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Jammu and Kashmir has been expecting fresh boost to tourism and industrial investments from abroad with participation of a high-level delegation of the Union Territory officers in London conclave from December 8-12.
The industrial investments are around Rs 60,000 crore in Jammu and Kashmir after the launch of new Industrial Investments Policy while number of the tourists visiting the Union Territory including the Kashmir valley has also touched all-time high.
Official sources told the Excelsior that the Institute of Directors (IoD), a top level international body, will be involved in five days tourism and industrial promotional programme at London. The Jammu and Kashmir delegation will be led by Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta and comprised Principal Secretary Industry and Commerce Prashant Goyal and Tourism Secretary Sarmad Hafeez.
“It is a major international platform where Jammu and Kashmir will promote tourism and industrial development opportunities in the Union Territory,” the sources said, adding that the visit is expected to be very successful going by the response already being received from abroad.
Number of tourists visiting Jammu and Kashmir including the Valley has touched new highs, which has also found mention in the speeches of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha. And, the numbers continue to go up.
Besides domestic tourists, Jammu and Kashmir has also received tourists from abroad.
Jammu and Kashmir got encouraging response from Dubai in industrial investments after visit of the Lieutenant Governor to the Gulf. Several top Industrialists have assured investments in the Union Territory and signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with the administration.
The groundbreaking ceremony of Rs 38,080 crore worth private investment proposals in Jammu and Kashmir was performed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 24 this year. However, total proposals for investments received by J&K Government were close to Rs 60,000 crore.
But the Government has exhausted Land Bank by allotting land to the investors whose groundbreaking ceremony has already been performed by the Prime Minister.
The Government has now acquired new land for creation of Land Bank after completion of all formalities.
The private investment proposals, which are pending before the Government, will be cleared after development of Land Bank.
The Government has also approved setting up of 22 Medi-Cities in Jammu and Kashmir at the cost of Rs 4400 crore.
“The Medi-Cities will include private hospitals, Medical Colleges etc,” the sources said, adding that with this the MBBS seats in Jammu and Kashmir will go up by 900.
Sources said the Government is anticipating private investments in Jammu and Kashmir to further go up once the pending proposals are cleared.
Some proposals for development of private Industrial Estates have also been received by the Industries Department from Samba and Kathua districts while many more are in the pipeline. Response to develop ‘Private Land Banks’ for industrial development has been very encouraging,” sources said.
Officials expressed confidence that with development of ‘Private Land Bank’, the Government will be in a position to accommodate more private investments in Jammu and Kashmir as there were reports that investments might touch Rs 75,000 crore shortly as many corporate houses are in touch with the administration for investing in different sectors in the Union Territory.

Amsterdam [Netherlands], November 4 (ANI):

Pakistan continues to be responsible for the terrorism and radicalization in Jammu and Kashmir, experts and the Kashmiri diaspora said during European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS) Conference at Vrije Universiteit University in Amsterdam.

In the two-day conference on ‘Terrorism and Radicalization in Jammu and Kashmir and the wider region,’ various experts and Kashmiri diaspora said that Pakistan in the name of jihad had continued its activities in Jammu and Kashmir which prompted radicalization and terrorism in the Union territories, according to the press statement released by the EFSAS.

On the first day of the conference, Myra MacDonald, author of books on contemporary South Asian security and Former Reuters bureau chief for India, initially outlined that cultural narratives surrounding Jammu and Kashmir prior to the partition of British India in 1947 were frequently focused on Jammu and Kashmir as a physical space rather than emphasizing the idiosyncratic cultural identity of the region.

She further said that modern Jammu and Kashmir emerged as a result of the 1846 Treaty of Amritsar and has played a key role in the national imageries of both Pakistan and India. Pakistan, MacDonald discussed, has been founded on the notion of Pakistan being the sole homeland for Indian Muslims, with this religious narrative serving as the base for Pakistan’s claim to Jammu and Kashmir. India’s claim, in contrast, is based on the signed instrument of accession and secularism, providing the Indian claim with a less ideological narrative when compared to Pakistan, but with a sound legal foundation. This ideological fixation, she suggested, has resulted in the Pakistani Army dominating domestic politics and preventing democratization in the long run, forming a form of political-ideological prison.

