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Parliamentary panel conveys anguish over delay in road projects in J&K

Last Updated on March 12, 2021 at 9:53 pm

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture has asked the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to specially focus on the maintenance of roads in both the J&K and Ladakh UT expressing concerns over late release of funds under the Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF) scheme.

The CRIF is set up for executing various infrastructure sectors like roads and bridges etc. In the financial year 2020-21, Rs 94.51 crore were allotted for Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Rs 246.22 crore for Union Territory of Ladakh. However, only Rs 16.40 crore were sent for Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory till January 31, 2021 while Rs 66.43 crore were granted for Union Territory of Ladakh.

The Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture comprised of 31 Members of Parliament. It presented a report in the Rajya Sabha expressing their unsatisfaction over the slow speed of utilization of funds.

The report noted that till 31 January 2021, only 17.3% of funds were released to Jammu and Kashmir for the year 2020-21 and only 27% of total funds were released for Ladakh. It further added that this slow speed of release and utilization of funds particularly in the newly created Union Territories is not appreciable.

The Parliamentary Panel went to Srinagar and Gulmarg and held discussion with various stakeholders on issues which are related to road, travel and hospitality sectors. The Committee said that the Union Ministry must focus on maintaining roads in Jammu and Kashmir because the UT requires good connectivity from both economic and strategic viewpoint. Better road network would enhance economic activities and also increase the tourism prospects of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Parliamentary Panel also demanded that the Union Ministry must ensure sufficient budgetary provisions and if there is any shortage then the Ministry of Finance can solve the issue in the Revised Estimates (2021-22) stage. The Committee also expressed anguish over unexpected delay in completion of project on Srinagar to Banihal National Highway. It mentioned that the project was delayed for six years and it caused inconvenience for the people.

The Committee also noted that there was a delay in J&K in 13 road projects which are worth Rs 13888.47 crore and have a length of 345.81 kilometres. Similarly, 6 projects in Ladakh Union Territory of Rs 81.9 crore and length of 48.92 kilometres faced a delay in completion.