Expedite work on Patnitop, Mantalai projects

If deadlines decided about the completion of a particular project by the administration are not carried out by the executing agencies due to whatever reasons and conditions is quite different from when specific date by which it should be completed is conveyed to the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and thereafter failing to honour the commitment, it could be height of incompetence of whatever hue and for reasons of whatever nature. This is true of Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department in respect of its failure to complete various components of the project known as integrated development of Mantalai, Sudhmahadev and Patnitop. This project, it may be recalled was sanctioned under Swadesh Darshan Scheme of the Union Government.
When the court desires for filing of a status report in respect of an issue by a respondent, herein the Tourism Department, it verily wants to get acquainted with the entire gamut of it and issue proper directions. It was in November 2018 when the Division Bench of the High Court issued such directions to the Tourism Department in respect of the above mentioned developmental works and asked for projecting dates of completion. The Tourism Secretary duly advised different dates in respect of integrated development of Mantalai, Sudhmahadev and Patnitop but it failed to honour those deadlines.
The question which emerges in the first instance in respect of the completion of different projects or taking critical decisions, all in the public interest, when all the measures to have smooth sail and transparent way of working are exhausted by people associated directly or indirectly with the concerned project, then the last recourse is to approach courts through filing of PILs and should courts also be misled. In other words, court’s intervention is sought to get the particular work streamlined and done in proper manner without taking more time which otherwise should have been done and completed in ordinary course of business. It is a travesty and speaks volumes about the administrative mechanism when even courts are advised about the definite line of action within a definite period of time but never to keep the word and thus fail to honour the spirit of the requisite court directions.
Is money or funds related problem were coming in the way , one could attribute the delays and jumping deadlines to that problem but when funds are already sanctioned and released amounting to Rs 98 crore by the Union Tourism Ministry in the year 2016 , then why “the money does not make the mare go”? Why the alibi of it continuing to be “laming” may be too literal in connexion with failing to respect the deadlines, the ones conveyed to the High Court. The implementing agency, the National Projects Construction Corporation (NPCC) should have maintained its track record in timely completed quality work but in case it has subcontracted the project to some companies or agencies not known for executing works in time, the entire issue needs to be reviewed. If on the other hand, the Tourism Department claims that all the concerned components would be completed by November 2020, which was the original date of the completion of the entire project, how can the same be taken on the face value is worth pondering.
Perhaps, such a statement would not be unqualified and is tantamount to misleading the court. Many components which were to be completed in all respects by the end of August this year are still incomplete, while some others were to be completed by July this year and the like. Again, helipad is constructed at a huge cost but without any heli services operated there-from for scenic Patnitop. We only wish that a holistic assessment was made of the entire project and pace of work given a push without compromising on qualities and standards.