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.
RTIs can be filed locally in J&K, Ladakh even after October 31: Jitendra Singh
Union minister Jitendra Singh on Monday rejected rumours that people in Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh will have to travel to Delhi to file RTIs once the two union territories come into existence on October 31 and said they can still be filed locally.
Singh, who is also the minister of state incharge of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) — which is the nodal department for Central Information Commission (CIC) dealing with the Right to Information (RTI) appeals — met Central Information Commissioner Sudhir Bhargava.
Following a detailed discussion on the issue with Bhargava, Singh said that “certain vested elements which are uncomfortable with the abrogation of Article 370 and reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, continue to instigate different kinds of misgivings in the society, in a vain bid to disrupt the courageous initiative by the Modi government”.
The minister said that RTIs can be filed locally in the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh even after the new arrangement comes into existence after the October 31. He denounced the rumours that because Jammu and Kashmir will become a Union territory, the applicant will have to travel to Delhi to file an RTI.
Singh claimed that during the last five years, “the procedures to file an RTI appeal have been immensely simplified and definite timelines have been laid down”. This will apply equally to Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh after they become Union territories, he said.
Divulging details, Singh said that the first RTI application is made to the Public Information Officer (PIO) locally and in matters involving “life and liberty”, the time limit for the PIO to provide the information is 48 hours. “For the PIO to reply to the application, a timeline of 30 days has been laid down from the date of receipt of the application. “For applicant to make first appeal after the receipt of PIO’s reply, the first appellate authority in the form of the designated officer will also be available locally, whether it is the State or Union territory,” he said.
Only in case of second appeal, Singh said the application has to be submitted to the Information Commission and even if the Information Commissioner is not available locally, in case of Union territory, the second appeal can be sent to the CIC online within 90 days from the receipt of the first appeal orders or from the date the orders were to be received. “To make the procedure simpler, we made use of modern technology and in a major breakthrough, during the Modi government, provided the facility of making second appeal before the CIC through portal/WhatsApp, which, in other words, means that an RTI applicant does not have to wait for office hours and can file his appeal even from his mobile phone anytime, at his convenience,” the minister said.
After the reorganisation or Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, Singh said that the citizens’ participation will increase manifold and various provisions in public administration will become far more citizen-centric with the extension of uniformed central laws, as applicable in the rest of the country.
Union Minister R K Singh to visit Kashmir to review development work in power sector
New Delhi: Union Power and New and Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh will visit Kashmir tomorrow to review different development projects in the power sector in Jammu and Kashmir.
After the abrogation of Article 370, this will be the first visit of R K Singh to Kashmir.
Singh in an exclusive interview to ANI said that NHPC will provide jobs to 150 local skilled people. Powergrid Corporation is going for campus selection from different technical institution in Valley. Powergrid Corporation also takes up school smart learning programme.
“From this year, people in Kashmir will not face a power crisis in the winter season. The ministry is working towards providing 24×7 power supply to the Valley.
Secretary of power and Jammu and Kashmir administration will call a meeting of all contractors and ensure that works under various central government scheme progresses fast and are completed within the given timeline.
The government of India is spending more than 300 crores to provide uninterrupted power supply during the winter season in Valley,” he told ANI.
He further said that the Power Finance Corporation and Rural Electrification corporation will spend 20 crores on skill development in Kashmir.
The minister also said that 100 MW rooftop solar plant in Ladakh region and Leh district will be lighting with green energy.
Singh has given instructions to officials that a comprehensive power plan should be prepared within a time frame so that entire J-K and Ladakh doesn’t suffer power shortage.
After the abrogation of Article 370 that accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir, 10 central government ministeries have made massive and speedy development plans for J-K and Ladakh. The power ministry is one of those 10 central ministries which has made mega development plan for entire region.
Expansion of Election Department: SAC approves creation of 127 posts
SRINAGAR, SEPTEMBER 16: The State Administrative Council (SAC) which met under the chairmanship of Governor, Satya Pal Malik approved creation of 127 posts of Election Assistants in the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer.
The posts include 50 posts of Election Assistant (Senior Scale) in Level 4 (Rs 25500-81100) and 77 posts of Election Assistant (Junior Scale) in Level 2 (Rs 19900-63200).
Creation of posts will help to implement the various initiatives of the Election Commission of India like ERONET, BLONET, District Contact Centre and other new initiatives, besides, addressing the promotion issues of the departmental candidates.
With the positioning of incumbents against these posts, the Election Department will be better equipped to provide efficient and timely services to the electors of J&K to complete time bound assignments like updation of electoral rolls, enrolment of new voters, weeding out bogus/duplicate voters, providing of EPIC cards etc.