R&B mantri ‘engineers’ inequitable fund distribution under road infrastructure program
In an instance of preferential treatment of Congress ministers towards their home constituencies for vote bank reasons, Minister for Roads & Buildings, Abdul Majid Wani, has got Rs 34 crore sanctioned for his Assembly segment out of total Rs 101 crore approved by the Centre for the entire State under the road infrastructure program.
Documents with Greater Kashmir reveal Wani’s Assembly segment, Doda, has got the lion’s share under the Central Road Fund (CRF) program. Of Rs 101.90 crore cleared by the Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways—vide GoI order (F.NO.rw/NH-12037/34/2003/ J&K/NH-1(CRF), Dated 04-03. 2014)—the projects worth Rs 34.06 crore fall in Wani’s segment.
Overall, seven projects were cleared for the State in 2013-2014 and three of them for Doda.
As per the documents, three projects—DodaBehliDraman road; Bharat Kehswan road; Nagri road—would be taken up for execution in Wani’s constituency under the CRF at Rs 8.03 crore, Rs 17.90 crore and Rs 8.13 crore respectively. Bharat is the native village of Wani.
On the other hand, two road projects have been cleared for Jammu district and one each in Poonch and Ganderbal districts.
While Jammu has got funds worth Rs 38.72 crore for the twin projects, Poonch and Ganderbal has bagged Rs 13.55 crore and Rs 15.56 crore respectively for various works.
In Kashmir Valley, only one project—an arch-type bridge at WatalBaghBobsipora, Ganderbal—has been cleared by the GoI.
According to documents, the priority list of works sanctioned was submitted by State’s Roads & Buildings department on February 05, 2014 to the Union Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways.
According to set procedure, no department can submit any proposal to the Centre without the concerned Minister’s approval.
“In this case too, the proposal was cleared by the Minister,” an official, pleading anonymity said.
He said: “Surely this is a case of brazen violation of norms where a minister benefits his constituency at the cost of entire State. But we are helpless and cannot do anything.”
Curiously, on January 24, 2013, a handout released by the State Information Department stated that Wani met then Union Surface Minister Oscar Frenandes—something that raised questions about the role of the Minister in getting favours for his Assembly segment.
Earlier, this newspaper had reported that some Congress Ministers had managed to get the lion’s share of funds for Jammu under the CRF by using their clout in New Delhi.
Pertinently, according to sources, Wani’s move is also a violation of CRF norms stating that the Fund shall be disbursed for projects, schemes or activities relating to the construction and development of State roads including roads of inter-State connectivity and of economic importance but excluding the rural roads. With Wani’s constituency, it is not the case, the sources added.