Srinagar, Jan 01: Government of India has released Rs 23,275 crores out of the Rs 80,000-crore Prime Minister Development-Package (PMDP) announced for Jammu and Kashmir in November 2015.
Of it, the state government has, till November, spent Rs 19,887 crore, the official documents accessed by The Kashmir Monitor revealed.
A major chunk of the money, the documents say, has been spent by the state on upgrading the connectivity between Kashmir and Jammu.
Unlike other areas, projects approved by Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways have seen cent percent utilisation of the allotted funds, the documents show.
For instance, the 4-laning of Srinagar-Banihal, Qazigund-Banihal, Chenani-Nashri, and Jammu-Udhampur sections saw full expenditure of the released Rs 1774.72 crore, Rs 2151.60 crore, Rs 4700.47 crore, and Rs 2619.44 crore, respectively.
Similarly, on Udhampur-Ramban and Ramban-Banihal roads, the released Rs 598.61 crore and Rs 234.50 crore were spent entirely. The projects are undertaken by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
Interestingly, such speedy expenditure, the documents reveal, was not seen when it came to other intra-region connectivity projects largely undertaken by the state government.
As it stands, projects including Srinagar-Shopian-Qazigund (2-lane and bridges) and construction of semi ring roads in Srinagar and Jammu cities saw zero utilisation of the respective Rs 34.30 crore and Rs 4.14 crore released by the centre.
Similarly, when it comes to power, the J&K government did not utilise any of the Rs 654.70 crore released to the state under PMDP, even as the state, especially Kashmir, struggles to cope with the gap between the demand and supply of electricity.
The money, the documents say, should have been used for “augmentation of infrastructure for distribution systems including capital cities, tourist destinations” and was over and above the normal entitlement of J&K for other central schemes related to improving electricity.
Horticulture, among many other sectors, presented a similar picture as the state spent only Rs 46.86 crore of the released Rs 122.89 crore.
To mention, the state was supposed to add its 10 per cent share to the PM’s Development Package.
However, so far, the government has only released Rs 410 crores (20%) against the expected Rs 2,122 crore it was supposed to provide.
Upcoming snow spell: Avalanche warning issued for Kashmir, Ladakh districts
Srinagar, Jan 19: Kashmir areas experienced fresh snowfall on Saturday, with the weather office forecasting more in store for the next three days.
“A western disturbance (WD) is presently active over the state under whose influence moderate to heavy snowfall is likely to occur in the valley till January 23 after which the intensity of the WD will start decreasing,” a Met Department official said here.
District administrations have set up helplines to help prevent any untoward incident due to the heavy snowfall.
Meanwhile Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan Saturday issued fresh avalanche warning for nine avalanche prone districts of Kashmir division.
The warning has been issued for the avalanche-prone areas of district Anantnag, Kulgam, Budgam, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Ganderbal, Kargil and Leh.
As per the hand out, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir has directed the Deputy Commissioners of all these districts to advise the people living in avalanche prone areas not to venture out to avoid the loss of lives.
The Div Com also directed the concerned DC’s to take all the precautionary measures and to keep the SDRF, Police and Para-medical staff with ambulances in readiness to avert any untoward incident.
While the nightlong cloud cover increased minimum temperatures throughout the valley on Saturday, the maximum temperatures are expected to drop further, the weather official said.
Srinagar recorded minus 2.0 degrees Celsius, Pahalgam minus 4.4 and Gulmarg minus 7.0 as the minimum temperatures.
Leh town had minus 9.2 degrees Celsius and Kargil minus 18.9 as the night’s lowest temperature.
Jammu city recorded 8.3 degrees Celsius, Katra 9.1, Batote 3.9, Bannihal 2.3 and Bhaderwah 1.3 as the minimum temperatures.
UN clearly did its job: Guterres on Kashmir human rights report
United Nations: United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday hoped that India and Pakistan will engage in a “meaningful dialogue” to resolve their issues.
The UN chief also said he has been offering his “good offices in relation to the dialogue between the two countries that, until now, had no conditions of success.”
Guterres was speaking to reporters at the UN headquarters in New York.
“I hope that the importance of both India and Pakistan is such in international affairs, I hope that the two countries will be able to engage in a meaningful dialogue,” he said.
The UN chief was responding to a question on his repeated urging of dialogue between the two South Asian neighbours.
In relation to the human rights situation, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has produced recently a very detailed report. So, the UN has clearly done its job in that regard, Guterres said to a question by a Pakistan journalist on the situation in Kashmir.
Day after grenade attack, forces conduct search op in Lal Chowk
Srinagar: A joint search operation was launched by the forces and police in the commercial Hub Lal Chowk area of Srinagar on Saturday.
The search came a day after the grenade attack took place in the locality, which left a vehicle and windowpanes of some shops damaged.
Witnesses said that a large contingent of police and paramilitary troopers were deployed near the Clock Tower here while the frisking was also intensified.
They said that drones too were used during the operation.
However, a top police official said that it was a routine exercise ahead of upcoming Republic Day.