Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Friday called for putting in place an institutional mechanism to fully utilize the development and relief package announced by the Centre for J&K state. He issued strict directions to expedite the disbursement of cash assistance to victims of 2014 floods and for one-time settlement of families from PoK and Chammb Displaced Persons (DPs). “Spending the funds under the development package will be a formidable task and a test of the efficacy of our administrative machinery,” he stated. The Chief Minister said this while chairing a high-level meeting called to discuss the developmental package announced by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, recently during his visit to the summer capital. Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal Kumar Singh, Minister for Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs, Relief & Rehabilitation, Syed Basharat Bukhari, Minister for Finance, Labour & Employment and Culture, Dr. Haseeb A. Drabu, Advisor to the Chief Minister, Prof. Amitabh Mattoo, Chief Secretary, B. R. Sharma and Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, B. B. Vyas attended the meeting. The Chief Minister ordered constitution of a Ministerial Committee to make recommendations for consideration of the Cabinet on the various components of the package so that an efficient system is established which ensures that the funds are judiciously utilized for bringing about the transformation of the state on the development front. With a view to expediting the disbursement of relief to the victims of floods as also the one-time settlement of refugees from PoK and Chammb DPs, Mufti Sayeed also ordered the Committee to recommend modalities for speeding up the actual disbursement of cash relief in a transparent and time-bound manner. The other members of the Committee, which is scheduled to meet tomorrow, comprise Minister for Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs, Relief & Rehabilitation, Syed Basharat Bukhari, Minister for PHE, I&FC, Sukhnandan Kumar and Minister for Finance, Dr. Haseeb A. Drabu. Under the package, Rs.1200 crore have been allocated for providing cash assistance for completely and severely-damaged pucca and kutcha houses in the 2014 floods, besides Rs.2000 crore for permanent restoration of damaged infrastructure. A rehabilitation package of Rs. 2000 crore for one-time settlement of families from PoK and Chammb DPs has also been provided under the package. Briefing the Chief Minister about the disbursement of cash relief, the Finance Minister favoured a mechanism whereby the relief amount could be directly credited into the account of the intended beneficiary. He also favoured framing of a Comprehensive Disaster Management Plan which converges all aspects related to the package. Earlier, Commissioner / Secretary, Finance, Navin Kumar Chaudhary, spelled out various other components of the Prime Minister’s package including disaster management, employment package for Kashmiri Migrants, interest subvention in respect of traders and SSI unit-holders and World Bank-financed Jhelum-Tawi Reconstruction Project, which has been converted into 90:10 grant and loan dispensation.
2015 Kashmir Despatch