PM reviews works with top brass ahead of J&K visit

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU/NEW DELHI, June 21: Even as Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh today reviewed the status of Rs 37,000 crore worth Prime Minister’s Re-construction Plan (PMRP) in Jammu and Kashmir with top officials of the Government of India ahead of his two days visit to the State beginning June 25, the State administration geared up to seek inclusion of some more projects under it from the current financial year and release of funds blocked under the plan last fiscal.
Rehabilitation of Dal lake dwellers and construction of Mughal road were two major projects undertaken under the PMRP, which were likely to be completed during the current financial year. A handsome amount under the PMRP is being used to check Transmission and Distribution (T&D) losses in the power sector.
Official sources told the Excelsior that Dr Singh reviewed the pace of PMRP works—both in Central and State sector—with top brass of PMO and other Ministries including his Principal Secretary Pulok Chatterjee, Advisor TKA Nair, Home Secretary-designate Anil Goswami and Planning Secretary Sindhushree Khullar. Mr Nair, Mr Goswami and Mrs Khullar had been to Jammu and Kashmir during past one and a half months separately to review various development projects in the State especially the PMRP.
Sources said the PMRP was to the tune of Rs 24,467 crores when it was announced by Dr Singh in 2004 as head of UPA-I but had subsequently gone up to Rs 37,000 crores due to massive cost escalation of various projects in both Central and State sectors mainly due to delay in execution of projects.
Sources said the PMRP involved 67 projects and schemes covering 11 sectors of the economy including expansion of infrastructure and basic services and employment generation.
They added that Dr Singh was briefed in the meeting that 34 projects and schemes have been completed and work in 28 is in progress.
Among the projects completed are setting up of 1,000 micro hydro-electric projects, electrification of all villages, expansion of total literacy campaign to remaining three districts of Kargil, Poonch, and Doda and training to enhance skills of youth for IT/BPO sector at Jammu and Srinagar.
The other schemes completed are starting of six new degree colleges and setting up of five women’s Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) in the Kashmir valley.
The completed projects also include relief and rehabilitation for the dislocated families and victims of militancy. This involved construction of two-room tenements for Kashmiri migrants and construction of temporary shelters, rebuilding of village infrastructure and repair and restoration of damaged houses for people on the International Border and the Line of Control (LoC) affected by cross-border shelling.
Sources said top brass of the State administration headed by Chief Secretary Mohammad Iqbal Khandey have also prepared detailed presentation on review of Centrally Sponsored Schemes including the PMRP.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was likely to bring more projects under the PMRP, which has already been extended till 2015-16.
As reported, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi are visiting Jammu and Kashmir on June 25 and 26 during which they would lay foundation stone of Ratle power project in Kishtwar and inaugurate Banihal-Qazigund rail section. They would address public meeting at Kishtwar and Banihal.
They would meet delegation and hold review meetings with Governor NN Vohra, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and his Council of Ministry.
During 2012-13, out of Rs 700 crores given to the State under the PMRP, the Government had earmarked Rs 195.24 crore on strengthening of Transmission and Distribution (T&D) network and Rs 105.29 crore for further construction, upgradation and other works on Mughal Road.
Other works undertaken last fiscal included rehabilitation of dwellers within Dal and Nigeen lakes (Rs 233.82 crore) and construction of 5242 two room tenements for Kashmiri migrants (Rs 45.65 crore).
The Government had kept a provision of Rs 120 crore for Counterpart Fund and Asian Development Bank (Part-II).
While Dal lake works were close to completion, Mughal road works were likely to be completed in the current financial year. Some of the works undertaken by the Economic Re-construction Agency (ERA) and under the Asian Development Bank (ADB) were apace while works on reducing T&D losses were expected to take some more time, sources said.
They said during current financial year i.e. 2013-14, the State Government has staked claim for Rs 600 crores under the PMRP as compared to Rs 700 crores granted to it during the last fiscal year of 2012-13 and Rs 1207 crores in 2011-12.
They added that the State had been able to spend half of the amount sanctioned under the PMRP during 2011-12 due to which it was given only Rs 700 crores in 2012-13 but a major part of the amount was not released by the end of last fiscal year.
The State has taken up with the PMO to press the Planning Commission to release all pending funds under the PMRP and current year’s Rs 600 crores along with annual plan to help it complete the unfinished works and undertake some more works in the hand.
Sources said the Union Government itself was spending majority part of the PMRP for construction of power projects in the State. Due to various hurdles in some of the power projects, their construction cost has escalated.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here