Laying emphasis on use of latest technology and building capacities to complete ongoing projects within the stipulated timelines, Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Monday highlighted the need to broaden the scope of funding under externally-aided projects by bringing vital sectors like housing, health and education within its ambit. He also called for strategising a plan that holds contractors accountable to deliver the projects within the stipulated timeframe and ensures that EFPs (Externally-Funded Projects) by Asian Development Bank (ADB) do not spill-over to the State Plan beyond March 31, 2017 which is the timeline fixed by ADB to complete the projects. The Chief Minister said this while chairing two separate meetings today during which he reviewed progress of development projects taken up by ERA under Loan I and II, financed by ADB under a multi-tranche funding pattern and those being executed by JKPCC. Minister for Finance & Culture, Dr. Haseeb A. Drabu, Minister for Public Works, Floriculture, Gardens & Parks, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari, Chief Secretary, B. R. Sharma, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, B. B. Vyas, Principal Secretary, Relief & Rehabilitation, Sandeep Nayak, Commissioner / Secretary, School Education, Shaleen Kabra, Commissioner / Secretary, R&B, Rohit Kansal, Commissioner / Secretary, Higher Education, Sarita Chauhan, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Asgar Hasan Samoon, Commissioner SMC, Showkat Ahmad Zargar, Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Farooq Ahmad Lone, CEO ERA, Vinod Sharma and MD, JKPCC, Dalip Thussu attended the meetings. Stressing upon creation of durable assets in urban infrastructure sector, Mufti Sayeed called for expanding the scope of institutional finance by ADB and focusing on other international financing agencies, including ADB, which will enable the government to source money in housing, education and health sectors as well. He illustrated the case of Dal dwellers who are being relocated in Rakh-e-Arth, Bemina, for which a project can be conceived under housing sector that can be taken up for execution under EFPs. The rehabilitation of Dal dwellers is not part of the Dal Conservation Plan and is largely funded through State Plan and BSUP (Basic Services for Urban Poor), a component of erstwhile JNNURM and now rechristened AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation), a Centrally-sponsored scheme. ERA is executing projects, particularly aimed at expanding basic services in sewerage, drainage, R&B and water supply sectors and transferring these to the line agencies after commissioning. Asking ERA not to compromise with the quality of execution of works, the Chief Minister emphasised upon holding contractors accountable so that all ongoing projects are completed by March 31, 2017, a deadline fixed by ADB. Highlighting the criticality of executing these ADB-funded projects within the stipulated timelines, the Finance Minister apprised the Chief Minister that failure to do so will make it very difficult for the state to allocate funds for completion of such projects as its resources are limited. Nine spilled over projects of Loan I are being funded through State Plan. These projects include construction of overhead and sedimentation tanks, replacement of worn out pipes, widening and up-gradation of roads and construction of bridges. While reviewing progress on various ongoing projects, Mufti Sayeed ordered revisiting the multi-tier parking at old KMD Bus Stand at Lal Chowk, which has a carrying capacity for only 288 vehicles, whereas the realistic requirement is far beyond what has been conceived. On the issue of disposal of solid waste and garbage, the Chief Minister asked the Chief Secretary to finalise landfill site at Jammu so that a solid waste management project akin to that at Achan, in the summer capital, is conceptualised. Briefing the Chief Minister about funds availed under Loan I & II by ADB, CEO ERA said that out of the Rs.3326.45 crore released so far, Rs.2350 crore have been expended. While in Loan I, ERA took up 117 projects under MSPIRJK (Multi-Sector Project for Infrastructure Rehabilitation) in urban and transport sectors worth Rs.1611 crore including counterpart funding of Rs.486 crore, in ongoing Loan II, the agency is implementing J&K Urban Sector Development Investment Programme (JKUSDIP), a multi-tranche financing facility (MFF) to achieve enhanced and sustainable economic growth. In Loan II, ADB has sanctioned in three separate tranches loan of Rs.1195.99 crore with counterpart funding of Rs.519.46 crore. Approved on May 31, 2007, the implementation period of JKUSDIP has been fixed at 9 years and 10 months and is to be completed by March 31, 2017. Some of the prestigious projects under execution in Loan II by ERA are sanitary landfill site at Achan for scientific disposal of waste, 30 MLD sewerage treatment plant in Jammu, expressway corridors from Jehangir Chowk to Rambagh in Srinagar and Bikram Chowk at Jammu and procurement of water tankers and solid waste management equipment for building capacities under municipal functions. December 2016 is the timeline for completion of most of these projects. In a separate meeting, Mufti Sayeed also reviewed the functioning of JKPCC during which he passed instructions for framing a list of projects which are expected to be completed this year. He also called for administrative restructuring to infuse new life and efficiency into the working of state’s premier construction company. “JKPCC needs to rejuvenate itself by closing all those units which are unviable,” he stated. The meeting was informed that JKPCC has 27 field formations across the state with 13 in Kashmir and 14 in Jammu divisions. Advising JKPCC to engage a strategic partner and improve client relationship, the Finance Minister said the company needs to venture into big projects where it can make enough profits to become a self-reliant institution. “JKPCC needs to focus on corporate governance and explore possibilities of institutional financing,” he added. The Minister for Public Works assured the Chief Minister of revitalising the JKPCC by initiating the process of restructuring, adding that the corporation would need handholding and support from the government at least for two years. Some of the big projects being executed by JKPCC include the new Legislature Complex at Jammu and hospitals at Anantnag, Baramulla and Sopore. Works completed under Loan I of ADB by J&K ERA include • JAMMU 157 km of road length widened and upgraded, 09 bridges completed, 336 km water pipeline laid, 53 water storage reservoirs commissioned, AND Water generation capacity enhanced by 32 MGD. • KASHMIR 441-km of road length widened, 20 Bridges completed, 87.2 km of water pipeline laid, 05 water treatment plants commissioned and Water generation capacity enhanced by 26 MGD.
2015 Kashmir Despatch