She also stressed the early stages of the insurgency in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir and said that this was marked by human rights violations by both Pakistan-backed outfits and Indian security forces, with the insurgency enjoying little backing in the population, the statement reads.

MacDonald narrated that the highest possibilities for conflict resolution were witnessed under Manmohan Singh and Pervez Musharraf in the 2000s. Singh and his predecessor, Prime Minister Vajpayee, had started promising talks with Pakistani envoys that included an agreement on the legal transfer of territory, the LOC becoming an international border, and the permission for cross-border flows of people and goods. Maximum autonomy would be given to respectively held areas and frequent discussions would be held between Pakistani, Indian, and Kashmiri representatives. The negotiations ultimately failed due to Musharraf’s removal, the lack of public support in Pakistan for the agreement, and the 2008 Mumbai attacks carried out by Pakistani-sponsored Terrorist organizations. The attacks, she stressed, were so impactful because they targeted ordinary Indians rather than security infrastructure.

Since then, MacDonald concluded, Jammu and Kashmir have become even more fragmented. The revocation of Article 370 in India in 2019 has effectively rendered the division of the state a fait accompli, meaning that any conflict resolution can no longer focus on Jammu and Kashmir in its original borders. Resolutions could focus on establishing the LOC as an international border, formalizing the end of Jammu and Kashmir, the statement added.

The last speaker for the day, Daud Khattak, Managing Editor of Mashaal Radio, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, discussed the ongoing terrorism and proliferation of extremist outfits in South Asia. He discussed how the contemporary issues of radicalization and terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir could be traced back to the use of proxies and the support for Kashmiri insurgents in the name of jihad by Pakistan. While Pakistani meddling in Jammu and Kashmir continues till the present day, the deep state has shifted its proxies from the tribal areas to Punjab, Khattak argued. Thus, the militancy started in the 1990s is composed of non-Kashmiri jihadists, such as Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, including Afghans and people who had previously fought in Afghanistan, such as members of the Haqqani tribe.

He further said that after the 9/11 incident, terrorist groups active in Kashmir increased their presence in the Pashtun tribal areas, ultimately also leading to the emergence of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. While Internal instability and international pressure seem to have limited the scope of Pakistani support for terror groups at the moment, its continuous assistance is visible through the protectionism they have extended to terrorist commanders. Despite being arrested and charged, Hafiz Saeed is still moving within Pakistan. Similarly, Masood Azhar is also hiding in the country despite contrary information in the media, Khattak added. He argued that other regional dynamics such as the building of the CPEC, the ongoing Baloch insurgency, the presence of organized crime groups and relations with Iran and the Central Asian States might bring further changes in Pakistan. Yet, when it comes to the Pakistani policy vis-a-vis terrorism and Kashmir, Khattak concluded by warning that ‘the dragon is fragile and sleepy but away from dead, and could wake up anytime, according to the statement.

On the second day of the conference, the panel include Kashmiris from both sides of the Line of Control (LoC).

Inspired by the university setting and the potential of students to shape the future, Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, Exiled Chairman of the United Kashmir Peoples National Party and Secretary General of Jammu Kashmir International People`s Alliance, spoke highly of the benefits of democracy. Kashmiri was adamant about the necessity of democracy to recognize people as inherently valuable despite any conflicting ideological or identity-related markers. Seeing the use of terrorism in his own home state of Jammu and Kashmir as both a foreign and domestic policy by the State of Pakistan, Kashmiri recounted the Pakistani military recruiting students to disseminate State propaganda and recruit other students to join so-called ‘Jihad’ in Jammu and Kashmir. Thus, Kashmiri claimed that it is the duty of the students to investigate and protest against injustice. The distortion of history by populist politicians and war-mongers is insensitive to those it harms and as such requires direct action.

