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Lack of planning by Irrigation Dept in J&K causes blocking of Rs 1.80 crore

Last Updated on May 6, 2021 at 7:25 pm

Lack of planning by Irrigation and Flood Control Department to forward funds to Jammu And Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation Limited (JKPCC) has caused blocking of Rs 1.80 crore. Department has sent funds even before seeking objections and publishing it for construction of barrage on proposed site aligning with Jammu-Srinagar National Highway.

Documents reveal that sections 13 and 14 of the Jammu & Kashmir Irrigation Act 1978 mention that while government departments are preparing irrigation schemes, draft scheme crafted should include estimated cost, realignment of any watercourse or existing watercourse, site of outlet, details of owners, occupiers and beneficiaries to be benefitted and other people who may be affected.

It is also mentioned that every irrigation scheme should be published in order to attract objections and suggestions within 30 days. This scheme will be approved after considering objections and suggestions. It can be approved in either original form or after adding modifications.

It can be found in documents that a project regarding construction of Weir/ Barrage at Jhajjar Kotli, Jammu was handed over in March 2011 by Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control (I&FC) Department in Jammu to Managing Director of Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC) for Rs 7.62 crore.

Government officials didn’t publish the scheme for seeking objections and suggestions in accordance with section 14 of the Act. They forwarded Rs 1.80 crore to JKPCC; one crore rupees in March 2011 and 80 lakh rupees in March 2012. National Highway Authority of India raised objections in May 2012 and as a result, JKPCC could not start the work.

JKPCC found a new site for the barrage and submitted its details in January 2015 with an increased project cost of Rs 24.73 crore because many technical parameters were changed like width of barrage was increased from 26 meters to 42 meters and one additional gate was also included.

This revised proposal failed to satisfy authorities and project was shelved as a consequence. In May 2015, JKPCC was directed to return all unspent amount of Rs 1.80 crore. Even after receiving a reminder in February 2017 to return funds amounting to Rs 1.80 crore, JKPCC continued to keep this amount.