HM calls top J&K, MHA officials on Nov 30 for PMDP review

NHPC, NHIDCL top brass also summoned

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Nov 16: As several projects in both Centre and State sectors under Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) have been overshooting deadlines, leading to massive cost escalation, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has called very high-level meeting of top Jammu and Kashmir Government officials in New Delhi on November 30 to review all 63 projects of the Package, which were under execution presently.
Top official sources told the Excelsior that apart from top brass of civil administration including Chief Secretary BB Vyas, Home Secretary RK Goyal and Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Rohit Kansal, all Administrative Secretaries, whose Departments were engaged in execution of the PMDP projects have been called for the meeting, that will also be attended among others by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and other officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) dealing with PMDP and Jammu and Kashmir Affairs.
Recalling last PMDP review meeting chaired jointly by Rajnath Singh and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in New Delhi last month, sources said the Home Minister has clearly told the Jammu and Kashmir top officers that there was no dearth of funds under PMDP and they would be released as and when required but projects must meet deadlines so that their cost don’t shoot further.
Sources said the MHA, which monitors PMDP has so far sanctioned Rs 62,236 crores out of Rs 80,068 crores worth PMDP, which was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Srinagar on November 7, 2015. However, latest estimates had revealed that cost of the PMDP has increased from Rs 80,068 crores to around Rs one lakh crore due to delay in execution of projects, leading to massive escalation of cost.
“As all Administrative Secretaries of the Departments, which were responsible for implementation of the PMDP have also been called to the meeting, they could be held accountable for any further delay in the projects,’’ sources said, adding the Centre Government was deeply concerned over repeated cost escalations and want to ensure that this didn’t repeat in future.
Sources said a total of 63 projects were being implemented through various Central Ministries and State Government Departments in the State under the PMDP.
However, 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, whose officials were executing power projects, could also be called to the high-level meeting, sources said.
Sources said there has been an increase of about Rs 21,000 crores in the PMDP due to revised cost of various projects, which were either under execution or were in the process of being taken up and the Centre Government has briefed State leadership that they would bear increased cost of the projects.
“The PMDP, which was Rs 80,068 crores when it was announced by the Prime Minister has increased to Rs one lakh crores during two years,” sources said but added that this was being anticipated as some of the projects were very big in nature and delay in their start and execution was on expected lines.
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.
However, they said, cost of the projects would be revised later especially when work starts on them and the executing agencies are in a position to work out their enhanced cost in view of delay.
The Centre has already assured the State Government that it would bear increased cost of the PMDP, which has been worked out at around Rs 21,000 crores.
Around Rs 40,000 crores out of the Rs 80,068-crores package have been earmarked for improving road infrastructure, including semi-ring roads in Jammu and Srinagar and upgradation of important highways besides others.
In addition, Rs 11708 crores were meant for power and new and renewable energy. This includes augmentation of power infrastructure and distribution systems, solar power and small hydro projects.
In the power distribution sector, Rs 3,790 crores have been earmarked for augmentation of infrastructure for distribution systems including capital cities and tourist destinations. It excludes normal entitlement of J&K under DDUGJY and IPDS, Rs 105 crores were kept for advance technology interventions including smart grids and smart meters, Rs 4,153 crores have been sanctioned for Pakal Dul hydropower project while Rs 1,115 crores have been earmarked for Srinagar-Leh 200 KV Transmission Line.

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