He called for Pakistan to stop facilitating terrorism both within and beyond its borders, for it to recognize each citizen as human beings regardless of their ideological differences and for the international community to hold States like Pakistan accountable for their actions.

The final speaker, Junaid Qureshi, highlighted the privilege that comes with living in Europe. Qureshi, who is the director of EFSAS and is himself a Kashmiri, queried if the Jammu and Kashmir issue would still be as contentious as it is today had it taken place in closer proximity to Europe, like the war in Ukraine. A key element of Qureshi’s speech was his push for narrative change within the region which outlined the responsibility of individuals to accumulate knowledge and determine the truth for themselves. Emblematic of this is the radicalization process within the region, although the solution for this is collective as opposed to individualistic. Despite the issues of the region, Qureshi is emphatic that future peace is possible – as evidenced by the past century of conflict within the EU and now peaceful present. Ultimately, Qureshi struck a note of hope for the future if the necessary mechanisms of accountability and truth-verifying processes can be established.

On both days the events were followed by vibrant Question and Answer sessions with the students, who were avid to learn more about the issues the region of South Asia faces and how they themselves could get involved in finding fresh tangible solutions to those weary years of conflict.

Two Day EFSAS Conference at Vrije Universiteit (VU) University in Amsterdam started on November 1 and ended on the very next day.

Source: ANI

On Oct 18, two non-local labourers from Bihar were killed in a grenade attack in Harmain area of Shopian. Grenade was hurled towards rented accomodation of Manish Kumar and Ram Sagar resulting in their death. The terrorist Imran Bashir Ganie, responsible for the terror attack was apprehended within span of hours, having an affiliation with the LeT Terror run .
KRF strongly Condemns the terror attack on innocent, unarmed labourers. Kashmiri civil society ought to stand out and throw open and collective condemnation regarding such mindless attacks.

15 Oct 2022, Armed terrorists attacked on a Kashmiri Pandit leaving him injured in Choudry Gund area in South Kashmir’s Shopian district. He was immediately shifted to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Pooran Krishan Bhat an innocent civilian ( minority) was attacked by the terrorists when he was in the lawn of his residential house.
These targeted killings by the terrorists since last few months are aimed to create panic,instability and destroy peace in the valley.
This new tactic, and dastardly activity by the terrorist is preposterous. KRF condemns the act of violence in strong words and stand united with the Kashmiri pandit family in hour of grief.

The incident takes place in Goushbugh in Pattan area of the north Kashmir district. A non-local bank manager escaped unhurt after terrorists fired at him in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday, officials said.The incident took place in Goushbugh in Pattan area of the north Kashmir district, they said. Further details are awaited.

Terrorists fired upon joint naka party of CRPF & Police at Pinglana, Pulwama. In this terror attack, 01 Police personnel got killed & 01 CRPF personnel got injured. Reinforcement sent. Area being cordoned. Further details shall follow.

E-rickshaws were introduced for the first time in Kashmir Valley. The chargeable battery-driven auto-rickshaws ply from Gawkadal to Bohri Kadal area of Downtown Srinagar. Ease of commute has been the overstated benefit of these newbies on roads. Popular opinions say, the more the merrier, given that such public transport can reduce traffic jams, help decongest public transport and make navigating in peak hours very easy. However, the most important element of its introduction in the valley has to be its potential to mitigate air pollution. In the face of an impending global climate crisis, e-rickshaws in the valley need to be seen as more than just another vehicle on the streets.

Understanding the science behind it is going to facilitate our appreciation of it as :

When carbon-based fuels are burned, incomplete combustion causes the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other pollutants, including particulate matter (PM) (aerosols), which include particles that can cool or heat the Earth’s climate by reflecting or absorbing the radiation of the sun. A particular type of PM, black carbon (BC), survives relatively for a short period (one week) in the atmosphere but absorbs vast amounts of solar radiation. Solid fuel burning, especially indoors, and high-emitting diesel engines, emit high levels of BC which contributes to climate warming.

