Strange it may sound, but it is true that the ambitious project on beautification of Raghunath Bazaar is still awaiting completion even after passage of seven years.
The work on the said project was started in 2010 with an estimated cost of Rs 5 crore and deadline was scheduled for 2012, but since then the project keeps on hanging and missing deadlines one after another.
“The funds for the project were sanctioned by state government in 2010 with the estimate cost of Rs 5 crore but due to apathetic and lethargic approach of the executing agency and concerned authorities, the project is still hanging, which has also faced cost escalation to Rs 5.66 crore,” said president of Ragunath Bazar Businessmen Association.
He added the concerned department is playing with the funds and since 2008, the people of the Jammu city are being hoodwinked with the name of beautification of the historical Raghunath bazaar.
He added that even the CAG report had painted a black picture with regard to progress of the project. “According to the CAG report on Jammu district, the development of Raghunath bazaar of the city as a heritage project was taken up at an estimated cost of Rs 5 crore in 2009-10, but has not completed the project in time, due to which the cost escalation was faced,” he added.
The project involved face lifting of the bazaar and modernization/upgradation of the overhead power distribution/telephone network.
Barring one odd electric pole, decorated with sample ornamental material, none of the poles have been decked up. Some historic material including water taps of Dogra era were seen covered with posters.
Raghunath Bazaar Businessmen Association (RBBA), Baldev Khullar said, “Under phase I, several works for the beautification of Raghunath Bazar including ornamental casing of electric poles to be executed by SICOP, antique look PSPs has been installed by PHE and made by SICOP, underground cabling of telephone cable by BSNL, laying of pavements by PWD (R&B) by fixing Dholpuri stone, red Agra stone and Mastic asphalt road surface in the bazaar and laying of rain water drains by UEED has been completed so far only 10 percent work is pending in this regard,” Kullar said.
Khullar added since the beautification of the historical Raghunath Bazar was associated with the Dogra culture, the project comes under the preview of the Ministry for Culture which was under the minister’s control.
When contacted Divisional Commissioner Jammu-Dr Pawan Kotwal and Deputy Commissioner Jammu-Simrandeep Singh both were unavailable.