Asks J&K to assure fresh deadlines not missed
JAMMU, Sept 2: With new Governor in place in Jammu and Kashmir, the centre is understood to have called for revisiting the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMPD), Centrally Sponsored Schemes and some other major projects of the Union Government in Jammu and Kashmir to give them major boost by revising their timelines, ensuring proper funding for them and their completion within the revised deadline to avoid further cost overrun.
Official sources told the Excelsior that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) would be monitoring the PMDP and Centrally Sponsored Schemes in the State after the State Government holds project wise review of all major works being executed under the PMDP and other Centrally funded schemes and revise their deadlines amidst reports that number of projects have either missed or were in the process of missing the deadlines.
“Delay in execution of projects has been leading to massive cost overruns, both under the PMDP as well as Centrally Sponsored Schemes and this factor has worried the Central Government as total cost of the PMDP had already crossed Rs one lakh crore as against original sanctioned amount of Rs 80,068 crore,” sources pointed out and said despite repeated reminders by the Centre to the State Government in the past, some of the projects couldn’t gather pace.
However, with new Governor in place now, sources expressed confidence that the projects under PMDP and other Centrally Spon-sored Schemes would be expedited. They said the State Government has been asked to carry out project wise review of the PMDP and Central projects and fix new deadlines for their completion. However, they added, the Government must ensure that the revised timelines are not missed.
The Central Government, according to sources, is ready to walk extra mile to sanction additional funds under the PMDP and Centrally Sponsored Schemes but want an assurance from the State Government that fresh deadlines set for them are not jumped and the projects are completed within the stipulated period.
According to sources, the State Government is ready to accept the Central guidelines as it was of the view that revised deadlines can be met provided that the flow of funds was adequate. The Centre has assured that funds would be no problem both under the PMDP as well as Centrally Sponsored Schemes and whenever the State Government gave Utilization Certificates, the further funds would pour-in.
Sources told the Excelsior that the funds around Rs 5500 crore could be released in the State sector for various works by the Ministry of Home Affairs, which monitors the PMDP, during the initial period of upcoming financial year of 2018-19. More funds would be considered depending upon the submission of Utilization Certificates, they said.
Meanwhile, according to sources, the Ministry of Home Affairs has agreed to the State Government demand for release of funds in the State sector to give boost to developmental projects in various Departments including Works, Power, Health, Rehabilitation etc. The State Government was of the view that the Centre was releasing majority of PMDP funds in the Central sector and had demanded that it should give due weightage to the State sector also.
According to sources, the Centre could release around Rs 5500 crore under the PMDP during current financial year of 2018-19 in the State sector, while the funding under the Central sector would be given depending upon pace of work and utilization of already sanctioned amount.
Sources said 63 projects of the PMDP, which were under execution in Centre and State sectors could get boost due to liberal release of funds by the Ministry of Home Affairs, which monitors the PMDP, in both the sectors. However, the Centre has laid down the condition that it would release more funds only when the State gives Utilization Certificates for the already given funds.
According to sources, the MHA has so far sanctioned Rs 62,236 crores out of Rs 80,068 crores worth PMDP. However, latest estimates had revealed that cost of the PMDP has increased from Rs 80,068 crores to around Rs one lakh crore and the Centre has already agreed to bear additional cost of the PMDP i.e. around Rs 20,000 crore.
Sources pointed out, it was not only the Jammu and Kashmir Government whose projects were missing timelines but even major projects, which have been undertaken by the Central Government Corporations and Departments in the Central sector, were also getting delayed.
Top officers of the Central Corporations like National Hydro-electric Power Corporation (NHPC), National Highway Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) and other companies, which were executing power projects, have also been directed by the MHA to accelerate the projects.
They said the cost of major projects like under-construction and upcoming National Highways and roads, power projects etc has gone up drastically during the last two years prompting the Centre Government to revise cost of the PMDP and increase it to facilitate construction of the approved projects.
Not ruling out more increase in cost of the projects, sources pointed out that delay in start of two All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)-one each in Jammu and Kashmir, Smart Cities for Jammu and Srinagar and some other mega Projects could further increase cost of the PMDP.
Asks J&K to assure fresh deadlines not missed