The high levels of BC pollution in urban air in developing countries are also attributed to polluting industries and the operation of older vehicles. Global temperatures are estimated to have been excessively warmed by more than 15% due to it. Evidence from modelling studies suggests that climate change is likely to increase ozone concentrations, a major cause of respiratory illnesses in urban areas. To protect current and future generations from the health effects of fossil fuel burning, it is essential to reduce emissions as quickly as possible.

Researchers say combining policies that address local air pollution and global climate change will provide enhanced climate change mitigation benefits. Medium-term efforts to control air pollution will provide additional benefits to long-term strategies that aim to curb climate change. Short-term reductions in BC can potentially delay the impact of global warming by approximately 10 years, allowing researchers and policymakers to do more research and step up their efforts. As far as vehicle interventions go, reducing emissions from super-emitting diesel trucks and buses is the most attractive option.

Health Impacts
Poor air quality is causing people to become ill and die prematurely, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Air pollution is linked to an estimated 4.2 million premature deaths a year, according to the World Health Organization. When indoor air quality is considered, that number rises by an estimated 2.9 to 4.3 million deaths a year, according to The Lancet Commission.

High PM2.5 concentrations, particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns, are a significant health risk in densely populated urban areas in most low- and middle-income countries. It has been linked to both acute and short-term illnesses, and increased rates of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, asthma, pneumonia, and other health problems over time. PM2.5, which is largely caused by carbon burning and exudes from power plant smokestacks, vehicle exhaust systems, and open fires, was identified as the sixth highest risk factor for death worldwide in a 2018 report by the Health Effects Institute (HEI) and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

In addition, as a growing body of evidence indicates, COVID-19 patients may experience worse outcomes from long-term exposure to air pollution. During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Public Health Alliance reported that cities with higher levels of air pollution also had higher mortality rates with more severe symptoms among COVID-19 patients.

Air pollution linked with cognitive decline and dementia

As per the opinion (a 25 July 2022 report) from the authoritative Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP), science advisers to the UK government, have said for the first time that dementia and a declining mental ability in older people around the world may be caused by air pollution.

As a result of reviewing nearly 70 studies, the group concluded there was an association between exposure to air pollutants and “an acceleration of the decline in cognitive function often associated with ageing, and with the risk of developing dementia.”

Due to a scarcity of investigative studies, the committee wasn’t able to estimate how many older people had proven to have mental decline following exposure to air pollution. However, according to a 2018 study of Londoners, air pollution may be responsible for roughly 60,000 of the 209,600 new cases of dementia in the UK every year.

Acid Rain

The formation of acid rain is caused by elevated levels of sulphur and nitric acids in the atmosphere due to emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxides (SO2). Water molecules in the atmosphere combine with Sulphur dioxide and Nitrogen oxides, emitted from industries and vehicles, leading to the formation of mild sulfuric and nitric acids which fall back on land as acid rain.

In highly industrialized areas and urban areas with high car traffic, factories and automobiles emit high levels of gaseous emissions every day. As a result, these areas experience exceedingly high amounts of acid rain.

Acid rain is very harmful to agriculture, plants, and animals. It washes away all nutrients which are required for the growth and survival of plants. It causes respiratory issues in animals and humans. Aquatic ecosystems are adversely affected by acid rain that falls into rivers and ponds. It damages the buildings and monuments made up of stones and metals.

Situation in Jammu and Kashmir

Despite Srinagar’s reputation for pristine environments, scientists from the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and the University of Kashmir found that air quality declines drastically during the winter in Srinagar.

As per Times of India, Shakil Ahmad Romshoo, Former Head of the Department of Earth Sciences at Kashmir University, now Vice-Chancellor at IUST Awantipora, and one of the authors of the study said, “The number of cars on the roads needs to be decreased to check the emission of fossil fuels. Every year, Jammu Kashmir adds up to 1.5 lakh vehicles. We are forced to use our own vehicles because of the lack of a very efficient transport system.”

