Muzamil Jaleel The smell of tear gas on the streets of Srinagar, littered with glass shards, stones and smouldering tyres, are testimony to the pitched battles over the controversial transfer of forest land to the Amarnath shrine board. But as passions ran high, stoked mostly by politicians, the local Muslim population worked quietly, organising free langars for the hundreds of pilgrims stranded because of the shutdown

Muzamil Jaleel SRINAGAR, JUNE 29: Ending three weeks of controversy over the transfer of forest land to the Amarnath shrine board, Jammu and Kashmir's new Governor N N Vohra today stepped in and, in his capacity as chairman of the board, asked the state government to take over the Yatra arrangements. The Ghulam Nabi Azad government, reduced to a minority after partner PDP walked out of the coalition, promptly agreed and the board withdrew its request for the transfer of forest land.

The residents of Khrew and Khanmoh in Pampore Tehsil have expressed serious concern over the increasing number of cement manufacturing factories, which they said have become major source of pollution in the area. Demanding that the factories should either be closed down or shifted to some uninhabited areas, the residents maintained that cement plants continue to affect the growth and production of saffron fields and other vegetations badly.

Rejecting opposition from different quarters, Jammu and Kashmir Government finally transferred 39.88 hectares of forest land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) in Sindh Forest Division. Director Public Relations SASB Madan Mantoo today confirmed that the land has been transferred to the board by the government. The State Government has accorded sanction to diversion of forest-land measuring 39.88 hectares falling in Block Kukllan, Range Sindh in the Sindh Forest Division to board, he said

Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Beig today said that government was committed to provide basic amenities to the people especially in the rural and far-flung areas. He claimed "massive development has taken place in all sectors during the last five and half years and people can make feel the difference on ground". Beig was addressing a largely attended public meeting at Kalaroos in Kupwara today.

With heaps of organic, inorganic matter and above all stray dogs in every nook and corner of Srinagar city, people have urged the concerned authorities to restructure functional mechanism, mobilise scavengers in order to keep the city clean and pollution-free. Although the governmental efforts are on to add more and more cosmetic arrangements to turn the valley more attractive and captivating, people believe that such attempts cannot yield positive dividends until and unless the functionaries of SMC do not mobilise their sanitary staff, especially scavengers.

Inability of hospital authorities in Srinagar to handle patients care properly; the hospitals have now come under scanner vis-

Minister for Agriculture and Cooperatives Abdul Aziz Zargar and Minister for Forests Qazi Mohammad Afzal today flagged off a team of 40 progressive farmers including women for tour to outside state. The team would visit Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Uttarakhand to get acquainted with the latest agriculture technology.

Kashmir Valley's power woes including voltage problems may finally end as the Power Grid Corporation has integrated the power-hungry Valley with the rest of country. "Barring four states in the southern region, power can now move from anywhere to Srinagar and vice versa", an official of Power Grid Corporation told KTNS here.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the Government of India to workout a compensatory mechanism for the huge recurring losses being suffered by Jammu & Kashmir because of the discriminatory Indus Water Treaty (IWT) and arbitrary exploitation of the State's water resources by the National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) for power generation.