PMGSY eats dust

The perennially puzzling question that we ask day in and day out is why are not most of the Centrally sponsored projects and schemes getting implemented in our State and why have our people to remain deprived of the benefits of numerous highly rewarding benefits of these schemes. Is it the destiny of the people to be condemned to backwardness and deprivation even when the Union Government wants us to move forward and keep pace with the rest of the people of the country? Not once, not twice but umpteen times have we said that the State should order conducting of a probe into the causes of invariable and inordinate delay or even abandonment of some vital plan designed by the Central Government and forwarded to the State with comprehensive  instructions about the mode of implementation. There could be physical, geographical or even technical hurdles that come in the way of timely completion of these schemes. If it is so, the Government should examine and find out remedial measures. Or even if it is man-made complicacy, that too has to be resolved through administrative measures. But it is not acceptable that the crucial schemes and projects with which the destiny of hundreds of thousands of people is connected should be left in limbo and then justification be found in various reasons mostly unconvincing.
Take the case of the project named Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana (PMGSY). The purpose of this scheme is to provide road connectivity to the large number of villages in the country and in our State so that a big step is taken towards eradiation of poverty and backwardness in our villages. This scheme has high relevance to our State which is a mountainous state and where road connectivity is very difficult and tortuous because of thin dispersal of villages and habitats over the hills and dales and small valleys all surrounded by mountains and remaining closed to the world outside during winter months when there is heavy snowfall on the mountains and plains. Over 1400 kilometre road-length sanctioned under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana four years back is still pending owing to criminal non-seriousness on the part of the concerned authorities. Despite repeated reminders by the Union Ministry for Roads not to delay the construction of the identified roads, the State Government and its concerned departments have turned deaf and dumb. There is no reaction and no response, and the Union Ministry of Rural Development had to make a note that J&K is among one of the few States in the country that lag behind others in responding to the schemes floated by it in regard to improvement of rural areas of the country. Performance Review Committee of the Union Ministry of Rural Development, which held deliberations on all the aspects relating to implementation of PMGSY in Jammu and Kashmir few days back has given very dismal picture of performance of our State in this behalf. The Performance Review Committee has pointed out that the work on 1431.44 kilometres road length, which was sanctioned by the Union Ministry of Rural Development more than four years back, has not been completed till date thereby depriving the inhabitants of rural and far-off areas of the benefit of major scheme of the Union Government. No wonder, therefore, if it has conveyed its resentment to the State Department of Roads & Buildings which has been designated to undertake the completion of the project and for which task the timeframe of 12, 18 and 24 months has been fixed according to the nature of the work. R&B has totally failed to keep the time frame. Moreover, apart from the above mentioned road length, about 150 more works in the State sanctioned by the Union Ministry of Roads four years ago, too, have not been undertaken and no reason for doing so has not been given. Regretting this state of affairs, the Performance Review Committee has advised the State to prepare Project Implementation Unit (PIU) wise monthly completion plan to be reviewed every fortnight at the level of Chief Engineer of State Rural Road Development Agency to ensure that such works are completed as expeditiously as possible.
In final analysis, we would once again impress upon the Government to conduct expert study of the phenomenon of delaying or abandoning centrally sponsored schemes to the detriment of the people of the State