SRINAGAR: Minister for Public Works, Naeem Akhtar, Wednesday said that the infrastructure sector will emerge as a major job creator in the State as massive reforms with regards to ease of doing business and capacity building are being undertaken by the present dispensation.
The Minister was speaking at a meeting convened to review progress under Prime Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) in Kashmir Division. Development Commissioner (Works), Chief Engineer PMGSY, Director Planning and other concerned officials attended the meeting.
The Minister said that the Government is investing resources on creation of durable assets like roads, bridges and buildings of public utility, which are vital for overall development.
He said that to help contractors, technocrats, entrepreneurs and other job creators to benefit from this expenditure, various initiatives are underway to remove hiccups in ease of doing business. He said that a committee of Chief Engineers has already been constituted who will propose the ways by which participation of local contractors and technocrats will be encouraged.
Akhtar said that the Government will be handholding the concerned contractors so that there will be enhanced local participation in the developmental projects and that the sector will employ thousands of people in professional, skilled and unskilled categories.
He said that there are number of projects like in Ramban and Banihal National Highway stretch where works worth crores of rupees are stuck as local contractors are not coming forward. He said that the working of the Government is being changed in such a way that people find it easy to work on the Government projects.
The Minister said that the government is working on two fronts of quality and quantity of projects and said that for the year 2016-17 a total of 180 schemes were sanctioned, out of which 178 have been tendered and letter of intent issued for 162 such projects. He said that a record number of 171 schemes are slated to be completed in 2017-18 and 141 schemes will be completed in 2018-19.
During the meeting, the Minister was informed that the coming fiscal will see a record achievement in terms of network of new roads which would be laid across the Kashmir valley. It was revealed that around 600 kms of new roads will be completed in 2017-18.
The Chief Engineer PMGSY informed that of the sanctioned 881 schemes, as many 740 have been completed and work on the rest is going on at a fast pace. It was given out that 594 habitations have been linked under the PMGSY roads out of the total 624 habitations.