The Parliamentary Standing Committee comprising 31 MPs has thwacked the Jammu and Kashmir administration particularly the authorities of the Tourism Department for delay in execution of projects. These projects were sanctioned under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme and they were granted a significant sum for creation of tourism infrastructure.
The Committee demanded status of ongoing projects under Himalayan Circuit Scheme and remarked that these projects will provide employment to the people and will boost the economy of J&K as tourism is one of the primary sources of income for its residents.
The Parliamentary Panel analysed the information provided by the Union Tourism Ministry and found that in 4 out of 6 projects, less than half of total physical progress has been made. The Committee remarked that they are not able to understand the reasons for such a slow pace. Moreover, they demanded to know if the six projects under implementation in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir have witnessed any cost growth.
50% progress has been made on the project titled “Integrated Development of Tourism Infrastructure Projects in Jammu and Kashmir”, while only 40% progress has been recorded on “Integrated Development of Tourist Facilities at Jammu-Rajouri-Shopian-Pulwama”.
Likewise, 35% progress has been made on “Integrated Development of Tourist Facilities at Mantalai-Sudhmahadev-Patnitop”, 30% in “Integrated Development of Tourist Facilities at Anantnag-Kishtwar-Pahalgam-Daksum-Ranjit Sagar Dam” and only 15% on “Integrated Development of Tourist Facilities at Gulmarg-Baramulla-Kupwara-Leh”. However, three-fourth progress has been made in construction of assets in place of those destroyed in floods of 2014.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee also expressed its disappointment over extremely low percentage of submission of Utilization Certificates by the J&K Administration. The Panel observed that the submission of Utilization Certificates is very important for receiving funds but the J&K Government has not been very enthusiastic in submitting Utilization Certificates for projects under implementation, but kept on requesting for the release of funds for the proceeding stage.
The Panel also commented that the timely submission of Utilization Certificates is essential as it performs like a monitor for the progress of a project. Moreover, since funds are released in stages, delay in submission of these Utilization Certificates indicates that the J&K government lacks accountability.