July 2018 News

Of 28 Major Projects, PDP-BJP Govt Didn't Complete Even One

21 July 2018
Rising Kashmir
Yawar Hussain

Srinagar: The outgoing Peoples Democratic Party-Bharatiya Janata Party (PDP-BJP) government which governed the State from March 2015 to June 2018 has not completed any project out of the total 28 listed by its Planning, Development and Monitoring Department (PDM) as 'major projects'. The PDM department was headed by former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti since she took over on April 4, 2016, as first woman chief minister of the State. The 28 projects listed as 'major projects' were proposed in Power Development; Public Works; Higher Education; Health and Medical Education; Irrigation and Food Control; Housing and Urban Development and Tourism departments. Talking to Rising Kashmir, PDP leader and former minister Naeem Akhtar said the pace of work under the coalition government needs to be compared with the previous governments along with the pace of work which would be witnessed under the Governor's rule. Since 2014 Kashmir floods, the Valley had three stints with a potential flood hitting the Valley again. The PDP-BJP government has failed to even complete the phase-I of the short-term measures (STM)project of Rs 399 crore while the Detailed Project Report for phase-II of STM is still to be formulated. The flood protection works on Bonar and Mahumati Nallah are still in progress. PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT In Srinagar, the 2.5-km long Rambagh-Jehangir Chowk flyover is still under construction with officials in the Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) divulging that it would not be completed before the end of the first quarter of 2019. The PDP-BJP government had also been going slow on the construction work on grade separator near the Tourist Reception Centre at Srinagar. Less than 40 percent work had been carried out on the grade separator by the previous government since the project was started under the PDP founder and former chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed in 2015. The semi-ring road projects in both Jammu and Srinagar are still in early stages with land yet to be acquired for both the projects. In both the regions, the total agricultural land to be acquired for the purpose is above 12,000 kanal and the farmers likely to be affected are seeking adequate compensation, causing further delay to the projects. The PDP-BJP government also dumped the proposed flyovers from KC Chowk to Janipur and Jewel Chowk to Talab Tillo in Jammu city which were recommended by the Master Plan 2032 for the city. The four-laning of the Srinagar-Jammu highway has also witnessed slow pace of work on the Ramban-Banihal stretch since the project was started in 2011 with more than 50 percent work yet to be completed on two stretches of Ramban-Banihal and Ramban-Udhampur. HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT Out of the total 59 projects of the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), all the projects are yet to be completed. As per official figures, work on half of the projects is yet to be started with work being allotted through tenders already. In Srinagar, the projects include multi-tier Parking at Sheikh Bagh and State Motor Garages, seven drainage projects, three sewerages, one project of water supply, one project of development of pedestrian walkways and footpath and cycle track, one project of intelligent traffic system and three projects for building green spaces. In Jammu city, the projects include multi-tier parking facilities at Panjtirthi and Peerkho; 19 drainage sub-projects; two sewerages; one project of development of pedestrian walkways and footpaths; one project of intelligent traffic system and one project for creating green spaces. On the proposed development of the Dal Lake, listed as major planning and development project by the previous government, nothing concrete has been done while the Dal dwellers have been shifting back to the lake from Rakh-e-Arth. Officials in Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) reveal that the encroachments have gone up while the weeds have been cut from the Boulevard side only which re-grow in few months. In 2017's budget session, the State government itself informed that Dal Lake had turned into a city forest with the re-growth of trees. Another major project under the Housing and Urban Development department was the construction of a Habitat Centre at Jammu, the work on which is yet to be started. The modernisation of the Jammu Bus Stand has witnessed more than 40 percent completion with Rs 58 crores spent till April 2018 but the project is yet to be completed with deadline put for April 2019. However, like Jammu Habitat Centre and Jammu Bus Stand Modernisation project, no such project was started in summer capital Srinagar by the PDP-BJP government. The Housing and Urban Development department was headed initially by former deputy chief minister and BJP leader Nirmal Singh and then by BJP leader and former minister Sat Paul Sharma. TOURISM DEPARTMENT The first phase of Patnitop Ropeway project is yet to be completed with the official deadline for the project being December 2019. The phase two would still take three years time to be completed. The PDP-BJP government failed to spend the majority of the funds for development of 'Anantnag-Kishtwar-Pahalgam-Daksum-Ranjit Sagar dam circuit' project. Another crucial project involved the integrated development of tourist facilities at Gulmarg-Baramulla-Kupwara-Leh circuit. No major work has been done on this project as well. The project for development of Suchetgarh border has also not been completed since it was announced in 2011-12 under the Integrated Destination Circuit Scheme of the Government of India.