Modi’s Kashmir challenge: Delays, red tape mar PM’s Rs 80,000-crore development package for Jammu and Kashmir

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New Delhi | Updated: August 27, 2018 12:18:34 PM

Three years down the line and big projects which were undertaken with much pomp and show stand incomplete and stuck at various stages

KASHMIR NARENDRA MODIBut, recruiting agencies are yet to complete the selection process. The state has also extended financial assistance of Rs 578 crore through Direct Benefit Transfer to 12,588 displaced families (of the 36,384) from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Chhamb.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of a Rs 80,000-crore development package for Jammu and Kashmir on November 7, 2015 from Sher-e-Kashmir cricket stadium in Srinagar was accompanied by a passionate mention of “Kashmiriyat, Jamhooriyat aur Insaniyat (Kashmiri culture, democracy, and humanity)”. “Kashmiriyat ke bina Hindustan adhura hai. (Without Kashmiriyat, India is incomplete),” the Prime Minister had said while announcing the mega package that was to change the face of the militancy-hit state and draw the disillusioned back into the mainstream.

Three years down the line and big projects which were undertaken with much pomp and show stand incomplete and stuck at various stages, The Indian Express reports. Official records accessed by IE show that several projects have been struggling to make progress due to an array of reasons that range from delay in preparation of detailed project reports, land acquisition, forest clearances and, in some cases, even release of funds from the Centre.

On the jobs front, the state government has created 3,000 jobs for Kashmiri migrants. But, recruiting agencies are yet to complete the selection process. The state has also extended financial assistance of Rs 578 crore through Direct Benefit Transfer to 12,588 displaced families (of the 36,384) from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Chhamb.

AIIMS and two IIMs, which account for another 7.5 per cent, are facing an acute crisis. Land has been acquired for an IIT and an IIM in Jammu. Students have also been enrolled. But IIM Jammu is functioning in the old campus of University of Jammu and the IIT from a transit campus. Forest land has been acquired for the two AIIMS in Jammu and Awantipora in Kashmir, and boundary walls are being constructed.

Power projects that make up another 15 per cent, have moved at a comparatively faster pace. The Pakal Dul 1,000 MW project and the Srinagar-Leh transmission line are on course. Of the 28 small hydropower projects estimated to cost a total of Rs 2,000 crore, a number of projects being executed by state-owned JAKEDA, are awaiting disbursal by the central government.

About PM’s special package for Kashmir

The package consists of 63 major development projects being implemented by 15 central ministries and the state government. Earlier in April, officials had said that thirty-one per cent of the Prime Minister’s Rs 80,000-crore development package for Jammu and Kashmir has been released to the state government and 25 per cent of the total amount utilised so far.

In March, a parliamentary standing committee had said in a report that the progress on implementing the Prime Minister’s development package had been slow and a “poor outcome” had been achieved in the past 12 months. Out of the total package, Rs 62,991 crore (79 per cent) has been sanctioned, Rs 24,443 crore (31 per cent) has been released and Rs 20,417 crore (25 per cent) has been utilised so far, a Home Ministry official said.

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