Qualified Haj aspirants of 2020 should be deemed as selected for next Haj pilgrimage: Altaf Bukhari

JK News Today 
SRINAGAR, June 23: Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) president Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Tuesday said the restrictions imposed on Haj pilgrimage this year in view of COVID-19 are deeply disappointing.
He, however, demanded that the Haj Committee of India should not refund Haj fee to the already selected Haj pilgrims of J&K and instead should allow them to embark on a holy journey next year on the already submitted applications.
“JKAP expresses solidarity with all those qualified Haj aspirants who were waiting to embark on this holy pilgrimage this year but could not visit holy sites because of the COVID pandemic. Haj Committee of India should at least provide some sigh of relief to the selected Haj aspirants who are in a state of despair because of cancellation of Haj pilgrimage this year,” Bukhari observed.   
He said the Haj pilgrimage has always been about emotions and spirituality and not about money. “The Haj committee should at least give an opportunity to the selected Haj aspirants of this year who could not perform their obligatory ritual because of the natural crisis. Natural justice demands that this year’s qualified aspirants are deemed as selected for next year Haj pilgrimage, if no other exigency warrants the otherwise,” Bukhari remarked.
The JKAP president said that limiting the number of Haj pilgrims had become inevitable in view of the Coronavirus outbreak and huge fatalities caused by this deadly disease across the world.  
Bukhari said the decision taken by Saudi kingdom is likely to ensure Hajj is performed in a safe manner from a public health perspective while observing all preventative measures. “Going by this contours of this decision, I, think it had become predictable for implementation of necessary social distancing protocols to protect human beings from the risks associated with this pandemic and in accordance with the teachings of Islam in preserving the lives of human beings,” the JKAP president averred.  
“This is for the first time in modern history that Muslims outside the Saudi Arabia have been barred from performing Hajj this year. We should seek forgiveness from Almighty Allah and go for repentance so that no further obstacles come in the way of the Hajj aspirants next year,” Bukhari remarked. 

Clear liabilities accrued on material component, wages under NREGA: JKAP
Work on Adijan-D.H Pora moving at snail’s pace: Ab. Majeed Padroo
SRINAGAR, June 23: Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) leader and former minister Abdul Majeed Padroo on Tuesday urged the government to clear liabilities affecting thousands of hapless workers, contractors and private parties who have executed allotted works under MG-NREGA scheme across J&K.  
In a statement issued here, Padroo observed that the government has badly failed in the last over four years to clear liabilities raised against wages of the labour class and the material used in various development works under national rural employment guarantee scheme.
“This scheme guarantees employment besides an improvement in developmental index in rural areas. However, the liability on account of material supplied by various agencies, private parties and payments of wages to the labour class, pending for the last about four years seems to be defeating the purpose of this scheme on the ground,” the JKAP leader remarked.
Padroo said that thousands of poor and hapless workers besides private agencies, traders and contractors are suffering because of the delay in disbursement of their long pending payments. “Before focusing on new works under MG-NREGA the government must clear all pending liabilities mainly on account of material components under this scheme,” he demanded.  
The JKAP leader asked the rural development department not to utilize the money released against the liabilities on execution of new works which is otherwise bound to create further mess on the ground.
Referring to the guidelines of the Union Ministry of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Padroo said that the labourers engaged on various works under MGNREGA in Panchayats, Blocks must get their wages maximum by 14 days and also there should be no such huge liabilities on account of material component used for the allotted works under this scheme.
Meanwhile, the JKAP leader urged the government to get the work on the bridge connecting Adijan with Damhal Hanjipora allotted under the CRF scheme expedited by the executing agency. “It is most unfortunate that the work on this bridge started around three years ago but the same is yet to be completed leaving people of the area high and dry,” Padroo remarked.
He appealed to Lieutenant Governor G.C Murmu to order immediate completion of this bridge so that hundreds of villages situated on adjacent sides of the bridge are not put to any further inconvenience. “This bridge was supposed to be completed in two years. But unfortunately the executing agency is working at snail’s pace and if the work is not expedited, I think the bridge will not be ready for vehicular movement in near future,” Padroo opined.