August 2016 News

Despite Knocking Every Door Of Govt, Leh Fails To Get Any Sort Of Relief

2 August 2016
The Daily Excelsior
Mohinder Verma

Jammu: Despite knocking every door of the Government, the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh has failed to get any sort of financial assistance from the PDP-BJP Coalition to rebuild the public infrastructure which got damaged exactly a year back. What to talk of deciding the fate of Rs 1600 crore scheme prepared by the Council, even funds have not been released to enable the Hill Council to clear the work done liability of Rs 15 crore. Official sources told EXCELSIOR that after detailed exercise the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh prepared an Action Plan of Rs 1600 crore for effecting permanent restoration of public infrastructure damaged during three devastating floods particularly of August 2015. The cost for restoration of head works-irrigation khuls was worked out at Rs 2231.85 lakh while as for restoration of major nullahs an amount of Rs 30272.71 lakh was projected in the Action Plan. Similarly, for restoration of irrigation canals an amount of Rs 230.10 lakh is required, Rs 118483.15 lakh for restoration of damaged motorable road and bridges, Rs 8475.93 lakh for restoration of water supply schemes and Rs 1472.04 lakh for removal of debris from agriculture land. Even a provision of Rs 15 crore was kept in the Action Plan for restoration of roads and bridges, which got damaged due to breach in Phuktal river in Zanskar area of Kargil district that too early last year, sources said, adding all these provisions were kept in the Action Plan after holding pre-consultations with the concerned departments of the State Government. Thereafter, the Hill Council headed by BJP, which is also in power in the Coalition Government, submitted the Action Plan to all the concerned quarters, sources said, adding even the Chief Executive Councilor, Dr Sonam Dawa Lonpo personally called on several concerned Ministers and stressed the urgency to extend financial assistance to Hill Council for restoration of damaged public infrastructure. Each and every quarter of the State Government was apprised that in the absence of permanent restoration works damages are widening with every passing year and the major nullahs are causing havoc during every rainfall and resulting into erosion of the agricultural land, which is the main source of livelihood for majority of the population of the district, sources further informed. However, despite knocking each and every door of the Government the Hill Council has failed to get any sort of relief, which is evident from the fact that even funds have not been released to help the LAHDC in clearing the work-done liability of Rs 15 crore, they said. 'Had this liability been cleared the contractors would have been convinced by the Hill Council to start more restoration works but due to piling up of liability the contractors are reluctant to come forward', sources added. This is notwithstanding the fact that one of the senior Ministers had assured the Hill Council delegation that Government was committed for overall and holistic development of the State with special thrust on hilly and far-flung areas and Ladakh region would always receive priority attention. What to talk of releasing funds to meet the requirements of Hill Council, the Government has yet not considered it imperative to send a high-level team to the region for detailed survey of all the issues relating to the works for permanent restoration as was directed by the Governor N N Vohra while interacting with delegation of Hill Council on March 18 this year. 'When there is one political party at the helm of affairs in State and in Hill Council there remains very remote chances of such an inordinate delay in release of funds but the prevailing situation has sent a message to the people of Leh that even the present Government has a different yardstick to measure their grievances', sources regretted.