Center drops special road package for J&K

Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has dropped the special package for building road infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir.

According to 252nd report of Rajya Sabha’s Department-related parliamentary standing committee on transport, tourism and culture which was tabled in the Parliament on Thursday, Chairman of the committee Mukul Roy during a meeting with the officials of Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways expressed serious concern over the ministry’s decision ‘to drop the special package for Jammu and Kashmir’.

Roy was referring to the decision to scrap Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Package (PMRP) which was announced by ex-Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in the year 2005 when PDP was in coalition with Congress in the state.

Roy said, “It being a border State, road connectivity is very important for this State and the decision taken by the Ministry to drop the special package for Jammu and Kashmir is not a rational decision for the development of the state.” Referring to visit of the committee to Jammu and Kashmir, Roy said that committee visited the state and found condition of roads pathetic.

Committee has recommended that the Union Road Ministry should take the share from Rs 80,000 crore package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for Jammu and Kashmir from its allocation and complete the projects in hands first.

Committee also noted with concern that during the 12th five year plan, total fund required for the road sector was Rs 2,64,080 crore but the total outlay was Rs 1,44,769 crore only which indicates that the Ministry dropped some schemes from its priority. These included those which had been sanctioned under PMRP for Jammu and Kashmir. In response, Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry said that there is no separate funding share which has been allocated for the works under Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Package (PMRP) on the National Highways.

The ministry thus accepted that there is no scope for separate funding for construction of roads in Jammu and Kashmir. Ministry told the committee that all the roads are to be developed and financed by it from its budgetary allocations. Not only have the PMRP roads been scrapped but among the new roads which were declared Highways in Principle, none is from Kashmir region. According to the report, the 3 roads which have been declared Highway include Dinga-Amb-Chalan–Udhampur (ii) Lakhanpur – Mahanpur–Basholi (iii) Basholi-Bhaderwah-Doda.

Ministry has clarified that the total length of National Highways in the state of Jammu and Kashmir is 2584 km out of which 812 km is with state PWD, 440 km is with NHAI, 309 km is with NHIDCL and 1023 km is with BRO. Under Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) for the State of J&K, total 16 projects amounting to Rs. 45107 Crore have been identified and these are at various stages of progress. Out of these 8 works are with NHAI, 4 works with NHIDCL, 2 works with BRO and just 2 works are with State PWD.