Development of major towns is hanging fire

“Tell the truth about me, there is nothing I want to do and too much that has to be done…” aptly describe the current status of the planned development of major towns of the State. In other words , the Government appears to be doing absolutely nothing about how and when to proceed ahead with the Master Plans of Kathua , Reasi, Akhnoor and Doda as they are gathering dust in the official files, notes, counter notes and other means of officialdom with intent to deferring and prolonging resolution of issues.
It may be recalled that The Town Planning Organization Doda had submitted Master Plan to the Housing and Urban Development Department on Feb 21, 2014. Similarly, Kathua Master Plan was placed before the senior officers of the department on April 2, 2014. In the same way, The Master Plans of Reasi and Akhnoor were placed before the Housing and Urban Development Department on Sept 15, 2017 and Nov 21, 2017 respectively with the hope that these towns would get developed in a planned way.
All these master plans prepared and submitted with lot many expectations have, as of now, gone into the oblivion of uncertainties and unpredictability. Not only this, there is no focus on strengthening of Town Planning Organization which otherwise has a cardinal role to play in guiding the Government and various connected agencies to contain and stop the haphazard growth of the towns and cities. Haphazard and unplanned constructions pose not only security threats but cause other civic problems like drainage, roads, lanes , power and water distribution and the like.
How money spent by the Government in many instances does not bring the desired results can be visualized by the proposal for preparing Master Plans of all the major towns of the State, the Town Planning Organization had engaged consultants several years ago as per the directions of the Housing and Urban Development Department . Considerably huge amounts of money were paid to them for the exercise aimed at ensuring planned growth of the concerned towns.  That all seems to have gone not only in vain without any action but there is no murmur, let alone any talk, any reminder or any “dusting off” exercise  of the concerned files.
Housing and Urban Development Department is expected to play a pivotal role and must establish Development Authorities for all these four towns. Inviting and encouraging objections and suggestions on the respective Master Plans should follow next in line. The procedure further envisages to dispose off such suggestions and objections through a specially constituted Committee  and then  Housing and Urban Development Department must place the revised and reshaped Master Plans before the State Cabinet for final approval.
Having said so, such an exercise in accordance with the set procedures, unbelievably, has not started till date for reasons better known to the Department. What was the use of engaging consultants and experts if their requisitioned services and suggestions had not to be considered at all? Who will speak for such an attitude from a Department whose aim is development of cities and towns?
On the other hand, Town Planning Organization is there just for the name sake in the sense, it is not equipped well neither by qualified town planners, man power nor with other similar facilities and it is left to imagination as to what they are doing about and how can blue prints for planned development be prepared. It does not have even the modern equipment and laboratories required in the multi layered field of town planning. May we fervently expect the Government to be serious about the issue and initiate steps to plug various loopholes in the system whereby  paper work rarely seems to be congruent with actual implementation. Let the starting lines “the truth that I want to do nothing while lot has to be done “be taken not as a pun but a reminder of what is expected to be done by the authorities concerned.