Pant's envoy in Srinagar to break impasse
7 May 2001
The Times of India
The Times of India News Service
SRINAGAR: The head of Kashmir Affairs in the Union Home ministry, A K Bhandari, arrived here on Monday to break the deadlock with the All- Party Hurriyat Conference on peace talks in the state. The special secretary, who is accompanied by joint secretary Shiv Basant, will stay here for two days and will meet Hurriyat leaders. Bhandari, on reaching Srinagar, held a high-level meeting with the security agencies and civil administration to review the security scenario in the state. Later, Bhandari met several leaders in the state and discussed the alternatives before the government to invite the Hurriyat to the negotiating table. Bhandari also visited Pahalgam to monitor the security arrangements in the wake of the Amarnath Yatra scheduled for August. The special secretary held the meeting of civil and police officers in Anantnag district in this regard. Meanwhile, Srinagar was all set for the re-opening of the civil secretariat on Tuesday after six months. All roads leading to the civil secretariat were decorated and cleared of all pavement vendors, with strict enforcement of traffic rules. The divisional authorities have booked 38 private hotels and guest houses for government employees. Senior bureaucrats are provided residential accommodation at the foothills of Zaberwan in Chesmashahi near the Raj Bhawan. The Jammu and Kashmir government, according to official figures, spends about Rs 2 crore annually on the Darbar move twice a year. Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, whose family lives in the United Kingdom, is personally monitoring the arrangements.