Srinagar City ‘Discriminated’ in road sector as well

Raising a question mark on the PDP-BJP government’s Common Minimum Program that calls for “equitable and balanced development” of all regions of Jammu and Kashmir, the state’s summer capital continues to be ignored by the ruling dispensation while seeking the central funding for road infrastructure.
Indicating that development of Srinagar is perhaps not a priority for the J&K Government, the Roads and Buildings Ministry has sought a meager Rs 35 crore for Srinagar out of more than Rs 1800 crore it has asked from Government of India under the Central Road Fund scheme.
Sources told Kashmir Post that the R&B department has pushed for funding of more than Rs 1800 crore for 120 projects under the CRF for 2016-17. However, it has sought only Rs 35.33 crore for two projects in Srinagar—construction of 230 meter span second bridge over river Jehlum near Doordarshan Kendra and motorable Bridge at Natipora.
An official said this is sheer discrimination with Srinagar and the State Government should have recommended Rs 180 crore to “give the summer capital its due share.”
“Going by Srinagar’s population, its share works out to Rs 180 crore from Rs 1,800 crore,” he said. “It is surprising that Srinagar figures below 18 districts in the size of funding sought under the program.”
Another official said this clearly shows that Srinagar is being discriminated in road sector.
Srinagar is the second most populous district in Jammu and Kashmir, housing 12.5 lakh souls or 10 percent of the state’s population.
“Srinagar should have been given preference keeping in view the fact that it is the state’s summer capital and an important tourist destination. But it is unfortunate that the district is being ignored,” the official said.
He said Srinagar needs massive funding for road infrastructure in the wake of devastation caused to the sector by the 2014 floods. “The PMGSY and NABARD schemes are rural-oriented and their coverage in Srinagar is almost negligible. So, Srinagar also deserved preference under the CRF,” he said.
For some districts, the funding sought by the R&B department is six times more than what has been proposed for Srinagar, according to documents.
According to documents, the R&B department has submitted projects worth Rs 180 crore each for two districts of State.
“What is perplexing is that State Government has sought more funding than Srinagar for some districts whose population is almost 10 times less than that of the summer capital,” an official said.
Repeated attempts to seek J&K government’s comments proved futile.
Commissioner/Secretary R&B Rohit Kansal did not respond to repeated calls from this reporter while Minister for R&B Naeem Akther could not be contacted as his mobile phone was switched off.

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