken after factoring in various aspects including provocation by Pakistan.
“The movement of traffic has increased manifold as you can see … The situation is fast returning towards normalcy,” government spokesman Rohit Kansal told reporters here.
He said restrictions have been removed from almost all areas and the situation in the Valley was by and large peaceful.
“We have had 187 law and order incidents since August 5 with 165 of these reported from Srinagar district alone. There was an increase in law-and- order incidents from August 5 to August 16 but after that there has been a constant decline,” he added.
Kansal said while landlines have been restored across the Valley, considerable number of mobile phones have been made functional in Kupwara and Handwara areas of Kashmir.
“There continues to be tremendous provocation from across the border.
Any decision on restoring mobile services will have to factor it in also,” he said.
Asked about the inconvenience faced by students in applying for competitive examinations, he said the administration is aware of the situation and has set up internet kiosks at all 12 district headquarters for facilitating the public.
“We will continue to facilitate them as and when needed,” he said.
In response to a question, Kansal said the law-enforcing agencies have taken note of incidents where militants and anti-national elements were threatening the shopkeepers.
“Action will be taken to ensure that no one is harassed on this count,” he added.
Government today also announced first ever Support Price Based Procurement System for apple growers of Kashmir aimed at benefitting more than 3 million farmers.
Elaborating on the scheme, Kansal said that the scheme has been launched taking note of the concerns of apple growers regarding rates and transportation of apple produce. He further said there will be no compulsion on farmers to sell their produce under this arrangement. The rates would be to incentivize their sales and the scheme would leave no scope for distress sale of the produce by growers.
Kansal said the money will be transferred to the farmers through Direct Benefit Transfer within three working days. He added that Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir and his team of Deputy Commissioners are constantly monitoring the process.
He informed that four collection centers have been identified by the Government at Fruit Mandi Parimpora, Sopore, Shopian and Botengoo for procurement of apples from the apple growers under the scheme.
The Principal Secretary also said that the Government has identified 85 welfare schemes of different kinds cutting across different departments which are individual beneficiary oriented like scholarships, pensions, housing for rural and urban etc for the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and without any budgetary allocation limits all eligible beneficiaries are to be covered under these schemes.
On the law and order situation, the spokesman informed that restrictions have been lifted from all areas whileas traffic movement on roads has increased manifold.
Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan, IGP Kashmir, S P Pani, Director Information and Public Relations Dr. Syed Sehrish Asgar and Director Horticulture, Kashmir Ajaz Ahmad Bhat were also present during the presser.