JAMMU: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday asked 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. The Chief Minister also stressed upon completion of all ongoing projects within the set timelines.
Chairing her first major review meeting after assuming charge of the, Mehbooba Mufti Monday hinted at reorienting the Planning & Development Department so that it is able to professionally handle preparation of quality DPRs (Detailed Project Reports), 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.
Besides the Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal Kumar Singh, the meeting was also attended by Minister for Public Works & Parliamentary Affairs, A. R. Veeri, Minister for Finance, Culture, Labour & Employment, Dr. Haseeb A. Drabu, Minister for H&ME, Bali Baghat, Minister for Education, Naeem Akhtar, Minister of State for Haj & Auqaf (IC), PHE, I&FC and I&C, Syed Farooq Ahmad Andrabi and Minister of State, Finance & Planning, IT, Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs, CA&PD, Tribal Affairs, Relief & Rehabilitation and Labour & Employment, Ajay Nanda.
The Chief Minister, who also holds the charge of the Planning & Development Department, reviewed R&B, PHE, I&FC, PDD, I&C, Tourism, Health, Education and the I&C Departments.
Some of the 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.
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 the same shall be installed over the next 18 months.
A detailed presentation was also made about the progress achieved in construction of convention facility and establishment of mega leather cluster at IE Lassipora and facelifting of Kashmir Haat at Srinagar.
In the Tourism sector, the Chief Minister obtained first-hand appraisal on developing Mantalai, in Udhampur district, as an International Yoga Centre and bringing several areas like Abdullian and Chamlyal within the ambit of border tourism, on pattern of Suchetgarh. She also stressed upon outsourcing high-end assets like Pahalgam Club, which will generate revenue that can be ploughed back in developing the highly-remunerative travel industry in the state.
In order to position Gulmarg as valley’s premier travel destination, the Tourism Secretary said the heritage masterpiece Maharaja Palace, helipad, waiting terminal in Gandola premises and a new restaurant are ready for inauguration. A revised plan of Rs. 198.65 crore for up-gradation of roads leading to tourist destinations has also been formulated, the meeting was told.
The other works presently being executed include construction of an ice-skating rink at Pahalgam, framing of DPR for laying of golf course at Sonamarg, repair and renovation of Abhinav Theatre and Tagore Hall, construction of Bait ul Zareen at Shahdara Sharief, Rajouri, installation of STP and incinerators at Gulmarg for solid waste management and development of Ranjit Sagar Dam as a tourist destination.
While reviewing the performance of the Education sector, the Chief Minister issued instructions for removing impediments in making IIT Jammu functional as early as possible.
Mehbooba Mufti was also briefed about the new initiatives taken to reform both the school and the higher education sectors. Specific mention was made of the Model School Scheme started by late Chief Minister, creation of Teachers’ Welfare Fund and introduction of vocational courses at college and school levels in four identified trades including IT, tourism and handicraft sectors.
Commissioner/Secretary School Education informed the Chief Minister that 144 schools have been identified in the state for upgradation as Model Schools where students will be taught with the help of modern e-learning tools.