JAMMU, Jan 17: Union Government has drastically reduced funding for Jammu and Kashmir under National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) and this decision will create impediments in timely completion of several water supply schemes.
According to the official data, during the year 2015-16, an amount of Rs 199.40 crore was allocated to J&K against the previous year’s allocation of Rs 474 crore. Though during the year 2016-17, the allocation was enhanced to Rs 227.50 yet the same is much less than the allocation made during the year 2014-15.
This was admitted by the Minister for PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control Sham Choudhary on the floor of the Legislative Assembly while replying to the question of Congress MLA from Banihal Vikar Rasool.
“It is a fact that all the sanctioned water supply schemes are facing 70% cut from the Central Government”, the Minister said, adding “from the year 2015-16 there has been a drastic cut in the NRDWP allocations at the Government of India level”.
He, however, failed to give any convincing reply when asked about the steps the State Government was going to initiate to ensure timely completion of water supply schemes in view of reduced allocation from the Union Government. “We have enhanced State share to Rs 54.25 crore against Rs 6.50 crore during 2015-16”, the Minister said while admitting that this step on the part of J&K Government would not be of immense help in timely completion of ongoing water supply schemes.
“I have personally approached the Union Minister and hopefully some solution will be found to the crisis looming large over the State in view of reduction in allocation under NRDWP”, the PHE Minister said. His reply, however, failed to convince the Opposition MLA, who remarked, “only God knows what would be the fate of such schemes, which are already facing delays”.
The Minister also admitted that traditional water resources have been affected due to construction of tunnels for the railway line and four lanning of roads in Ramban and Reasi districts.
“In district Reasi, funds to the tune of Rs 2.93 crore stands received from the railways authorities as compensation while as for district Ramban Detailed Project Report amounting to Rs 4.56 crore stands submitted to the concerned construction companies through District Development Commissioner Ramban for tapping alternate source of water supply schemes affected by construction activities”, he added.
However, he was countered by Congress MLA from Banihal, who brought to the notice of House that no funds have been received till date and unless Government exerts pressure on the construction companies the latter will not give funds.
When the Minister’s attention was drawn towards inordinate delay in carrying out flood protection works of various nallahs in Banihal, Sham Choudhary said, “we have formulated two projects and the same have been submitted to the Central Water Commission for approval under Flood Management Programme”.
But the Congress MLA claimed that Save Banihal and Save Ramsoo Projects worth Rs 2166 lakh were submitted long time back but no decision has been taken by the Central Water Commission. On this issue also, the Minister gave vague reply. “Hopefully the CWC will give approval shortly”, he said.
It is pertinent to mention here that heavy devastation was caused by flash floods in Bislari, Bankote, Gund, Duligam and Banihal in September 2014. Though some temporary restoration works were carried out but the flood protection works are yet to be carried out by the Flood Control Department.