Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Law and Justice Abdul Haq today said that the development of twin districts of Rajouri and Poonch on modern lines is the priority of the present dispensation and its aim is to take the benefits of government schemes to every individual living in the last village of the state.
Interacting with the people during his visit to the twin districts, the minister said former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed took revolutionary steps within a short span of time for the development of these districts which include the opening of Poonch-Chakkan-da-Bagh road for cross border trade, opening of a university in Rajouri, connect the twin districts with Kashmir through Mughal road and other developmental projects. “These historical initiatives became the bedrock for the development of these hitherto neglected districts. Undisputedly the development at this scale was never witnessed before in this region” he asserted.
He said the proposed tunnel on Mughal road, once completed, would not only provide round the year access to the region, it would also give a big boost to the tourism in the region. He said better connectivity was bound to give the region’s economy a turnaround besides tiding over the problem of unemployment in the region.
Abdul Haq said under MGNREGA, he has directed the officials to stop the traditional works of lanes and drains and instead focus on the rural connectivity. He said hundreds of bridges and roads have been constructed after that which could not have been imagined some years back. He lauded the role of officials in making the plans successful on ground.
He said the roads are the key to development and that construction of roads and bridges under MGNREGA will help the rural population to find new avenues. He said the works done under Rural Development will blur the rural-urban divide by ensuring equal facilities.
Earlier the Minister reviewed the functioning of Rural Development Department in Poonch, which was attended by MLA Haveli Shah Mohammad Tantray, MLC Yashpal Sharma, DDC Mohammad Haroon, SSP Rajiv Panday, Director RDD Jammu, RK Raina and ACD Poonch Zubair Shah.
During the meeting, the Minister was informed that 12024 developmental works were taken up under MGNREGA during the last fiscal including the spillover works of previous year, of which 5435 works have been completed till date.
Under MGNREGA, the Minister was informed that the department had set a target of generating 19.41 lakh mandays and it exceeded the target by touching 24.85 lakh mark. He was also informed that 77158 job cards were provided under MGNREGA for the unskilled and unemployed youth of the district.
Meeting was further informed that against available budget of Rs 64.92 crore, the department spent Rs 63.70 crore.
Giving details about the geo-tagging of RDD assets, Minister said about 69 percent of the assets have been geo-tagged so far and that the full target will be achieved soon. It was further informed that 18471 Adhaar cards of job card holders have also been seeded in MIS while 31642 more forms have been submitted to concerned agency for further linking. Similarly 53.30 percent active job cards have also been verified in the district so far.
Describing use of technology to monitor the assets as a revolutionary step, the Minister said all the assets in the districts have been geo-tagged. He said the geo-tagging is a touchstone of transparency that will enforce better monitoring, recording and management of developmental works at the cutting edge level.
It was informed that for the current fiscal the district has an available MGNREGA budget of Rs 59.34 crore and a target has been set to generate 19.41 lakh man days and complete 10057 works.
Under IAY the district had an approved budget of Rs 62.48 Lakh and 776 works were approved under the scheme out of which 114 works have been completed and Rs 61.39 expended so far
Under Prime Minister Awaas Yojna (PMAY) the district has a target of 606 works at the cost of Rs 6.42 crore for the current financial year.
Meeting was also informed that the department is constructing 12 foot bridges and culverts under convergence of MGNREGA and 13th FC and Rs 63.63 lakh have been expended so far. Seven Tractor roads have also been constructed under convergence with 13th FC and with Rs 16.50 lakh spending four roads have been completed while work is in progress on three other roads.
The department has spent Rs 59.35 lakh against an available budget of Rs 63.53 lakhs against which 63 works have been completed so far while work is in progress on six works.
The Minister said new initiatives taken by the department will change the dynamics of rural areas, and will blur the rural-urban divide. He said several innovative initiatives have been taken to make the functioning of the department accountable and transparent, with the aim that the benefits of the schemes reach the rural masses well in time.
Abdul Haq asked officers to avoid concrete constructions for dams and tanks and instead stressed on simple, easy and affordable technological solutions and institutional arrangements that make use of, and build upon, local technical knowledge and available materials.
The Minister said there are certain irrigation dams in state that have been constructed hundreds of years ago and people are still making use of it.