In 2018, according to the figures for 2016, Srinagar’s air was declared the 10th most polluted in the world by the World Health Organization.

“From November onwards, we tend to have air quality issues. Air quality remains largely within permissible limits during summer and spring, but during autumn and winter, it’s very polluted. During the cold months, our air is only clean when we have precipitation episodes (rain or snow). At this time, breathing Srinagar’s air is equal to smoking 40 cigarettes a day,” Mudasir Ahmad Bhat, an environmental scientist, and researcher based at the University of Kashmir said in a conversation with Rising Kashmir.

As per ‘Preliminary Study on Air Quality of Srinagar, (Jammu Kashmir), India’ by Mehvish Sheikh & Ishtiyaq Ahmed Naja, published in June 2018, there is a higher concentration of NO2 at Lal chowk which is a commercial area and vehicular emission could be one of the reasons for a higher value of NO2.

The concentration of NO2 varied from 17.97µg/m3 during November to a maximum of 19.01µg/m3 during January, which is clearly higher than the permissible limit of 10 µg/m3.

The current WHO guideline value of 10 µg/m3 (annual mean) was set to protect the public from the health effects of gaseous nitrogen dioxide.

As per another study ‘Winter Burst of Pristine Kashmir Valley Air’ by Zainab Q. Hakim, Gufran Beig, Srinivas Reka, Shakil A. Romshoo & Irfan Rashid, published in February 2018, indicates that the air quality of Srinagar deteriorates significantly, particularly during winter, where the level of PM2.5 touches a peak value of 348 μg/m³ against the Indian permissible limit of 60 μg/m³.

It revealed that the annual PM2.5 emissions are highest from coal burning which is around 1246.5 tons/year followed by the emissions from vehicular combustion which is 220.5 tons/year, and the least are the emissions from fuel wood burning which is around 8.06 tons/year.

A recent study on the effect of vehicular pollution on the ambient concentrations of particulate matter and carbon dioxide in Srinagar City, by Nikhil Savio, Farooq Ahmad Lone, Javeed Iqbal Ahmad Bhat, Nayar Afaq Kirmani and Nageena Nazir, published in April 2022, revealed that throughout the year from June 2019 to May 2020, CO2 concentration was seen to be increasing in Srinagar city.

On a monthly basis, the maximum average concentration of CO2 was found during December and Shalimar recorded the highest carbon dioxide value of 637.57 ppm.

The recorded maximum average values at other locations were 622.33 ppm, 614.40 ppm, 592.23 ppm and 579.33 ppm at Jehangir Chowk, Dalgate, Parimpora and Pantha Chowk, respectively.

On the other hand, the maximum average concentration in spring reached 626.86 ppm in Jehangir Chowk and the minimum average for the same season was recorded in Shalimar (592.06 ppm). The average value of all the sites during the spring season was 609.29 ppm.

This is clearly higher than the global average atmospheric carbon dioxide, 414.72 ppm recorded in 2021 based on analysis from NOAA’s Global Monitoring Lab.

In the face of climate change and air pollution, e-transport is a promising answer

The experts suggest various solutions that can help reduce the concentration of particulate matter (pollutants) in the air, including proper road macadamization, dumping of agricultural waste, and using clean energy sources instead of coal and wood. Additionally, scientists recommend regulating fuel adulteration by petrol pump owners and introducing cleaner alternatives like CNG and battery-powered vehicles.

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) released a paper in April 2018 on the pollution caused by autos. According to it, approximately 1200 tonnes of carbon dioxide, 4 tonnes of NOx and 0.5 tonnes of PM10 are emitted from the total fleet of auto rickshaws plying in the city of Bengaluru per day, and auto rickshaws contribute to 0.44 million tonnes of carbon emissions per year. Switching to electric autos could result in a reduction of carbon emissions by 0.11 million tonnes per year, PM10 emissions by 114.5 million tonnes per year, and NOx emissions by 37.6 million tonnes per year.

