Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah Monday approved Rs. 109.47 crores Annual Plan 2013-14 for Jammu District which includes Capital component of about Rs. 66.96 crores and Revenue component of over Rs. 42.51 crores.
Chairing the District Development Board meeting of Jammu District of which he is also the Chairman, the Chief Minister dispelled the impression being created by certain quarters that the Union Government has curtailed the Annual Plan for 2013-14 for non-utilization of funds by the State Government during the last year and said that the average expenditure during the last year has been more than 90 per cent in all the districts across the State, Jammu figuring at the top of the list by realizing 99 per cent targets.
The Chief Minister said that Jammu and Kashmir is totally dependent on the Union Government for funding of Annual Plans, as such, the financial health at the Centre reflects on the fund flowing from the Government of India to the State. He said the Government of India maintained Rs. 7300 crore Annual Plan allocations for the State for the year 2013-14 despite financial constraints.
Omar said that sometimes he envies financially sound States of the Country which earmark thousands of crores for the development purposes including providing of 1 Kg ration at the rate of Rs. 1 to the people as these States do not depend on the Central support for announcing such schemes. “Till the time we achieve that position we have to bear the constraint”, he said adding that his Government has initiated measures to give financial strength to the State so that it could spent required sums on the specific development issues on its own.
Omar said that the State had to buy power for over Rs. 3600 crores annually and the total revenue realization as power tariff in the State is about Rs. 12 to 13 hundred crores. “The Planning Commission has placed a rider to the State to collect Rs. 2840 crores from power tariff for expending on development activities during the current fiscal”, he said and added that placing of such conditions makes the situation often more difficult.
The Chief Minister said that despite all odds on the financial front his Government is determined to move forward on road to progress and reach out every area for inclusive and equitable development. He said expansion programmes in health and education sectors have been chalked out for the current fiscal besides consolidation strategy.
On the development of Jammu, Omar praised the District Administration for achieving almost 100 percent targets and laid stress on ensuring outcomes of the development schemes rather than focusing on outputs. He said that this aspect has to be regularly monitored and people made aware of the outcomes of development programmes besides keeping them abreast with all details and financial status of schemes.
The Chief Minister said that the linking of railway to Katra would not hamper the economic activities in Jammu as the Jammu is the winter capital and second face of the State. He said moving of offices to this place annually from Srinagar will continue to generate economic activities here and maintain its significance as the capital of the State.
Omar said that Government is taking various measures to make Jammu a hub of pilgrim and conventional tourism. He said the Artificial Lake in River Tawi would be completed this year while the decks are being cleared to launch the ropeway project in Jammu City for which the Supreme Team has visited the area and its report for clearance of the project is expected soon. He also mentioned the restoration of Mubarak Mandi Heritage Complex and beautification of Rughnath Bazar adding that both the programmes are going on apace. “I have provided Rs. 50 lakh last year for the beautification of Rughnath Bazar and same amount would be provided this year”, he said adding that additional amount to complete this project would be earmarked as per its requirement.
The Chief Minister also mentioned other ongoing development works in Jammu Division and said that preliminary work on Chenab Water Supply project involving Rs. 500 crores is being conducted. He said the project has been put to Asia Development Bank funding by the ERA. He said work on flyover is going on and widening of B. C. Road project is under active consideration. He said construction of Basantpur-Satwari Canal has been got cleared and its construction and restoration is on cards. He said OPD Block of Super Speciality Medical College has already been made functional while IPD will be operationalized this year. He said Department of Oncology in the Super Speciality Hospital is also in offing.