Editorial : Planning failures

The failure or success of governments in today’s world can be gauged by the accomplishment of developmental projects that have been taken up to improve the infrastructure scenario of a region.

However, in our case even the basic parameters of initiating works on developmental project and later completing them on time within the resources sanctioned has been one of the most difficult challenges. The level of success vis-a-vis completion of developmental projects has been so dismal that the audit body, Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has minced no words in portraying a very bad picture of the state on this front. 

The CAG presented its report on the road connectivity and the status of a large number of bridges that were required to be built at various places. The report is highly critical of the way the State R&B Department is handling the bridge construction and management.

CAG has identified 18 bridges across the State that have been abandoned by the contractors after completing only a fraction of the work. The report speaks of lack of diligence with the policy planners.

The major flaw it has found is that no thorough planning is made and not all aspects of a bridge under contemplation are made before the blue print is ready. Second flaw is that there are frequent changes midway in the design and pattern of the bridges whose construction has been undertaken.

The CAG has cast aspersions on the intelligence of the engineers and the planners who are not decisive what type of bridge should be made and where. Midway changes are most unreasonable because it causes immense disruption of the plan in full. No experienced and sensible construction company is happy with changing the pattern of the bridge halfway. The result is that in many cases contractors have abandoned the work after having received and spent good deal of money on pre-requisites.

The CAG has also said in very clear terms that owing to thoughtless planning and absence of necessary monitoring input, there has happened much financial loss to the State that runs into crores. Obviously, it spoils the whole scheme.

The CAG is not the only body which has emerged critical of the state government functionaries.

The Courts too have on many occasions pointed out gross irregularities in plannuing and executing works on various important bridges in the state.

Just last month the High Court directed Amicus Curie, Reyaz Jan to respond to a report by the Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) on the feasibility of increasing the height of the Skewed Bridge at its original place at Rajbagh.

A division bench of Chief Justice Baddar Durrez Ahmad and Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey asked the Amicus to file the response after he requested the court for filing the same.

The High Court had disapproved vandalising of river Jhelum and directed the government to complete the construction of the bridge in keeping with its original plan. It had also stayed construction of a new bridge—parallel to Abdullah Bridge—at Rajbagh.

The court had underscored that beautification of river Jhelum in the area has consumed huge funds after its banks and The Bund on both sides between Zero Bridge and Budshah Bridge were got cleared of encroachments of sorts, cleaned and beautified after a series of orders passed by the court between 2005 and 2007.

These irregularities point out to the gross lacunae’s the state governments planning department is confronted with. All this highlights how the state governments is hell-bent on destroying the ecology of Srinagar city and ruin the historical heritage site—the Emporium Gardens—besides abandoning a well thought of and almost half-complete engineering plan at the cost of huge sums.



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