Omar Advocates Transfer Of Dul Hasti Project To J&K

5 October 2009
Punjab Newsline
Ajmer Alam Wani

Jammu: Strongly advocating the case for transfer of Dul Hasti Power Project to Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah Monday asked the Union Government to extend liberal financial support to the State for revamping transmission and distribution system. “There is urgent need to improve and upgrade LT and HT network and reduce transmission losses”, he said and urged the Centre to help the State in this stupendous task. Speaking to the team of Union Secretaries led by Cabinet Secretary, Mr. K. M. Chandershekhar and comprised of Defence Secretary, Mr. Pradeep Kumar, Home Secretary, Mr. G. K. Pillai, Secretary Coordination in Cabinet Secretariat, Mr. Ajit Seth and Secretary, Planning Commission, Ms Sudha Pillai, who called on Chief Minister here, Mr. Omar underlined the importance of power sector for economic betterment of the State. He said his government has flagged power development as one of the crucial sectors and two-pronged strategy of generating indigenous hydro energy and revamping power transmission and di stribution system is being followed to achieve the required results. “We require adequate power for powering the fast track development and industrial promotion in the State to give fillip to the economy and create jobs for youth”, Mr. Omar said and told the visiting Union Secretaries that the State government has undergone greater losses on account of Indus Water Treaty and Government of India should compensate the State by funding more power projects under PMRP and otherwise. “There is urgent need for transfer of Dul Hasti Project to Jammu and Kashmir as also recommended by the Rangarajan Committee”, Mr. Omar said and asked the Union team of Secretaries to compensate the State by way of granting additional power projects if the transfer of Dul Hasti takes some time so that State could meet the power requirements. He also stressed on liberal funding for Baglihar-II adding that the DPR for the project would be ready in November 2009. Mr. O mar said that good work has been done for the strengthening of distribution and transmission systems under centrally sponsored APDRP, however, there is dire need of overhauling of HT and LT network to check high power transmission losses. The Chief Minister also urged for early sanctioning of PMRP-II and highlighting its importance for creation, consolidation and upgradation of infrastructure in the sectors of health, power, education, road communication, etc. “Some of the long gestation projects including the projects which have not yet been taken in hand and are not taken up in near future can be replaced by the new projects under PMRM-II”, he said. Mr. Omar referring to the Tulbul Navigational Lock said that this project is of great importance for the State and asked the Union Secretaries to look into this issue actively. Responding to the matter the Union Cabinet Secretary assured that the issue will be looked into by the concerned union ministries for solution. The Chief Minister also urged for early sanctioning of projects pertaining to the conservation and protection of Dal, Mansar, Surinsar, Sumurary and Wullar Lakes. “Our water bodies are not only essential to maintain eco-system but these are greater sources for economic activities besides generation of hydro power”, he added. The Union Secretaries informed that Government of India on the behest of Mr. Omar Abdullah has agreed to advance Rs. 356 crore for paying the compensation for land and structures of Dal dwellers so that they can be moved out of the water body. Laying stress on the special industry package to Jammu and Kashmir for integrated industrial development, the Chief Minister emphasized for restoring the concessions pertaining to Central Excise Duty and Income Tax withdrawn by the Centre from the 2002 industries package. “This has given set back to the industrial growth in Jammu and Kashmir and many units have either turned sick or the investors have left without completing the ventures of larger economic importance”, he said and asked for early restoration of these concessions. “Answer to the increasing unemployment problem is in the large scale development of small, micro and macro industries in the State”, he said and urged the Union Secretaries to play their important role in this direction. Pinpointing the importance of road communication for opening economic avenues and ensuring faster development, the Chief Minister emphasized the necessity of dependable inter and intra provincial and district roads. He asked for hundred percent financing for Mughal Road enumerating its socio-economic importance. The Union Secretary, Planning Commission informed the Chief Minister that after Mr. Omar took up this issue with the Prime Minister and UPA Chairperson, Ms Sonia Gandhi, the Central Government has agreed to fully fund the Mughal Road project and provide Rs. 639 crore for its completion. Mr. Omar also raised the issue of Shahpur Kandi Barrage with the visiting union secretaries team and explained in detail the losses Jammu and Kashmir has to bear for non-fulfillment of the agreed terms and conditions by the Punjab Government in respect of construction of Shahpur Kandi. “This has adversely affected our endeavours to provide irrigation to the thousands of kanals of land in Kathua and Samba districts”, he said and laid stress on early construction of the Shahpur Canal to relieve the Jammu and Kashmir from perpetuate losses. Raising the issue of participatory watershed project, the Chief Minister urged the union secretaries to sort out the issues pertaining to this prestigious project so that World Bank can sanction and fund the project. Mr. Omar also raised the issue of central financing for strengthening of health institutions in the State and said that State Government has submitted proposals worth Rs. 2000 crore to the Centre. He also asked for sanctioning of projects for left out towns of Kashmir divisions under DISSMT which have been sanctioned by the Planning Commission in 2002 under a package for urban development. Mr. Omar lauded the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, UPA Chairperson, Ms Sonia Gandhi and the central leadership for extending unprecedented financial and logistic support to the coalition government for carrying forward the development programmes on fast track. “I am highly thankful to Dr. Singh and Ms. Gandhi for sanctioning Rs. 356 crore for compensation to Dal dwellers and Rs. 639 crore for construction of Mughal Road”, he maintained. Earlier, the Chief Minister welcoming the visiting Union Secretaries expressed hope that their interaction with the State Secretaries and Departmental Heads would pave the way for early clearance of schemes aimed at welfare and development of Jammu and Kashmir. Speaking in the meeting the Union Cabinet Secretary said that their visit to Jammu and Kashmir is aimed at looking at the priorities of State Government so that these are incorporated in the policy planning of various union ministries before finalization of the projects. The Secretaries team assured every help for clearance of projects and centrally sponsored schemes for the comprehensive development of Jammu and Kashmir. The hour long meeting also discussed matters relating to the execution of centrally sponsored schemes especially mega projects under Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Programme (PMRP), PMGSRY, National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNRUM). The meeting was also attended by the Chief Secretary, S. S. Kapur, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai and Commissioner Secretary Planning and Development,B. B. Vyas. In a separate meetings with the State Administrative Secretaries and Heads of the Departments, the Union team of Secretaries discussed matters relating to power development, housing and urban development, technical education, youth services and sports, school education, health and medical education, rural development, forest development, road communication, PHE and irrigation, industries and commerce and other sectors and got first hand appraisal of the development scenario in Jammu and Kashmir.