By Rajnish Singh
Srinagar, Aug 5 (IANS) The second phase of a comprehensive plan in Jammu & Kashmir for flood management work on the Jhelum river at a cost of over Rs 5,400 crore is to begin shortly and will be completed by March 2021, the government said on the first anniversary of abrogation of Article 370 in the erstwhile state.
In a detailed note, the government said the Jhelum Flood Mitigation Project (Phase-I) has been completed with the carrying capacity of the river Jhelum increased by 10,000 cusecs. Phase-II of the project is to begin soon, aimed at increasing the carrying capacity by an additional 15,000 cusecs, data said. The project got in-principle approval in June last year under the then Governor Satya Pal Malik, officials said.
“The Jhelum project was started but only 0.6 per cent of work was completed in two years. The target was to complete it by 2019. Around 82 per cent of the project was awarded in two years. We are speeding up. It will begin anytime soon and will be finished by next year,” J&K Chief Secretary P.V.R. Subrahmanyam told IANS.
The State Administrative Council (SAC) is working on the plan for flood management works on Jhelum at a cost of Rs 5,411.54 crore. The project is proposed to be implemented part-wise with Part A amounting to Rs 1,684.60 crore approved under Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) and Part B for which the source of funding is to be identified.
The project has been formulated to achieve the short-term goal of mitigating the flood threat at Sangam in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
The department is tasked with exploring financing options for Part B of the project’s second phase. A high-level committee has been constituted as per SAC’s direction to examine the detailed project report (DPR), regular follow up with Central Water Commission (CWC) or government of India for its approval, identifying source of funding for part-B (of phase-II) and also regular monitoring and supervision of execution of various works under both phases of the project.
After the devastating floods of September 2014, and on the recommendations of a high-level committee, constituted by the Centre, a multi-pronged strategy was adopted for flood mitigation in Kashmir Valley. Accordingly, action was envisaged in two phases under PMDP to enhance the carrying capacity of the river Jhelum from the then 31,000 cusecs to 60,000 cusecs.
This is among the 35 achievements of the J&K government that it claims to have achieved within one year after the nullification of Articles 370 and 35A, which gave special status to the erstwhile state, followed by bifurcation of the region into two Union Territories – Jammu & Kashmir with an Assembly and Ladakh without one.
The other achievements include application of all central Laws and major changes to state laws; massive anti-corruption action by Anti Corruption Branch (ACB); domicile certificates being made basic eligibility condition for government recruitment; largest ever recruitment drive under which 10,000 posts already advertised and special recruitment rules enacted; amendment to Reservation Act to include Paharis, International Border residents and Economic Weaker Sections; Income ceiling of Backward class increased from Rs 4.5 to 8 lakh; land registration process moved from courts to executive; power department unbundled and five Corporations set up to focus on improved service and stable revenues.
Structural reforms were carried out in Industries, Tourism, finance and Police departments; Universal Health Coverage with extension of Ayushman Bharat benefits to the entire population; J&K became 100 per cent open defecation-free; unique market intervention scheme for apple was introduced; unprecedented public outreach under which 36 Union ministers visited J&K in one week covering 12 districts, 60 locations, 100 public meetings and 210 public projects inaugurated.
Bottlenecks were removed under Prime Minister’s Development Programme and expenditure increased from 27 per cent to 54 per cent and 17 projects were completed or are nearing completion.
Hydro projects were speeded up and all contracts of 1000 MW Pakal Dul Project and 624 MW Kiru Project work started with massive push to transmission and distribution works in power sector under which 213 packages were taken up for execution and 128 already completed; bottlenecks were removed for 2 mega projects — Ujh and Shahpur Kandi that had been in limbo for over five decades.
Light Rail Transit System (Metro) for Jammu and Srinagar was finalised and DPR prepared for Rs 10,599 crore; Seven new Medical Colleges were operationalised and sanctioned, 1,400 additional medical and paramedical seats added, while five new nursing colleges and one State Cancer Institute have been approved.
School health cards scheme under which 8 lakh health cards issued for the first time; Mid-Day meal scheme devolved to Panchayats; 50 new degree colleges started and 25,000 new college seats were added, and a global investment summit was organised with 168 MoUs signed for projects worth Rs 13,600 crore for which 6,000 acres of government land was identified.
(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at [email protected])