Srinagar, May 25: Expressing serious concern over the slow pace of developmental works in Jammu and Kashmir, the governor administration has directed the heads of departments to remove the bottlenecks for the execution of the works at the earliest.
Funds worth cores of rupees lapse annually due to its non-utilization in the state.
Despite clear directions for the timely utilization of funds, the developmental works suffer mainly due to the lackadaisical approach of the authorities.
An official document accessed by The Kashmir Monitor reveal that the Advisors to Governor, Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary to Finance Department, in a meeting with the administrative secretaries, expressed serious concern over the slow pace of developmental works.
“Principal Secretary expressed concern regarding the pace of expenditure during the first month of current financial, primarily due to the Model Code of Conduct. He emphasized the need to catch up with the lost time,” the document reads.
The Advisors directed all the administrative secretaries and deputy commissioners to point out “issues faced by them” in execution of the works in a time-bound manner.
Chief Secretary directed the deputy commissioners to identify causes of delay in the works in consultation with all the departments and resolve the problems.
“All the Advisors stated that allotment of works on nomination was highly undesirable. Principal Secretary Finance stated that such practice defeats the purpose of actual discovery of price and is against norms and canons of financial propriety, and should be strictly avoided,” the document reads.
Officials also pointed out that the bills are not being furnished on time for the incomplete projects. This was viewed seriously by the senior officers and administrative secretaries were requested to own up these works at the earliest.
Sources said the dismal performance under PMDP was also viewed seriously and departments were advised to identify and remove bottlenecks so that works under the project are executed on time.
Principal Secretary, Finance Department, Arun Kumar Mehta, also wrote to the district development commissioners to furnish the yearly district action plans.
“All district development commissioners shall initiate tendering process immediately after the end of model code of conduct to ensure that process is completed before March 31. The annual maintenance contract should be based on the rate of contract as per laid down rules and regulations,” the order reads.
No threat to Amarnath Yatra, says Joint Hurriyat
Srinagar, Jun 16: Joint Hurriyat on Sunday said there was no threat to the annual pilgrimage and urged the pilgrims and tourists visiting the state not to pay heed to any “false propaganda”.
They said people of the Valley will continue to retain and nourish the tradition of brotherhood and communal amity. The separatists under the banner of Joint Hurriyat comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yaseen Malik said a few media channels were running a “smear campaign and propaganda” about threat to the Amarnath Yatra and pilgrims in the Valley.
“Kashmiri people have never compromised on their tradition of hospitality, even in the toughest and trying times, and always played a friendly host, whether to a tourist or an Amarnath pilgrim who came to Kashmir,” the separatists said in a statement here.
“There is no threat to Amarnath Yatris from Kashmiris as reported by some mischievous media outlets from their cozy studios in New Delhi and these pilgrims are very much safe in the Valley,” it said.
Joint Hurriyat said the tourists and pilgrims visiting Kashmir can tell the “ground reality” and “expose” the sections of media who have adopted a “jingoistic approach” vis-a-vis Kashmir.
The leadership said tourists and Amarnath Pilgrims visiting Kashmir can go places of their choice and tell the actual ground reality to rest of the people across India and also expose these sections of Indian media who have adopted a jingoistic approach vis-a-vis Kashmir just to get their TRPs high.
The leadership said that some brains have always been working behind the scenes and framing policies to keep the people of India away from Kashmir, to be able to promote false propaganda about us and give justification for the reign of terror unleashed by forces and we on behalf of the entire people of Kashmir, Yatris and tourists should feel ensured that there is no threat or danger to their lives from Kashmiri’s and that they can perform their religious rituals without any worry.
The leadership appealed to the pilgrims and tourists not to pay heed to the false propaganda stories being run by a few Delhi-based news channels and instead focus on their Kashmir sojourn without any fear and intimidation.
Linking employers to skilled youth first charge of Employment Exchanges: Ganai
Srinagar, Jun 16: Advisor to the Governor, Khurshid Ahmed Ganai, today urged the Employment Department to provide all assistance to unemployed educated youth in the State in their hunt for jobs in the ever-expanding domestic and global markets.
He said the focus of employment exchanges should be on vocational guidance and career counseling and these exchanges should link the employer with the registered candidates.
The Advisor made these observations while reviewing the functioning of the Labour & Employment Department and especially the newly-launched Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan Yojana (PM-SYM).
