The 7.5-magnitude earthquake, which the Indian Meteorological Department described as great in intensity, had a marginal effect on the life and property in the Kashmir valley. While three persons, including
An ex gratia of Rs 7 lakh was distributed among the next of kin of seven persons who died of avalanches triggered due to heavy snowfall in Anantnag district. The legal heirs of six persons from Palhalan in the Kapran area and one person of Gulab Bagh, Dooru, who died due to snow avalanches were paid Rs 1 lakh each at Anantnag yesterday. The cheques were disbursed to the kith and kin at the district headquarters, District Development Commissioner, G.A. Peer said. The disbursement of the relief coincided with the visit of UPA chairperson and Congress president, Sonia Gandhi to review the situation arisen due to the heavy snowfall in the region earlier this month. Gandhi accompanied by the union Home Minister visited snow-affected areas of Doda and Kishtwar districts yesterday and reviewed the situation in Kashmir division with senior officers here. Her planned aerial survey of the affected areas in South Kashmir districts of Anantnag and Kulgam had been delayed due to bad weather conditions in the area. She, however, reviewed the situation accompanied by the Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil at the airport before returning to New Delhi this evening. Sonia Gandhi arrived at the technical airport here where she was received by Union Minister for Water Resources and President JKPCC, Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz, Chief Secretary B. R. Kundal, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Mehboob Iqbal and other senior civil and police officers. She was accompanied by Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Joint Secretary, Home Affairs and other dignitaries. The DC gave presentation listing the detail of damage caused to infrastructure in power, roads and buildings and public health and engineering sectors due to the snowfall. She was informed that the state needed huge financial support for procuring new snow-cutter machines to be able to promptly respond to such exigencies in future. It was revealed that as of now the mechanical engineering department had only four snow cutters and 38 snow-clearance machines. The state might also need additional resources to manage the floods, which were imminent when the snow melts, for providing potable drinking water to the people living in inaccessible areas.
From pugmarks to high-tech equipment like satellite imagery and camera-traps. That's how census on wild animals in Jammu and Kashmir is graduating. Come March, and the state Government will undertake two scientific censuses on three wild animals: the highly-endangered hangul, also called the Kashmir stag, the common leopard and the Asiatic black bear, also known as Himalayan black bear. To be conducted in collaboration with the Central Government, the censuses will also get expert help from the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. J&K Chief Wildlife Warden A K Srivastava says, "While one census will be on the endangered hangul, found only in Kashmir, the other will focus on the common leopard and the Asiatic black bear.' The Kashmir stag census will be utilised to protect the endangered animal, and the other will be used to deal with the increasing incidents of the man-animal conflicts in the state. Srivastava says the earlier censuses conducted by the state Government were not accurate as these were carried out "on the basis of their pugmarks'. "But the new censuses will be carried out, using the most high-tech equipment like satellite imagery and camera-traps,' he adds. Cameras will be put on trees in the forest areas, which will trap the movement of wild animals, recording their actual number with the help of satellite imagery. The Centre has agreed in principle to fund the census projects. "In Jammu, experts from the Wildlife Institute of India will hold a three-day training workshop for divisional forest officers and range officers of the state forest and wildlife departments,' adds Srivastava. While the hangul is not harmful, the other two have caused man-animal conflicts in the state over the past two years, killing over three dozen and injuring more than 200 people. While the hangul census will mainly focus on the Kashmir valley, the other one will cover various areas