4 years on, Abdullah tom-tom''s successes
17 October 2000
The Asian Age
Srinagar: Four years after it assumed power in militancy ravaged Jammu and Kashmir, the Farooq Abdullah government has reconstructed about 50 per cent of the 401 gutted bridges in the State, added 110 lakh gallons of potable water to the existing system and increased about 400 km of road. Spelling out the achievements registered in the sectors under his charge, the works minister, Ali Mohammad Sagar told reporters here on Monday that 116 major and 52 minor bridges had been already reconstructed while another 30 would be ready by the end of the current financial year ending March 2001. He said that Rs 217 crore was earmarked for the reconstruction of gutted bridges in the first phase. Mr Sagar who is the most vocal of Dr Abdullah’s ministerial colleagues, gave figures to substantiate that the government was “doing its best” to provide the necessary facilities to people despite financial constraints. He said apart from bridges, gutted educational and health institutions were also being reconstructed in a phased manner. The J&K Projects Construction Corporation alone had reconstructed 27 educational institutions so far, he said. The Minister said that in the two capital cities 92 lakh gallons of drinking water had been added since 1996 when the ruling National Conference came to power. He said that the state would approach the World Bank for finances for rural water supply schemes and said following discussions of the chief minister with the Union finance minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, schemes would be prepared and sent to the central finance ministry for World Bank assistance. He said the WB was ready to finance rural water supply schemes up to hundreds of crores of rupees. Mr Sagar said that following the depletion in the water table, the thrust was on digging tube wells and on conservation of water bodies. He said the growing needs of potable water in the fast expanding cities of Srinagar and Jammu up to the year 2021 would be taken care of by the Master Plan (Phase II) for the two capital cities. Mr Sagar said that each constituency in the state was allocated Rs 1 crore for water supply schemes to remove any complaint of neglect. He denied that people were supplied untreated water and said water testing laboratories had been set up in all the districts of the state. He added that several tube wells had been abandoned after water was found to be unfit for human consumption.