A rickshaw powered by electricity requires little maintenance and is cheaper to operate than one powered by petrol or compressed natural gas. In North India, where deteriorating air quality levels have rendered urban areas uninhabitable, the emission-free e-rickshaw is being hailed as the humble agent of change for a cleaner, less fossil fuel-dependent future.

While e-rickshaws are behind the auto-rickshaws from a technological standpoint, they are more energy-efficient and less polluting. The use of e-rickshaws could reduce the consumption of fuel oil for passenger transportation, which is both economically and environmentally beneficial.

People in Kashmir have suffered various times when there has been a shortage of petrol and diesel in the Valley. Had there been e-rickshaws, people would have been less dependent on fossil fuels.

Electric buses eliminate both CO2 and black carbon emissions, so switching from local buses to soot-free vehicles can be an effective carbon reduction strategy. As per a Forbes report, Shenzhen, China, has switched to an electric bus fleet and now has over 16,000 electric buses and 22,000 Electric Taxis, reducing not only pollution but also noise. The other report suggests the switch from diesel buses to electric is expected to achieve an estimated reduction in CO2 emissions of 48% and reductions in pollutants, including particulate matter.

The Top Five most effective interventions that improve both health, by reducing PM2.5, and climate, by reducing carbon dioxide emissions, according to the report, Air Pollution Interventions: Seeking the Intersection Between Climate and Health, are:

1) Replacing coal with renewable sources of energy for total power production;

2) Replacing diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles with electric vehicles in both the public and private sector;

3) Eliminating uncontrolled diesel emissions;

4) Preventing crop burning; and

5) Preventing forest fires.

I recently talked to an e-rickshaw owner in Lucknow who claimed the cost of the vehicle to be around 1.5 lakh, which on a single full charge of 7-8 hrs, covered a distance of 80 – 100kms. His monthly earnings were about 10 thousand. The vehicle had a maximum speed of 30kms per hour.

There is a need to increase the number of e-rickshaws already introduced in J&K earlier this year across Jammu and Kashmir. However, E-rickshaws’ low speed can add to traffic jams in the already congested cities of Jammu and Srinagar. So, proper planning is required to ensure hassle-free movement of vehicles and at the same time shift to these eco-friendly vehicles.

The bottom line remains that electric cars, trains, buses, and rickshaws are essential for achieving cleaner air in urban centres and can contribute to the mitigation of climate change as well. They’re ultra-efficient and emit no exhaust. Also, It will require clean electricity to power them.

Courtesy : Faizan Arif

On Sep 02, in an act of violence, a non-local labourer was shot and injured in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district. The victim Muneeb-ur-Rehman is a resident of West Bengal. The incident was carried out in Ugergund village of Pulwama. Terrorists indiscriminately fired upon the innocent labourer, resulting in his injuries, after which he was shifted to district hospital Pulwama where his condition is stated to be stable. KRF highly condemns the attack of terror on naive labourer, who toil hard to earn their livelihood far apart from their home.


On Aug 16, a minor community member was shot dead, while his brother was injured in Hotigam area of Shopian district. In an ugly act of terror, terrorists fired upon two innocent Pandit brothers – Sunil Kumar and Pintu Kumar in Chotigam area, resulting in the on-spot death of Sunil, and severe injuries to Pintoo, after which he was shifted to the hospital for treatment.
This is second such the attack on a minority community member in the last 24 hours in the Kashmir valley. On Monday late evening a minority community member was injured after terrorists hurled a grenade in Gopaalpora village of Budgam district. KRF condemns the act of violence in the strongest words. These deplorable acts are a result of sponsored terrorism, and our security forces shall meet them with their fate very soon.


On 15 Aug, terrorists hurled a grenade in Gopalpora Chadoora area of Budgam in which one civilian namely Karan Kumar Singh (Rajput) got injured. He was immediately shifted to Srinagar hospital for treatment where his condition is stable. KRF denounces the assault on human rights in Kashmir.