*Slackness of H&UDD leads to inordinate delay in completion
JAMMU, Jan 12: Putting a question mark on the performance of Housing and Urban Development Department of the State and other concerned agencies, the fate of 4 sewerage projects for Jammu city is hanging in balance during the past several years. Now, the completion of these important projects depends upon the availability of balance funds for which Union Government has yet not made any formal commitment to the J&K Government.
These four sewerage projects for Jammu city were sanctioned by the Union Government under the erstwhile Centrally Sponsored Scheme—Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewable Mission (JNNURM) several years back and for completion of each project sufficient funds were made available but with the stipulated that these funds could be availed only within the specified period.
These projects are Comprehensive Sewerage Scheme Phase-I Greater Jammu; Sewerage Treatment Works for left out areas Phase-II Division A of Greater Jammu; Procurement of Sewerage Treatment Plant of 30 MLD capacity at Bhagwati Nagar and Sewerage Project Phase-II (left out portion of Talab Tillo).
The Comprehensive Sewerage Scheme Phase-I Greater Jammu was sanctioned during 2008-09 at a cost of Rs 129.23 crore and the work was entrusted to National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC). However, an amount of Rs 16.74 crore was incurred up to March 2016 and since then no work is being carried out for this project for want of balance funds.
Similarly, project for Sewerage Network for left out areas Phase-II Division A of Greater Jammu was approved during 2011-12 at a cost of Rs 20.32 crore against which an amount of Rs 3.08 crore was utilized up to March 2016.
As both these projects were sanctioned under JNNURM for which the Government of India has stopped release of funds, the J&K Government has made a request to the Union Government for providing balance funds under newly launched AMRUT Mission. However, the formal approval is still awaited from the Union Ministry of Urban Development.
This was admitted by the Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh, who is also Minister Incharge Housing and Urban Development Department on the floor of the Lower House in response to the question of BJP MLA from Jammu East, Rajesh Gupta.
“The target date of completion of both these projects was March 2016 and revised date will be fixed only on availability of balance funds”, said Deputy Chief Minister.
“The procurement of STP of 30 MLD capacity is executed by Economics Reconstruction Agency and is funded under Asian Development Bank at a cost of Rs 156.56 crore”, he said, adding “an amount of Rs 104.62 crore was utilized up to March 2016 and the expected date of completion for the project is March 2017”.
As far as Sewerage Project Phase-II (left out portion of Talab Tillo) is concerned, the Deputy Chief Minister said that this project is funded under State Plan at a cost of Rs 14.39 crore against which an amount of Rs 9.07 crore has been utilized up to March 2016. During the current financial year, an amount of Rs 148 lakh has been released and the work is in progress. “The expected date of completion is March 2017 subject to availability of funds”, he informed the House.
Though the Deputy Chief Minister attributed delay in execution of works to non-availability of funds yet the facts remain that strict adherence to the time-lines fixed at the time of sanctioning of the projects under JNNURM could have avoided the present crisis. This clearly indicates that apart from the slackness of the projects executing agencies, the non-serious approach of the Housing and Urban Development Department was also responsible for hanging fate of these important projects.