CM holds meeting with DCs, HoDs of Kashmir Valley

Asking Deputy Commissioners not to lose focus on the kitty of funds allocated under Centrally-Sponsored Schemes (CSSs), Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Tuesday issued instructions to ensure release of State share to the districts, enabling the Deputy Commissioners to access the Central share of funding for achieving both physical and financial targets fixed during the District Development Board (DDB) meetings.

Since 50 per cent of the Rs.6000 crore kitty under CSSs has been earmarked for education sector alone, he also passed instructions for approaching MHRD to convene its meeting of the Project Approval Board (PAB) so that funds under Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan  (SSA) are sanctioned at the earliest. 

The Chief Minister issued these directions while chairing a high-level meeting to review implementation of decisions taken in the DDB meetings, stock position of essential supplies and commodities, solid waste management plans and flood protection measures. 

Minister for Finance & Culture, Dr. Haseeb A. Drabu, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Asgar Hassan Samoon, Director General, Information & PR, Zaffar Ahmad, Development Commissioner Power, Gul Ayaz, besides DCs and HoDs of Kashmir valley attended the meeting. 

The meeting began with Divisional Commissioner presenting a brief overview about the status of board decisions, snow preparedness, stock position of various essentialities with particular reference to Ladakh and far-flung areas.

The Chief Minister was informed that out of the 223 DDB decisions, 59 have been implemented while 163 are at various stages of implementation. It was given out that 112 snow-clearance machines have been deployed and buffer stocks of 1 lakh tonnes of food-grain and 1 lakh LPG cylinders are available to meet the demand in the peak winter season. “The LPG stock will be raised to 4 lakh cylinders to meet the requirement of consumers in winter,” he informed the meeting.

Referring to the colossal damage inflicted by the devastating floods of September 2014, the Chief Minister said that flood prevention measures have become imperatively necessary to avert loss of life and property in future. He referred to the component of funds earmarked for flood protection and management under the Prime Minister’s Development Package announced recently.

According top-most priority to the flood management initiative of the government, Mufti Sayeed instructed I&FC Department to firm up a ‘Comprehensive Flood Management Plan’ which factors in all the elements required to not only substantially increase the carrying capacity of the rivers and spill-over channels but also takes care of the fortification of river banks. “The Plan should be prioritized so that it is placed before the Cabinet for consideration at the earliest,” he said, while emphasizing that the allocation of resources for achieving this objective would not be a constraint.

While taking district-wise review of the progress made in implementation of various CSSs, Mufti Sayeed was informed about the non-release of Central share under SSA and RMSA by Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) because of the delay in holding of PAB meeting.

The Chief Minister directed Education Department to take immediate measures for expediting the release of Central share under RMSA and SSA so that funds earmarked could be optimally utilized.

Mufti Sayeed noted with satisfaction the progress achieved in implementation of MNREGA, particularly after convergence by linking it with other sectors. However, he also registered his concern on low levels of expenditure, keeping in view the limited working season in Kashmir Division as only one quarter is left in the current financial year.     

While taking review of the health and education sectors, Mufti Sayeed stated that given the paucity of resources, a portion of under-construction sub-district hospitals could be made functional to provide the required healthcare services. He also asked DC Ganderbal to expedite the transfer of land with Animal Husbandry Department to the Central University in lieu of the land to be provided by the university.

 While expressing concern over complaints of non-adherence to curtailment schedule by Power Development Department (PDD), the Chief Minister directed Development Commissioner (DC) Power to strengthen its transmission system so that requirement of power in peak hours is ensured. “Curtailment schedule has to be strictly adhered to. The department should run a drive against misuse and pilferage of power so that it is judiciously used,” he said, while emphasizing upon strengthening the enforcement wing of the department.

Against demand of 1600 MW in winter to provide 24×7 power supply, PDD is able to deliver only 1200 MW given the transmission infrastructure with the department in the valley. Nearly 51 per cent the households in Kashmir Division are metered so far, the meeting was informed.

It was decided in the meeting that PDD must strictly implement the notified schedule of load shedding by an eight-hour cut in non-metered areas and a three-hour cut in metered areas so that people do not face any hardship in the event of unscheduled power cuts.

Following up on the Cabinet decision which sanctioned Rs.29.50 crore for realignment of houseboats in the Dal Lake, the Chief Minister was informed by VC LAWDA that 380 houseboats will be shifted and aligned at Doldum with 76 adjusted in each of the five bays by undertaking land and shoreline development as well as providing sewer connectivity.  

On the issue of slow progress of work on development of Rakh-e-Arth Housing Colony for Dal dwellers, the Chief Minister suggested a policy revisit with regard to providing housing accommodation to the dislocated families to ensure construction of uniform structures and development of colony by providing all basic amenities, besides addressing their livelihood issues.

VC LAWDA informed the meeting that out of the Rs.416 crore earmarked on the rehabilitation of Dal dwellers under State sector, only Rs. 9.25 crore have been released so far, which has severely hampered the progress of development ofRakh-e-Arth Colony. The rehabilitation of Dal dwellers is not part of the National Lake Conservation Plan (NLCP) sanctioned for Dal lake at a cost of Rs. 298 crore.    

VC LAWDA also brought to the notice of the Chief Minister the issue of procuring new master harvesters for flushing the lake from the scourge of lily pack, which has infested the lake after the devastating floods of 2014.   

Taking firsthand appraisal of the some of the important directions given during various DDB meetings, the Chief Minister directed the Finance & Planning Departments to immediately release corpus fund of Rs. 1 crore to SKIMS Soura for treatment / management of cancer. He also issued directions for release of an additionality of Rs. 20 crore under Srinagar District Plan.

While briefing the Chief Minister about the drainage project being executed by National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC), Deputy Commissioner Srinagar said against approved allocation of Rs.130 crore, only Rs. 90 crore have been released so far.

The Chief Minister was assured that the remaining part of the allocation under drainage sector for Srinagar city will be released shortly under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation & Urban Transformation (AMRUT).

Highlighting the need for creating enough multi-tier parking slots in the summer capital, the Chief Minister stated that the KMD Parking slot has not been conceived appropriately as it has a provision of accommodating only 298 vehicles. Responding to this observation, the Divisional Commissioner informed the Chief Minister that a plan is being worked out to shift the office of Government Press in the proximity of the KMD Parking site so that the capacity of the multi-tier parking is expanded to at least 1000 vehicles.  

The Director School Education, Kashmir, informed the meeting that there are 10500 schools spread across Kashmir Division, with most of these having toilet and potable water facilities. However, he said that in schools located in difficult terrain and remote and inaccessible areas, water storage tanks have been made available.

The Chief Minister also directed Chief Engineer R&B to take up the macadamization of Lassipora-Pulwama Road, in respect of which widening has been completed, on a fast-track basis. He also instructed DC Power to make the project for augmentation of the Lassipora Grid Station so that the requirement of power to entrepreneurs within the Industrial Growth Centre (IGC) Lassipora is ensured.