With Riders,Centre Clears Rs 1248 Cr Road Projects For JK

With Riders,Centre Clears Rs 1248 Cr Road Projects For JK

20 July 2012
Greater Kashmir
Muddasir Ali

Srinagar: Asking the Jammu and Kashmir Government to lay thrust on transparency and effective implementation of developmental programs, the Government of India’s, Rural Development Ministry has Okayed Rs 1248 crore road projects under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) for the State. The execution of the centrally sponsored scheme in J&K is being closely monitored by the Union Ministry after it picked up holes in its implementation by the state government. In a letter shot to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today, Union Minister for Rural Development, Jairam Ramesh has written that the 484 road works and 50 bridges with total length of 2651, costing Rs 1248.15 crore have been cleared for JK under PMGSY. However the Union Ministry has put the preconditions of effective implementation and transparency in execution in its approval note. The grants approved include Rs 310.37 crore under Bharat Nirman Stage-I, Rs 851.92 crore under PMGSY Stage-II, Rs 21.02 crore under normal PMGSY 250+ Stage-I (for border blocks), Rs 55.39 crores for Long Span Bridges and Rs 9.45 crore under R&B Stage-II. The state would be able to cover 10 habitations of 1000+ population each, 63 habitations of 500+ population each and 42 habitations of 250+ population each. But the Union Ministry has stressed that mapping of the habitations in the proposed module, as per the final road list, must be completed by the state before seeking release of funds. Failure of the state government to identify and prepare maps for areas to be taken up under the program was one of the main observations made by the Union Ministry on the projects sanctioned earlier. Last year the Union Ministry had revealed that at least 900 habitations identified under the program were not covered despite availability of the money. In a letter shot to Omar last year Jairam had observed despite Rs 2658 crore worth sanctioned projects (for about 5111 kms of road length) to J&K, the implementing department had spent just Rs 359 crore during 2009-2010 and Rs 297 crore during 2010-11 and during 2011-12 and the total expenditure has been only Rs 109.2 crore till August 2011. Now the State Government has been “advised” to tender the sanctioned projects in two suitable batches based on available contract capacity and sufficient competition. And to ensure transparency, the Union Ministry has asked the state to send month-wise plan for completion of the works pertaining to different phases by the end of this month. Besides, release of the first installment of funds has been subjected to upload of the State Quality Monitor (SQM) report on the Online Management, Monitoring and Accounting System (OMMAS), adequate maintenance expenditures as per contracts, certification of accounts based on OMMAS output for relevant year (2010-11 and 2011-12) and establishment of field laboratories before the commencement of the works. The state government has been asked to update OMMAS data immediately since it is linked with release of funds. The state needs to submit the soft copies of the maps and data to National Rural Road Development Agency (NRRDA) for record to verify the compatibility of proposal in future phases. Besides, the state government has been asked that citizen information boards should be displayed in the local languages at prominent locations of the targeted habitations. The proposal for road network and bridges submitted by the state government for Phase-VIII, New Connectivity (stage I&II) under normal PMGSY international border blocks and long span bridges were considered by the Union Ministry’s Empowered Committee in its meeting on January 20, 2012. The PMGSY was started in December 2000 as a fully funded Centrally Sponsored Scheme to provide all weather road connectivity in rural areas. The program envisages connecting all habitations with a population of 500 persons and above in the plain areas and 250 persons and above in hill states, the tribal and the desert areas.