November 2017 News

Monitor Projects Regularly To Meet Deadlines: MHA To J&K

30 November 2017
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba today held high-level review of Prime Minister's Development Package (PMDP), which had recently gone up to Rs 1 lakh crores approximately from original Rs 80,068 crores, with top officials of Jammu and Kashmir Government and was reported to have directed for expediting works in both Centre and State sectors amid rising concerns over cost escalations of many projects due to delay in their executions. This was third major review of the PMDP in less than three months by the MHA, which indicated the concern over expediting developmental works and execution of major projects, approved under the PMDP, which was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 7, 2015. Official sources told the Excelsior that the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was concerned over missing of deadlines of several projects in Centre and State sectors under the PMDP, an ambitious development plan of the Centre Government for Jammu and Kashmir and today's high-level security review meeting was part of that. Apart from the Union Home Secretary, top MHA officials, Incharge PMDP and Jammu and Kashmir desk, Chief Secretary BB Vyas, Home Secretary RK Goyal, DGP Dr S P Vaid, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Rohit Kansal, Incharge Planning and Development Department and Administrative Secretaries of the departments, whose projects are being executed under the PMDP, attended the meeting. Sources said 63 projects of the PMDP, which were under execution in Centre and State sectors, came up for review during the meeting. The MHA officials directed the J&K officials to ensure that execution of works including major projects, is further expedited and timelines are strictly adhered to. Asserting that the State Government officials have pointed out some difficulties in meeting deadlines for some of the projects in view of 'limited working season' in major parts of Jammu and Kashmir, reluctance of some major companies to take up work due to 'disturbed conditions' etc, sources, however, said the State officials assured the MHA that they were regularly monitoring pace of the projects and would ensure that they meet the deadlines. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had jointly reviewed PMDP in Srinagar on September 9 and New Delhi on October 23. This was third PMDP review by the MHA in less than three months. According to sources, the MHA, which monitors PMDP, disclosed in the meeting that they have so far sanctioned Rs 62,236 crores out of Rs 80,068 crores worth PMDP. However, latest estimates had revealed that cost of the PMDP has increased from Rs 80,068 crores to around Rs one lakh crore due to delay in execution of projects, leading to massive escalation of cost. However, sources pointed out, it was not only the Jammu and Kashmir Government whose projects were missing timelines but even major projects, which have been undertaken by the Central Government Corporations and Departments in the Central sector, were also getting delayed. Top officers of the Central Corporations like National Hydro-electric Power Corporation (NHPC), National Highway Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) and other companies, whose officials were executing power projects, have also been directed by the MHA to accelerate the projects. Sources said there has been an increase of about Rs 21,000 crores in the PMDP due to revised cost of various projects, which were either under execution or were in the process of being taken up and the Centre Government has briefed State leadership that they would bear increased cost of the projects. 'The PMDP, which was Rs 80,068 crores when it was announced by the Prime Minister has increased to Rs one lakh crores during two years,' sources said but added that this was being anticipated as some of the projects were very big in nature and delay in their start and execution was on expected lines. They said the cost of major projects like under-construction and upcoming National Highways and roads, power projects etc has gone up drastically during the last two years prompting the Centre Government to revise cost of the PMDP and increase it to facilitate construction of the approved projects. Not ruling out more increase in cost of the projects, sources pointed out that delay in start of two All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)-one each in Jammu and Kashmir, Smart Cities for Jammu and Srinagar and some other mega Projects could further increase cost of the PMDP. However, they said, cost of the projects would be revised later especially when work starts on them and the executing agencies are in a position to work out their enhanced cost in view of delay. The Centre has already assured the State Government that it would bear increase cost of the PMDP, which has been worked out at around Rs 21,000 crores. Around Rs 40,000 crore out of the Rs 80,068-crore package have been earmarked for improving road infrastructure, including semi-ring roads in Jammu and Srinagar and upgradation of important highways besides others. In addition, Rs 11708 crore were meant for power and new and renewable energy. This includes augmentation of power infrastructure and distribution systems, solar power and small hydro projects. In the power distribution sector, Rs 3790 crore have been earmarked for augmentation of infrastructure for distribution systems including capital cities and tourist destinations. It excludes normal entitlement of J&K under DDUGJY and IPDS, Rs 105 crore were kept for advance technology interventions including smart grids and smart meters, Rs 4153 crore have been sanctioned for Pakal Dul hydropower project while Rs 1115 crore have been earmarked for Srinagar-Leh 200 KV Transmission Line.