Road Revamp Projects Would Gain Momentum: Akhtar

JAMMU: Stressing upon officials to meet deadlines and show quick results on ground, Minister for Public Works (PWD) Naeem Akhtar on Saturday said road revamp projects would gain momentum across Jammu and Kashmir in coming days.

The Minister while speaking during a maiden review meeting of the Department here this morning said the coalition Government is committed to the equitable development of all Jammu and Kashmir, an official spokesperson said.

He said providing connectivity, construction of quality and safe roads, bridges and tunnels for sustainable and inclusive socio-economic growth is the top priority for the Government and the works would be carried out strict deadlines and with proper follow-up from the Department.

“You (officials) must gear up for providing quick positive results on ground,” he said. “We should develop a foolproof mechanism for completing the works in time-bound manner,” he added.

The Minister directed officials to make the process of execution of works hassle-free, saying that planning, construction, up-gradation and maintenance of roads, bridges and buildings must be the concern for all the officials of the Department.

“Providing connectivity to unconnected habitations has to be our first objective,” he said.

Akhtar said in order gain movement in the ongoing developmental era, the culmination of prestigious projects would help the Government to provide good governance to the people of the State.

“PWD needs a professional touch and the Government will do everything to revamp this vital department,” he said.

“We will have to follow the procedural limitations and our core aim should be to develop transparent working culture in the department,” he added.

The Minister asked the officials to review the long pending construction and developmental projects and adhere to the set deadlines for their completion.

The meeting was informed that Central Road Fund (CRF) – a Central sector scheme, is primarily focused for development of State Roads & Bridges including projects of Inter State Connectivity and economic importance.

The funding under CRF is made by Government of India out of the accruals on account of cess collected on sale of petrol and diesel.  Officials informed the meeting that during the 2015-16, 25 schemes at an estimated cost of Rs 785.56 crore have been sanctioned by GoI.

“Inter State Connectivity is an important sub component of CRF funding. Construction of 1210 mtr span double lane RCC bridge over Ravi River at village Keerian–Gandial (Kathua) has been sanctioned by GoI and taken up at an estimated cost of Rs 158.84 crore under the scheme,” they said.

They said that one major road project viz, improvement/up-gradation of Bhaderwah Chamba road (Km 8th to Km 50th) stands already sanctioned at Rs 73.33 crore. Till date GOI has released Rs 70.32 Cr and the road project is being completed shortly.

Divulging details about the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), the officials said that the scheme was launched in December 2000 as a fully funded CSS to provide all weather road connectivity in rural areas of India.

“The programme envisages connecting all eligible unconnected habitations with a population of 500 persons and above in plain area and 250 persons and above in hilly areas/states,” they said, adding “J&K State is in the hilly category as such all the habitations having 250 plus population qualify for the connectivity.”

The Minister said that infrastructure deficit has been persistent in the State because of its topography. He said that PWD could be a vital department in bridging the gap and help the State to emerge on the infrastructure front.

‘Will Turn JKPCC Into Mega-job Providing Agency’

Soon after assuming charge as Minister for Public Works, (PWD), Naeem Akhtar, on Saturday said the government would put in all possible efforts to ensure transparency in the functioning of Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation Ltd (JKPCC).

The Minister while speaking during a maiden review meeting of the department here, affirmed that government would work to further strengthen the Corporation and turn it into a mega job providing agency, an official spokesperson said.

 “I have had a brief experience of working with the Corporation and I know this Corporation has a huge potential to become a mega job provider in the State,” he said. “The Corporation can also be viable for the large pool of unemployed engineers, whose services could be utilized for the state’s development.”

Akhtar asked the officials to prepare a ‘Growth Plan’ for the Corporation and provide a sketch to the Government on how the organization could be revamped on a large scale.

He called for taking the agency to the national level. He said an organization of this size which has been able to generate Rs 400 crore could be pushed to generate Rs 4000 crore revenue.

He asked the J&K Projects Construction Corporation officials to work on the convergence model and pool in all the efforts for bringing transparency and viability of the projects undertaken by it.

“Pool all your expertise and intellectual knowledge for making the Corporation viable,” he said adding that all the projects undertaken should be thoroughly reviewed and studied by the core competent team and bring in positive developments to its functioning.

Akhtar asked the officials that the arbitrary allotment of works must be stopped immediately and e-tendering process should be followed to maintain quality and ensure timely execution of projects.

He said the Corporation should adopt pro-active approach and enhance the functioning of the JKPCC in order to lay hands on the national and international projects.

He further asked the Corporation strictly adhere to all the codal formalities including e-tendering process for execution of all types of work.

He said that measure aimed at bringing transparency in the working of the Corporation would be initiated. “JKPCC should be showcase of our workmanship and it will help us in bringing transparency into the system,” he asserted.

The meeting was informed that 428 works were under execution across the state with 157 in Jammu region and 271 in Kashmir region which are being done with an estimated cost of Rs 4386.55 crore.

 Later, the Minister expressed concern over the delay in completion of several projects being executed by JKPCC. “You have a team of professionals which must work under deadlines for proper execution of works,” he asked the concerned.

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