Rejecting the allegations of discrimination in funds allocation to any region in the state, Minister for Planning & Development, Labour & Employment, Ajay Kumar Sadhotra today told the legislative assembly that as per the figures available every region has got its due in the financial allocations over the years.
The Minister said due to the efforts of the Chief Minister the centre has so far released Rs 1509 crore under Special Plan Assistance while as Rs 300 crore have been placed with Finance Department by the Planning Commission of India and another Rs 184 crore are in the pipeline. He said the Chief Minister has taken up with the centre to treat all centrally sponsored schemes on 90:10 ratio as was prevalent in the North Eastern states.
While giving details of the various big ticket projects coming up in the state, Sadhotra said Rs 772 crore greater Jammu water supply scheme has been formulated which will cater to the drinking water needs of the area for the coming 30 years. He said work on Rs 351 crore Jehangir Chowk-Rambagh flyover would start from next month and rehabilitation plan of the same is currently under consideration. Similarly he said Rs 95.50 crore Bikram Chowk flyover project was almost ready for take-off and so is the multi-storeyed parking project for Srinagar and Jammu cities.
As per a statement the Minister said M/S RITES has prepared a report of Rs 33000 crore traffic decongestion projects for Srinagar and Jammu which would soon be taken up with the Planning Commission. He said 90 projects under Economic Reconstruction Agency have been completed and 27 would be ready by September 2013. He said various other works are also under way under Prime Minister constituted Rs 150 crore Special Task Force. This year, he said, Rs 128 crore have been expended under BADP and Rs 42.30 crore under BRGF programmes in the state.
Wrapping up the discussion on demand of grants for the departments under his control, the minister said the figures available of 11th Five Year Plan indicate that there has been equal distribution of resources among various regions of the state. He said as per these figures 48.28% funds were allocated to Kashmir region while as Jammu received 47.26% and Ladakh region 4.46% of funds during the said five year plan. He said in terms of capital investment, Kashmir region received an investment of Rs 1858 per capita while as Jammu received Rs 2350 per capita and Ladakh region received Rs 4082 per capita investment during the said plan period. He said these figures should be eye opener for those creating the hoax of disparity in the distribution of funds. He said government is committed to the balanced development of all regions of the state and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has reiterated this time and again.
Terming District Development Boards (DDB) as an important constituent of planning process, the minister said government is making efforts to strengthen these institutions to further consolidate the concept of single line administration in the state which was introduced by late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in late 70’s. He said during the last three years, 2054 decisions were taken at various DDB meetings out of which 1388 decisions were implemented and 666 decisions are under various stages of implementation. The delay, he said, has been either due to financial implications or other technical reasons.
Sadhotra said Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has time and again stressed the need for monitoring and evaluation to ensure that funds percolate down to the ground without any pilferage at any level. He said for the first time in the State third party monitoring of projects has been introduced and a reputed agency like NABCONS has been engaged for the purpose. He said so far they have evaluated 109 projects and given reports while as 87 projects are under evaluation.
He said to strengthen accountability and make works target specific, Government has introduced the concept of Results Framework Document (RFD). This, he said, would not only improve accountability within the system but also help in evaluating the governance pattern.
On the issue of labour welfare, the Minister said daily wages of both skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers have been enhanced and hoped it would be further increased in coming years. He said under the Voluntary Service Allowance so far Rs 26 crore were spent and it would go up to Rs 48 crore till the end of this year. He said there are many incentives for worker families with the government and J&K Building Construction Workers Welfare Board has also many schemes for the welfare of working class.
Earlier, the Minister moved that a sum of Rs 3787.27 crore be granted to the government to defray the charges which will come in the course of payment during the year ending March 31, 2014.