Srinagar airport to remain dry
Srinagar airport authorities have decided not to open a liquor shop at the city’s airport after receiving strong opposition from civil society groups. The Airport Authorities of India (AAI) had floated a tender for setting up a duty-paid liquor shop at the Srinagar airport. However, following the uproar, J&K’s excise department denied permission for opening a liquor shop at the airport. Subsequently, the AAI cancelled its tender. However, it’s not like that there are no liquor shops in the city. There are a few in uptown Srinagar where youngsters could be seen lined up to purchase a bottle or two. There have been repeated pleas from the area’s residents to close the liquor shops so that the people — especially the younger generation — are saved from this social evil. But since the state government earns revenue from these liquor shops, the demands for closing these shops have been overlooked.
2000 medical aspirants, not a single NEET centre
Not a single National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) centre have been set up in Srinagar leaving the 2000 medical aspirants from Kashmir in a lurch. National Board of Examination, which is conducting NEET in January next year, has set up at least 129 examination centres across the country. However, it has left out Srinagar from its list. This is for the second consecutive year that Kashmir hasn’t been allocated centre. J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti has taken up the issue with minister J P Nadda and urged him to allow an exam centre for MD/MS aspirants from the Valley.
Don’t burn fallen leaves
Now, you can get into trouble if you burn leaves in Srinagar. The smog in parts of north India, including the national capital, has compelled the city municipal corporation to ban the burning of fallen leaves in Srinagar. The ban was imposed by Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) after J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s brother and chief minister’s grievance cell coordinator Tassaduq Mufti advocated for its prohibition. The SMC has issued an advisory which said, “The biomass waste burning is banned under the relevant environmental acts, as it is harmful and illegal and needs to be stopped immediately. The burning of abscised leaves releases large amounts of airborne particulars which includes fine bits of dust, soot, harmful particles and toxic gases aggravating air pollution. The incessant burning of leaves also leads to the formation of smog which affects general visibility.” The advisory also warned of action against people found burning fallen leaves and twigs. The CM’s Grievance cell has already issued a notice to a senior CRPF officer for the very same.
The money-minting schools of Srinagar
Srinagar’s schools have a new name. They are being described as “profit-making” and “money-minting” machines. Why? This is because of reputed schools in the Valley charge anywhere between Rs 50,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh for admission into Nursery and KG classes. If that’s not enough, parents of the children have to pay the entire sum in a single instalment. Apart from this, there is the monthly fee which ranges from Rs 3,500 - Rs 7,000. The schools also charge other miscellaneous charges from the students in winters. Surprisingly, some of the institutions, who charge such a high admission and monthly fee, are established on state government-leased land.