Commissioner/ Secretary, Labour & Employment, Saurabh Bhagat, Labour Commissioner, Bashir Ahmad Khan, Director, EDI, Tufail Mattoo, Director Employment, Y. P. Suman, Managing Director Women’s Development Corporation, Nahida Soz, CEO, BOCWWB, Peer Muzaffar and all district and sectoral officers of the Labour & Employment Department were present on the occasion.
Asking the Department to take a cue from successful start-ups in the country like paytm, urban clap, housing.com etc, the Advisor said new innovative ideas shall help in establishment of enterprises that have greater scope and market acceptability.
Laying stress upon providing better working conditions to the working class, Ganai stressed upon strict implementation of labour laws to protect the interest of the labour community. He said the officers of the Department should be well-versed with labour laws and new legislations so that they are better enforced in the larger interest of the working and construction class.
While reviewing the newly-launched Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan Yojana, the Advisor asked the Department to closely monitor registration of workers in CICs. He suggested use of random checking to revalidate data which shall plug holes in computing errors while registering eligible persons.
Under PMSYM which offers regular pension to the labour class people after they attain the age of 60, as many as 56,313 registrations had been done and 46,927 cards printed so far in the State.
Presenting a detailed review of the three wings of the Labour & Employment Department, the Administrative Secretary briefed the Advisor about various schemes and welfare programmes launched for educated unemployed youth and the labour community. He informed the meeting about various schemes being implemented through J&K Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI).
The meeting was informed that during 2018-19, as many as 966 Self-Help Groups (SHGs) were registered which comprised 4188 engineers. As many as 2237 works worth Rs.191.54 crore were allotted to these SHGs.
Director EDI informed the meeting about Seed Capital Fund Scheme (SCFS), Youth Start-up Loan Scheme and giving term and education loans to youth through National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation. He said that projects worth Rs. 536.77 crore had been sanctioned under these schemes and as many as 13,464 enterprises were established generating employment for 43192 persons.
While briefing the Advisor about the initiatives on labour welfare, the Labour Commissioner said a payment gateway would soon be launched to make online contributions for the benefit of subscribers. He said concerted efforts are on to register new subscribers and complete the disbursement of backlog claims and make recoveries from the defaulters.
The meeting was informed that all 5.10 lakh Provident Fund accounts had been digitized and the scanning of important subscribers’ documents would be taken up in the next phase.
The Advisor appreciated the role of Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board (BOCWWB) in providing financial assistance to workers in the form of education and marriage assistance as well as in case of injury, death and permanent disability of workers.
The meeting was informed that against a corpus of Rs 899.66 crore, Rs. 371.79 crore were disbursed amongst construction workers since 2011. This includes education assistance amounting to Rs 266.82 crore, marriage assistance of Rs. 73.98 crore and death assistance amounting to Rs. 24.82 crore.
Boulevard bicycle service refuses to pedal on
Srinagar, Jun 16: The 2017 project to start a bicycle sharing service on the famed Boulevard road here is yet to see the light of the day.
In November 2017, the then minister of state for Housing and Urban development, Asiea Naqash had announced that the bicycle sharing service will be set around Dal Lake and its adjacent areas for tourists as part of the Smart City Project.
She had said that the service will help tourists in exploring the adjoining scenic spots and also generate employment avenues for the locals.
However, the service is yet to begun.
“Tourists especially foreigners enjoy experiencing the valley on two wheelers. Even before 90s, they used to rent cycles from private sources to explore Kashmir,” said adventure sports and travel consultant, Rauf Tramboo.
“This service could have proved as a major tourist attraction if started on Boulevard,” said Bashir Ahmad, 50, who runs a Kashmir Art shop at Dalgate.
If it had been started, the service could have been an eco-friendly and healthy solution to decongest the traffic on Boulevard.
The concerned authorities, however, feign ignorance about it.
“This project comes under Srinagar Smart City limited handled by the DC. I have no information regarding the current scenario for this service,” said PRO Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA), Muhammad Azhar, who, interestingly, was part of the meeting which addressed the modalities for introducing bicycle sharing back then.
Director tourism Kashmir Nisar Ahmed Wani said he was “not aware” of the project.
DC Srinagar, Shahid Choudhary was not available for comments.
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