CS reviews Tawi Riverfront Development Project, internet connectivity in rural areas

Chief Secretary chairing a meeting at Jammu.
Chief Secretary chairing a meeting at Jammu.

‘Disruption free power during winter priority of Govt’

*Directs creation of lake by April 2022

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Nov 10: The Chief Secretary, Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta today reviewed the progress of projects related to the Tawi River Front Development and implementation of the Bharat Net scheme in Jammu and Kashmir.
Administrative Secretaries of departments of Rural Development, Housing & Urban Development, Planning Monitoring & Development, Jal Shakti, and Information Technology, besides Commissioner, Jammu Municipal Corporation, and concerned sectoral heads participated in the meeting.
Giving details of the Tawi River Front project, Administrative Secretary, U&DD informed that under phase I of the Tawi River Front Development Project, the 1st 2.7 km stretch from the Bhagwati Nagar Bridge to the Bikram Chowk Bridge, including the central island and riverfronts on both sides of river Tawi will be developed while the 4.3 km stretch beyond the Bikram Chowk Bridge will be taken up under phase II later.
Stating that the project has the potential to give a major facelift to the Jammu city, the Chief Secretary directed the department to speed up the execution of the project so that artificial pondage in River Tawi is created by April 2022.
It was informed that DPR for the phase I project at a cost of Rs. 194 crore has been finalized and the tender is expected to be floated within days.
It was further informed that the project may take one to one and a half year for completion.
Dr Mehta advised the department to explore the possibility of raising the height of the barrage piers to create an artificial pondage in river Tawi up to the Gujjar Nagar Bridge.
Stating that the different works in the project should be done in parallel rather than in the sequential manner, the Chief Secretary advised the department that the impounding of water between Bhagwati Nagar bridge and Gujjar Nagar bridge can be done even as execution of other works like construction of diaphragm wall, retaining wall etc. goes on in parallel.
Dr Mehta asked the department to follow ‘Build and Use’ model wherein as it builds facilities/amenities on River Tawi Front into future, it should try and throw open the facilities it has already built for public use without waiting for the entire project to be completed.
“The department should open the amenities/facilities it builds for public use and should not wait for the whole project to finish before doing so,” he observed.
Laying down the timelines for completion of various activities under the project, the Chief Secretary directed the department to complete the process of allotment of contract by December, 2021 and finish the construction of promenades, including the planned commercial/recreational assets on the River Front within 1-1.5 years.
He asked them to secure early approvals for change in land use and under other regulations like Development Control Regulation Act so that the execution of recreational and commercial projects in the reclaimed area around the riverfronts is not delayed.
While reviewing the implementation of the Bharat Broadband Scheme in Jammu and Kashmir in rural areas, it was informed that 408 Gram Panchayats and 14 Block Headquarters have been provided with reliable internet connection through optical fiber cable while 658 Gram Panchayats have been VSAT enabled for internet connectivity.
It was further informed that 3195 additional Gram Panchayats will be provided with internet connectivity in phase II of the project.
Underscoring the importance of digital inclusion in rural areas, Dr. Mehta impressed upon the Rural Development Department to ensure that net enabled Gram Panchayats function properly, so that they could be used as hubs to connect youth clubs, anganwadi centres and other important public sector installations for awareness/IEC campaigns and for promoting government schemes and programmes.
Meanwhile, CS reviewed winter preparedness of the Power Development Department.
Rohit Kansal, Principal Secretary Power Development Department, Basharat Qayoom, MD Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation Limited and Chief Engineers and other senior officers of Distribution Kashmir, Projects Kashmir and Transmission Kashmir attended the meeting.
While acknowledging the efforts of the department, the Chief Secretary directed the officers to undertake greater efforts to ensure smooth power supply during winters. He directed inspection of all transformers by 30th November 2021 to ensure good health of transformers, besides simultaneously inspecting all HT/LT fuses within 15 days.
Dr. Mehta further directed prevention of unscheduled power cuts due to overloading and formulation of proper protocol to manage scheduled power cuts. He also directed initiation of IEC campaign for raising awareness on agreemented power load, schedule of electricity cuts and helpline number for complaints.
Special emphasis was to be laid on providing protective gear and proper heating arrangements to the employees deployed on duties in extreme weather conditions for maintenance works.
The Chief Secretary mentioned that the Government is keen to ensure a vibrant winter tourism season in Kashmir and for this purpose, provision of reliable electricity supply is of critical importance.