Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today talked about reorienting Planning and Development Department so that it is able to handle preparation of quality DPRs absence of which she said was real bane of project delays.
She vouched for a mechanism where ‘empanelled consultants’ remove technical bottlenecks and fast-track DPR preparation which will enable the executing agencies to deliver projects on time. “If fund crunch was the problem in the past, nowadays it is the struggle over efficiently executing development projects and achieving desired results that hold us back,” she stated.
The Chief Minister made these observations in a high-level meeting called to assess the progress achieved on the commitments made by late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on several development projects when he was the Chief Minister of the state.
The meeting began with the Chief Minister asking the officers to show no laxity in completion of projects where time impacts are inevitable, because of the uniqueness of each project. She said the real efficiency lies in delivering public infrastructure within the stipulated timelines. “The officers are custodians of development and therein lay the huge expectations of the people on the development front,” the Chief Minister said while exuding confidence that the officers will put their best foot forward.
Chief Minister was informed that the macadamization of Mehndikadal-Ashajipora Circular Road will be taken up shortly for which Rs.5.00 crore have been released to the R&B Department so far. For macadamization of roads in cities and towns, funds will be sought under TAMIER. It was brought into the notice of the Chief Minister that all structures coming under realignment of Pantha Chowk–Zewan Crossing have been removed and work on the widened portion is under progress.
Chief Minister stressed upon completion of all ongoing projects within the set timelines. Kansal also updated the Chief Minister on the progress achieved on the 42 projects shortlisted in PHE, I&FC Departments. Chief Minister had on Saturday reviewed in detail the present status of dredging works on river Jhelum for which a Kolkata-based firm has been allotted the contract.
Some of works presently under execution include beautification of Jhelum embankments in Srinagar, Bijbehara and Sopore, development of Dara Shikov Garden near Bijbehera, Reclamation of Aglar Mandi in Shopian and filtered drinking water to migrant colony at Vessu, Kulgam.
While taking review of the works in the Power Development Department, the Chief Minister issued directions for ensuring regular electricity supply in the winter capital during upcoming summer season. Principal Secretary Power, Dheeraj Gupta, brought into the notice of the Chief Minister the measures taken for removal of bottlenecks in procurement of essential items as per standardized procurement procedure.
He said with Central Government approving a list of vendors, the Power Department will now be able to maintain an inventory of key material supplies. “As the Centre has also effected changes in specification of transformers, the new transformers will prove much cheaper and energy efficient in the long run,” he said, while assuring the Chief Minister of switching over to new specifications within the next six months.
The Power Secretary informed the meeting that power supply to Jama Masjid Srinagar will be augmented by installation of 250 KV DG sets and the work will be completed within the next two months at a cost of Rs.1.00 crore. To ensure uninterrupted power supply to the picturesque Pahalgam resort, 11 KV and 33 KV lines are being laid which will be completed by the end of July at a cost of Rs.3.00 crore. He said tenders worth Rs.129.20 crore have also been floated for underground cabling at four tourist destinations including Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Sonamarg and Patnitop.
The department has also started the process for creation of transformer bank at Rajouri and Poonch districts for which Rs.1.00 crore have been released. The other works which are presently under execution include establishment of receiving station at Sultanpora, Shranz in Baramulla, dedicated power supply to IT Park at Rangreth, BGSBU in Rajouri, Ghani Stadium in Srinagar and Civil Hospital at Pahalgam.
On the issue of uninterrupted power supply to Uri, Mehbooba Mufti was informed by the Power Secretary that once the 50 MVA Transformer is installed in the grid station by October this year, the power supply to the border town will considerably improve.
The Chief Minister took a detailed review on the forward movement achieved on cross-LoC Trade and Travel at two crossing points of Salamabad in Baramulla and Chakan da Bagh in Poonch, which she said were described by late Mufti Saab as the ‘show-window’ for travellers from across the LoC.
Commissioner/Secretary, I&C, Shailendra Kumar, highlighted the progress achieved in broadening the scope of cross-LoC trade. He said a fresh list of additional items to be included in the already approved list of 21 items has been sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs which will be taken up for approval in the next meeting of the Joint Working Group between India and Pakistan.
On the smooth navigation from present barter system of trade to banking system for cross-LoC trade, Kumar said RBI has agreed to discuss the issue with Pakistan in the meeting of the joint working group. He said for smooth movement of trucks in and out of the terminals at Chakan-da-Bagh and Salamabad, tenders have been floated for procurement of full body scanners and same shall be installed over the next 18 months.
On being asked about the new features in the recently-announced State Industrial Policy, the Chief Minister was apprised that issues related to change of constitution, maintenance of industrial estates, e-trade in famed Handicraft products; self-attestation and delegation of financial powers to subordinate officers have been taken care of in a pragmatic way. He said premium for land in industrial estates has been enhanced for the first time since 2004-05, which will enable SIDCO and SICOP to take care of common facilities like roads, effluent treatment plants, and other support required within the estates from time-to-time.