Equitable development of all regions core philosophy of coalition Government: Veeri
Roads vital for sound economic growth: R&B Minister
Govt pursuing construction of Zaznar-Chatapani tunnel with Centre for declaring Mughal Road a National Highway
SRINAGAR, JUNE 04: Minister of Public Works and Parliamentary Affairs, Abdul Rehman Veeri today said that despite having limited resources, the coalition Government is committed towards equitable development of all the three regions of Jammu and Kashmir.
Winding up the discussion on Demand of Grants for Public Works and Parliamentary Affairs in the House, Mr Veeri said that unlike other states of the country, like Haryana and Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir faces peculiar problems due to limited resources.
“Who wouldn’t like to transform the road sector of our state. The condition of our roads affects the efficiency and delivery of other sectors like tourism and horticulture, which are the backbone of our economy. If there is a wound on one’s hand, the whole body is in pain.,” Mr Veeri said.
The Public Works Minister said that due to limited resources, the state Governments have faced impediments in building new roads and upgrading the existing roads.
“But I assure this House that even with the limited pool of resources, there will be no disparity in the allocation of funds. I realise the pressure that the MLAs face in their constituencies. I have been a member of this House for 18 years. I know we have to deliver on promises made to the people. And I assure you that our Government will leave no stone unturned to work for the welfare of people without any political considerations,” Mr Veeri said in the House.
Asserting that better road connectivity is pivotal for bringing speedy socio-economic transformation in the state, Mr Veeri described R&B as a core sector that lends support to and boosts activities of other departments.
“To set J&K on the path of investment, we need infrastructure planning and timely delivery to improve the living standard of our citizens across the State,” the Minister said, adding that there is fundamental link between sound infrastructure and productive economy.
Appreciating Members for giving valuable suggestions regarding developmental activities to be taken up in the State, the Minister assured them that the points raised by them would be taken care of. He said steps would be taken to make R&B Department efficient, responsive and accountable.
Giving details of damage to R&B infrastructure in the state in 2014-floods, the Minister said nearly 6000 km of road length and 600 bridges were fully or partially damaged in the deluge.
“Upgradation of roads in cities and towns was started on war footing and up to ending March 2016, 1810 km of road length across the state has been covered under macadamization program. Permanent restoration of 202 bridges was sanctioned at a cost of Rs. 259.85 crore under Prime Minister’s Package for Flood damaged Infrastructure. Work on 87 bridges stands completed ending March 2016 and work on remaining bridges is expected to be completed during the current fiscal”, he said.
He also said the agreement with the World Bank has been finalized and nearly Rs. 500 crores have been proposed for restoration of roads and bridges.
Giving details of work done under PMGSY, the Minister said in phase I-IX, 1301 schemes were completed and 6609.43 km of road length was constructed and upgraded at a cost of Rs 3235.57 per km.
Mr Veeri said 85 habitations were connected during 2015-16 and another 150 habitations are planned to be connected this year. He said under PMGSY, 572 schemes costing about Rs 3528.98 crore have been sent to Centre which are awaiting final sanction in Phase X.
The R&B Minister said to decongest twin capitals, two ring roads around cities of Srinagar and Jammu with aggregate length of 118 km has been approved by the Centre under PM’s package at a cost of Rs 3600 crore.
The Minister said ‘Special Bridge Programme’ is being implemented by the R&B Department under Capex Budget.
“Presently 488 bridges are under construction in the state, which are at various stages of completion. During 2015-16, 30 bridges have been completed and similar number of bridges is expected to be completed during 2016-17.
“To complete all pending projects, there is requirement of nearly Rs 665 crore, therefore bridges for Rs 500 crore are being proposed for funding to the Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways,” he said.
Expressing happiness over getting highest ever sanctions during 2015-16 under Central Road Fund, the Minister said 25 road and bridge projects were approved by Union Ministry at Rs 785.56 crores under the project.
“Out of total 150 sanctioned schemes, 69 schemes have been completed. The number of ongoing schemes is 81 which includes 25 schemes sanctioned during 2015-16,” he added.
The Minister said the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has recently declared a number of new National Highways including the Kargil-Zanskar road, Srinagar-Shopian-Qazigund road and Jammu-Akhnoor-Poonch road.
“Under Prime Minister’s Development Package for J&K (TAMEIR) nearly Rs 42000 crore has been earmarked for various National Highway projects including tunnels.
He said many road projects such as four lanning of NH-44 are in progress. “The road packages from Udhampur to Ramban and Ramban to Banihal have been recently allotted and work has been started.”
He said JKPCC being the premier construction corporation of the State is currently engaged in executing about 428 works at a total cost of Rs. 4400 crore comprising 100 bridges, besides several major road and building projects. He said about 10 bridges would be completed during the current fiscal by the corporation.
The Minister said Mechanical Engineering Department provided maintenance of machinery during the snow clearance operations, adding that 6413 km of road length were covered for snow clearance during the last winter season.
Mr. Veeri said that out of 1262 approved NABARD schemes, 517 road projects have been completed so far, while as 129 projects costing Rs. 533 crore have been recommended out of which 96 projects of Rs. 355.82 crore have been sanctioned by the NABARD during last financial year.
To declare the Mughal Road as an alternative highway, Mr. Veeri said the Government is vigorously pursuing the construction of a tunnel between Zaznar and Chatapnai at a cost of Rs 3500 crore with the Centre.
Stating that it was a dream of Late Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed to refurbish the tourism sector in the state, the Minister said the R&B Department will focus on improving access roads to tourist destinations across the state
“A road length of 175 kms was macadamized at an estimated cost of Rs 96 crore”, the R&B Minister added.
Later, the House passed grants of Public Works (R&B) and Parliamentary Affairs Department, for the year 2016-17, which were moved by the Minister, amounting to Rs 2539.12 crore and Rs. 42.97 crore with voice vote.
Earlier, the members who took part in the discussion on demand of grants included Shamim Firdous, Shah Mohammad Tantray, Ranbir Singh Pathania, G.M Saroori, Er. Abdul Rasheed, Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen, Mian Altaf Ahmad, Abdul Majeed Paddar, M. Y. Tarigami, Bashmir Ahmad Dar, Kuldeep Raj, Ajaz Ahmad Khan, Pawan Kumar Gupta, Abdul Rahim Rather, Ch. Mohammad Akram, Rajiv Jasrotia, Usman Majid, Ravinder Raina, Ishfaq Ahmad Sheikh, Mohammad Khalil Bandh, Javed Rana, Deldan Namgial, Yawar Ahmad Mir, Mumtaz Ahmad, Kamal Verma, Aijaz Ahmad Mir, Vikar Rasool Wani, Mohammad Amin Bhat, Jewan Lal, Raja Manzoor, Abdul Rasheed Dar and Nawang Rigzin Jora.
The members, who moved the Cut Motions on the Grants, withdrew after the satisfactory reply from the Minister.