Regional Disparity: Jammu retains lion’s share in Govt. funding


Srinagar: Notwithstanding the government claims of equitable development in all the three regions of the state, the apparent discrimination with Srinagar has only worsened. Leave apart the traditional lion’s share being given to Jammu, this time the summer capital has been granted even lesser funds than what other districts of Kashmir like Anantnag and  Baramulla were given.
This is atleast true for the decisions taken at the recently held district board meetings where Srinagar figured at the bottom of the funding for development activities.
While annual plan for Jammu is more than Rs 200 Crores, almost half of it, Rs 100 Crores has been approved for Srinagar. This time Srinagar even lags behind districts in the north and south of Kashmir.
On May 12, while chairing the district board meeting for Anantnag, Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu approved an annual plan of Rs 186 crore plan for the district.
On May 16, Minister for Public Works and Parliamentary Affairs, Abdul Rehman Veeri chaired the District Development Board Pulwama, Board and approved current year’s plan outlay of Rs 119.86 crore for the district.
If this was the scene of districts in the south, the annual plan for the north was no less.
On May 11, the District Development Board chaired by Minister for Rural Development,  Law Justice  and Panchayat Raj    Abdul Haq,  approved Annual Plan outlay of Rs231.36 crore for District Baramulla for the current financial year.
But Srinagar got nothing beyond “peanuts.” On “May 21, after deliberating for nearly six hours, the DDB headed by the Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti  approved an Annual “CAPEX Budget” of Rs 100.29 crore for 2016-17.
In her maiden address as Chairman of DDB Srinagar, she said the summer capital would continue to receive” focused attention vis-a-vis proper sewerage and drainage network, restoration of encroached public spaces to decongest city centre, improving connectivity by upgradation of roads, fortifying embankments and dredging of Jhelum river so that the destruction inflicted by 2014 floods is not repeated.”
But there were little takers of the government claims even inside the boardroom. Official handout confirmed that leave apart opposition, even the PDP MLA’s complained of discrimination with Srinagar. While senior National Conference leader and MLA Khanyar, Ali Muhammad Sagar  told the Chief Minister that there was no fun of holding the board meeting when Srinagar was being given peanuts, some of the PDP MLA’s particularly Syed Altaf Bukhari seconded the viewpoint.
“Bukhari agreed with his colleagues in the meeting that the approved district plan outlay of only Rs 102 Crores is ‘very insufficient’ as compared to district plan outlays approved for other districts of the State,” said a handout issued by the former minister.
The summer capital continues to get a raw deal in funding for development works, notwithstanding the PDP-BJP government’s Common Minimum Program (CMP) that “assures” equitable and balanced development in all parts of State.
As the incumbent regime is banking on obsolete methods to work-out the district-sector allocations, Srinagar is again at receiving end. On the other hand, Jammu is getting highest funding among 22 districts of the State at Rs 200 crore.
“What is shocking is that few districts having only 15-30 percent of Srinagar’s population walked away with more funds than Srinagar itself,” an official confirmed.
Officials said that Srinagar is getting least funding under the district-sector for development works, over the years. “This discrimination in fund allocation had been happening for the past few years.  But this time it is worst,” said an official of the Finance Department asking not be named.

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