Funds available but works delayed
JAMMU, May 27: The Centre Government has taken serious note of various Centrally Sponsored Schemes lagging behind in Jammu and Kashmir as compared to other States of the country and Prime Minister Narendra Modi was likely to review them on May 30 to discuss steps for expediting them and ensuring their timely completion.
Official sources told the Excelsior that Jammu and Kashmir was virtually failing in a number of Centrally Sponsored Schemes including Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Jyoti Yojana, Prime Minister’s Grameen Sadak Yojana, Swachata Abhiyan, beautification plan of Devika, Akhnoor bridge etc, which have been taken up by the concerned Ministries including the Prime Minister himself (on some schemes) with the State Government.
“The Government of India wanted the State Government to expedite work on the Centrally Sponsored Schemes as despite providing adequate funds, the State hadn’t been able to stick to timelines due to massive delay in preparation of Detailed Project Reports (DPRs), acquirement of land and various other counts,” they said, adding the Centre has conveyed its concern to the State Government and wanted it to meet the pace with which the works were being executed in other States.
In the two Centrally Sponsored Schemes of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) and Prime Minister’s Grameen Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), the Centre had fixed deadline of 2018 and 2019 respectively for complete electrification and road connectivity of the villages.
Jammu and Kashmir is the only State now which has missed the target of electrification of all villages under DDUGJY and was falling behind in national average in construction of road under PMGSY despite release of highest Rs 3800 crore under the PMGSY for current financial year including Rs 2100 crore for Jammu region, the major part of which including Rs 1700 crore has been earmarked for Udhampur-Doda Lok Sabha constituency, represented by Union Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dr Jitendra Singh.
“Jammu and Kashmir had, at one point of time, fallen far behind the other States in `Swachata Abhiyan’ including declaration of districts as `Open Defecation Free’. However, after reprimand by the Centre, it has picked up the speed and jumped several points to figure among top 10 States.
Sources said the PMGSY was also facing lack of coordination as at the national level, the Centrally Sponsored Scheme is covered under the Rural Development Ministry while in Jammu and Kashmir, it falls under Public Works Department (PWD).
They added that all these three prestigious Centrally Sponsored Schemes were likely to come under review by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 30 (during monthly review meeting) and the State Government could be asked to ensure electrification of all left out villages under DDUGJY and isolated houses under Soubaghya schemes positively in the next few months and give pace to declaring more districts as ‘Open Defecation Free’. On PMGSY, the Centre wants 2019 deadline to be met for providing road connectivity in the rural areas.
On Devika river beautification and preservation , sources said the Central Government had sanctioned Rs 170.5 crore in February 2017 and for the first 10 months, the State Government had virtually forgot the project. After Centre’s intervention, only DPR have been prepared for the project after lapse of 15 months.
On Rs 200 crore worth bridge on river Chenab in Akhnoor for which two BJP MLAs-Rajiv Sharma (Akhnoor) and Dr Krishan Lal (Chhamb) had openly agitated, the Government has just completed the tendering process.
It may be mentioned here that the Government of India had recently changed Central funding pattern of eight States from 90:10 to 100 per cent, leaving J&K at the old pattern of funding due to non projection of its case with the Centre, thus, keeping the State deprived of what could have been a major financial relief for the State.
Jammu and Kashmir was always treated with eight North Eastern States in the terms of Central funding pattern taking into account the “less financial resources” and “backwardness” of the State. The J&K and North Eastern States were always treated equally and their funding pattern 70:30 was raised to 90:10 simultaneously. Some of the schemes still have the funding pattern of 70:30.
However, according to sources, the Jammu and Kashmir Government didn’t push its case for enhancing the funding in the terms of Centrally Sponsored Schemes from 90:10 to 100 per cent while the North East project the case before the Centre and it was approved. There are eight States in the North-East.
Sources said though the Jammu and Kashmir Government representatives had been favouring increase in Central funding pattern of the State at 100 per cent during their meetings with the Union Ministers especially the Finance, they didn’t push for it, a result of which the Centre had given nod to the North Eastern, Minister’s proposal, which was confined for North East, leaving the J&K behind.