Expedite Development of Tawi Riverfront

Those of us who must have happened to see Sabarmati River in Ahmedabad neglected, polluted and shrunk in width in late Nineties and even up to 2005 must have drawn a pessimist note for the very survival of that river. Not only were there clusters of slums on its banks but other discharge and effluents going into it had rendered this river hazardous for health of the general public who would feel scared going near it. Again, seeing the same River , thereafter, in late Twenties , say by 2012-13 must have been a real feast to the eyes in finding a totally different condition of this River , a real turnaround and a transposition indeed, having taken place by developing its Riverfront. That all happened on account of concerted political will, the hard work of the bureaucracy, marvellous engineering and technical cooperation, monitoring and follow- up measures and last but not the least, provision for funds support.
Does not River Tawi need such a Riverfront? Ask anyone right from the political leaders to the bureaucrats in the state administration, everyone would give a unanimous acquiesce to the Riverfront project but comparing that with the ground realities, for the past 22 months, State Administration is adopting a temporizing and dawdling attitude even in matters of submission of requisite No- Objection Certificates to Union Ministry of Water Resources and River Development. As a consequence, the Ministry has not been inclined to accord sanction of and approval to the project of Tawi Riverfront on the pattern of River Sabarmati in Ahmedabad. In 2015, BJP – PDP Coalition Government had mooted the same ambitious idea for Tawi on the pattern of Sabarmati River in Ahmedabad.
A piquant situation has, of late, arisen in the State as in most of the cases, issuing of tenders and that also repeatedly, evoke little or no response from the concerned contractors or agencies due to “reasons” not hard to guess. In other words, Jammu Development Authority has issued tenders many a time for development of small stretch of the river but even after ten months, there is no response which has resulted in an air of uncertainty over the start of actual work on the project. The experience and the expertise of Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation could have been used by Jammu and Kashmir State much before in matters of conducting surveys, preparation of detailed Project Report and sharing of information etc. However, after the exercise taking more time than required, the detailed project report was submitted to the Union Ministry of Water Resources and River Development through Central Water Commission on January 4 last year.
The Union Ministry also wanted NOC from Irrigation and Flood Control Department as the Ministry was approached by them also for releasing some funds for flood control measures and it is hard to comprehend that one full year was taken by the Department in submitting the requisite NOC to Jammu Development Authority which subsequently was submitted to the Water Resources Ministry stating that the area concerned for which funds were requested for flood control measures did not fall in the DPR prepared by the Sabarmati Riverfront Corporation. In the same way, NOCs from Forest, Ecology and Environment Departments were called for in April this year, the process of which has got stuck up in the whirlpool of “mismatches”, confusions and lack of coordination resulting in the dreamt Riverfront hardly making any progress. The State Government appears to be undone resulting in the inevitable — the Union Ministry being not in a position to clear the project. Can much of the grass grown under the feet of the concerned state authorities be, now stopped to be further grown in the Tawi Riverfront issue?


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