Government urges people ‘not to pay heed to rumours’

Jammu: The Government on Sunday urged people not to pay heed to rumours and get panicky on the basis of unsubstantiated and exaggerated pieces of information which are in circulation.

“During the past few days several rumours are in circulation and panic messages are being disseminated and most of these have been based on unsubstantiated or exaggerated pieces of information,” Principal Secretary, Planning, Development & Monitoring, Rohit Kansal said at a presser in Media Complex here this evening.

He was flanked by Principal Secretary, Housing & Urban Development and Principal Resident Commissioner, Dheeraj Gupta, Commissioner Secretary Higher Education, Sarita Chauhan and District Development Commissioner Jammu, Ramesh Kumar.

Kansal, who has been designated Official Spokesman by the State Government, said unfortunately some political parties and organizations too chose to react to these rumours thereby triggering further panic.

“My first appeal to everyone is not to pay any heed to rumours, avoid fear mongering and not to exaggerate matters,” he emphasized.

Kansal said there has been lot of concern about the safety and security of residents of Jammu and Kashmir particularly students residing or studying in other parts of the country. “In the wake of the recent tragic incident at Pulwama, there were reports of alleged harassment of residents and students from J&K. There have been media reports of and allegations regarding targeting of students and traders from the state and also complaints about some landlords asking their respective tenant students to vacate their rented accommodation resulting in a sense of insecurity and fear in the students,” he said and reiterated that the state government has been taking all necessary steps to ensure the safety and security of residents of the state residing or working in other parts of the country and shall proactively continue to do so.

The Government of Jammu and Kashmir, he said, has, as early as 20th November 2018, nominated 7 Liaison Officers across the country to interact, coordinate with and assist over 20000 students of the State pursuing education in different parts of the country. “These LOs were nominated for Delhi NCR-Meerut, Jaipur-Bhopal, Chandigarh, Aligarh, Bengaluru, Chennai and Pune for the benefit of students studying in and around these areas,” he said and added that these Liaison Officers were already in touch with the students in the cities earmarked for them even before the occurrence of the Pulwama incident. “Following the Pulwama incident, they were further activated and asked to coordinate with the respective college authorities and local administration. A 24×7 helpline was set up at the office of the Resident Commissioner in Delhi to coordinate the efforts of the LOs and to provide information and guidance.

In addition, Kansal said, the office of the Resident Commissioner at Delhi made arrangements to accommodate students/other persons in distress, at Kissan Ghar, Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi and to facilitate their safe transit to J&K as per requirement. “A similar helpline was established in the office of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, as well as in respective district headquarters of Kashmir Division,” he said.

Kansal said that in the three main regions alone including Delhi NCR-Western UP, Punjab-Haryana-Chandigarh and Jaipur-Bhopal region, over a thousand interactions were handled and coordinated with college managements and local civil and police authorities. “The state and its LOs have worked closely with the students as well as authorities in other states to handle students’ concerns across the country,” he said and added that whether it is Mullana or Bilaspur or Dehradun, all distress calls have been duly taken cognizance of. Wherever required students were shifted from private to hostel accommodation and stranded residents were also suitably accommodated, he said

The State Administration, Kansal said, assures the people of J&K that, due cognizance has been and shall continue to be taken for even the smallest call or incident affecting the security of the students and residents. “Respective local administrations and college authorities of all the locations are absolutely in cooperation and in sync with the J&K government on this issue,” he maintained.

Responding to a question regarding orders issued by the Government authorities on fuel rationing, Kansal said the fuel rationing was done in view of apprehensions of the shortage of stocks following prolonged closure of the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway due to inclement weather conditions. “We are expecting augmentation of stocks with the movement of trucks on the highway following reopening of the highway,” he said.

Regarding distribution of rations, Kansal said that Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Department has been asked to ensure judicious distribution of ration as there is procedural requirement of advance stocking of ration for the month of March and there is nothing to create panic about it. He further elaborated that in view of the closure of highway availability of essential supplies is being ensured for public convenience.

Regarding deployment of additional troops, he said the additional forces have been called for the election purpose.

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