Mehbooba stresses on strict adherence to project timelines

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SRINAGAR: Asking J&K ERA (Economic Reconstruction Agency) to strictly adhere to fixed timelines, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, today passed instructions to the Planning Department to monitor the pace of work on a fortnightly basis.
She also called for devising an effective mechanism which binds contractors to delivering the projects on time, as the State government cannot afford any spill-over of externally-aided projects funded by ADB (Asian Development Bank) to the State Plan, if they stretch beyond March 31, 2017.  “J&K ERA should mobilize men and machinery to ensure that there is no delay in commissioning of the projects within fixed timelines,” she added.   
The Chief Minister passed these directions while chairing a high-level meeting to review the progress of works taken up by J&K ERA under Loan I & II, funded by ADB under its Multi-Tranche Funding Pattern.
Asking ERA to broaden the scope of its activities, the Chief Minister observed that the Special Purpose Vehicle was created with the primary objective to fast-track urban infrastructure projects for creation of durable assets as well as becoming a model for other executing agencies in successfully implementing the infrastructure projects. She further added that given the limited financial resources available, it will be difficult for the State government to take over ongoing ADB projects if they are not completed within the stipulated timeframes.  “FC P&M will monitor the ongoing works on fortnightly basis to ensure that there is no further delay and that all ongoing projects are fully completed on time,” she stressed and added that she will chair the next full review of ERA projects in the month of July.
Some of the prestigious projects reviewed by the Chief Minister today included Jahangir Chowk-Rambagh Expressway Corridor in Srinagar, Bikram Chowk Flyover at Jammu, Landfill Site at Achan Srinagar, 30 MLD Sewerage Treatment Plant at Jammu, construction of OHTs and replacement of worn-out PHE pipes both at Srinagar and Jammu, besides projects relating to sewerage and drainage and capacity building of sectors like H&UD and PHE departments as well as equipment for delivery mechanism under municipal functions. 
On current status of work on prestigious flyovers in the two capital cities, for which an amount of Rs.385 crore have been sanctioned, FC P&M informed the Chief Minister that ERA is expediting the pace of work so that these are positively completed by March, 2017. He said the project received a setback due to 2014 floods as heavy machinery involved in its construction was totally submerged. 
Referring to the direction given by the Chief Minister during a meeting chaired by her on traffic management earlier this month, CEO ERA said most of the existing roads around the Jahangir Chowk-Rambagh Express Corridor have been macadamized, which will go a long way in the smooth movement of traffic.  He also said that the work on the Grade Separator being constructed near Radio Station will be completed within the adhered time-frame.  
On multi-level car parking, which is coming up at KMD in Srinagar, CEO ERA said the work is going on in the right earnest and will be completed by July this year. He also presented a detailed status report on projects completed in Loan I under MSPIRJK (Multi-Sector Project for Infrastructure Rehabilitation), in which 117 sub projects were taken up at a cost involving Rs.1611 crore. As many as 107 of these sub projects have been completed which include works related to augmentation of water supply, drainage & sanitation, equipment and roads and bridges.
In ongoing Loan II for which fund flow started in 2007, ERA is executing works under Urban Sector Development & Investment Programme (USDIP) which have to be completed by March 31, 2017. Under the multi-tranche financing facility, an amount of Rs.1694 crore will be spent in solid waste management, urban transport, capacity building and equipment for PHE and Municipal Corporations.                  
The meeting was informed that as compared to expenditure made to the tune of Rs.153.61 crore in 2014-15, an amount of Rs. 305.51 crore have been utilized in the financial year 2015-16 under USDIP.    
While obtaining status of work on Landfill Site at Achan, Mehbooba Mufti directed Commissioner SMC to cover all commercial areas of the city in Phase I of waste segregation by May 30 this month. In Phase II, she said the scope of solid waste management may be broadened by involving around 1.50 lakh households in the summer capital over the next three months. The Chief Minister observed that option of involving private companies may be explored for waste segregation under their Corporate Social Responsibility. 
The Chief Secretary informed the meeting that Central government has sanctioned a project of Rs.90 crore, out of which Rs.20 crore have already been released for segregation of waste at source, to meet the condition fixed by the ADB for funding future tranches under externally-aided projects. 
While Cell I at Achan landfill site has been filled, capped and closed, Cell II is currently in use and will last for the next three months.
On future projects, FC P&M suggested that given the delivery capacity of ERA, it will be advisable if loans around Rs.2000 crore are envisaged under urban infrastructure development and capacity building.  
Chief Secretary, B. R. Sharma, Financial Commissioner, Planning & Monitoring Department, B. B. Vyas, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Navin K. Chaudhary, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Asgar Hassan Samoon, IGP Traffic, Viplav Kumar, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Farooq Ahmad Lone, Commissioner, SMC, Bashir Khan, CEO ERA, Vinod Sharma and SSP Traffic Srinagar, Maqsood-uz-Zaman attended the meeting.

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