JAMMU, Oct 1: Contrary to the tall claims of the successive Governments including the present PDP-BJP dispensation about paying required attention towards the development of remote areas of the State, ropeway trolleys mooted for the populace of several villages of Kishtwar district about 10 years back have not been installed till date. This is notwithstanding the fact that this district always received representation in the Council of Ministers with elected representatives from the area holding important portfolios.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that as lack of proper road connectivity was creating impediment in transportation of vegetables, fruits and other agricultural products, which are grown in abundance in Padder Sub-Division of Kishtwar district, a plan was mooted several years back for installation of ropeway trolleys to facilitate the farmers in timely sending their produce to the market.
Accordingly, the Agriculture Department in coordination with other concerned agencies conducted an extensive survey of entire belt in 2007-08 and it was found that large number of farmers could be benefited by installation of ropeway trolleys as were in use in the neighboring States of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
Even some teams were sent to these States for studying their model of ropeway trolleys so that same can be replicated initially in remote areas of Padder and thereafter in other such parts of the Jammu and Kashmir in phased manner. Four locations—-Gulabgarh to Ligri, Sohal to Chitoo, Sohal to Ungaie and Sohal to Kabban were identified for installation of ropeway trolleys.
The objective behind installation of ropeway trolleys was not only to facilitate the farmers in transportation of their agricultural products but also to assist the Government in dispatching timely food-grains to the populace of numerous unconnected villages by avoiding the practice of sending ration through mules and horses.
As the Agriculture Department had no expertise in this field, the Public Works Department was approached for installation of four ropeway trolleys at the initial stage and accordingly the cost of installation of these four trolleys was worked out at Rs 1.37 crore. Thereafter the proposal was shelved for unknown reasons.
The issue again received the attention of the Government during 2011-12 and accordingly estimates were revised at Rs 44.87 crore. Thereafter, administrative approval for installation of four ropeway trolleys was accorded by the Agriculture Department and their execution was taken up under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana—a scheme of Government of India.
A Chandigarh-based company was assigned the task of installation of ropeways by the Public Works Department during November-December 2012. However, the work could not be started till 2014-15 because of inordinate delay in preparation of designs by the Chandigarh-based company and vetting of the same by Design Directorate of J&K Government. In the year 2014-15 material was supplied after a lot of persuasion.
However, till date not even single ropeway trolley has been completely installed and made available for use by the farmers for the intended objective, sources said while disclosing that only 80% work has been completed on installation of ropeway from Gulabgarh to Ligri while as no work has been initiated on other three ropeways despite stacking of sufficient material at the respective sites.
Due to this, the ropeway trolleys planned 10 years back have remained only on the papers, sources remarked, adding “there are little chances of these ropeways becoming reality especially in the light of the fact that Rs 44.87 crore would be required for their installation”. “This is the testimony of the fact that even the present Government believes in showing dreams of development to the people of rural areas instead of taking steps on ground”, they further said.
“The inordinate delay in installation of ropeways is notwithstanding the fact that elected representatives from Kishtwar district always remained in the Council of Ministers with important portfolios”, sources regretted, adding “in the present PDP-BJP Coalition Government the Minister of State from the area is holding the charge of both the relevant departments-Public Works and Agriculture and had there been enough seriousness on his part these ropeway trolleys would have been completed so far”.