New Delhi: The Devika river rejuvenation project, under which bathing places, natural water bodies and catchment areas will be developed in Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir, will be ready by the end of 2021, GoI Minister Jitendra Singh said on Saturday.
This was conveyed at a review meeting of the ambitious project held over video conference.
Referring to the March 2021 deadline for the completion of the project, Singh said due to the time loss in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is understandable that the work will get delayed.
However, the entire project should be completed before the end of 2021, he said.
Under the project, bathing ‘ghats’ (places) on the banks of the Devika river will be developed, encroachments will be removed, natural water bodies will be restored and catchment area will be developed.
The Devika river holds religious significance as it is revered by Hindus as the sister of river Ganga.
Also known as Devika Nagari, it originates from the hilly Suddha Mahadev temple in Udhampur district and flows down towards western Punjab (now in Pakistan) where it merges with the Ravi river.
Singh, who hails from Jammu and Kashmir, cautioned against any compromise with work quality and said a serious note would be taken if there is any evidence of it.
Responding strongly to the complaints about possible laxity in the work, Singh, Union Minister for PMO, said this is a prestigious project and nobody would be allowed to take liberty with the target and quality control.
He also took note of the inputs regarding inadequate coordination among various executing agencies including the engineering wing, the consultancy agency and the contract company, and laid down a time limit of 15 days for course correction.
The minister said the Devika project is one of the leading development projects of Jammu and Kashmir.
He compared it to the ambitious Namami Gange programme of the central government in terms of its significance and importance and said that highest standard of professionalism should be adhered to in completion of the project.
Singh emphasised availability of senior functionaries of the executing agencies at the site of the work and said, if needed, a work audit of the targets achieved so far could be carried out.
Earlier, District Development Commissioner, Udhampur, Piyush Singla briefed about the progress of the ongoing developmental works and informed that due to the COVID-19 crisis, progress was slowed down but again it is picking up now.
Another functionary said ‘ghat’ development is going on in full swing and 25 per cent sewerage work has also been completed.