What happened to Jhelum recovery project?

According to daily Aftab, it has been reported that World Bank had approved Rs 1500 crores for Jhelum – Tawi Recovery Project. But the government has so far spent .. 5%  funds and if work is not done in time, the funds can lapse. It is the responsibility of present Governor to see that work is done in time, so that funds don’t get lapsed. Undertaking the work is important to prevent the damage caused by floods


Inaction and its Impact:


“National Conference has recently revealed that not even 5% 0f the funds released for Jhelum – Tawi Recovery project by the World Bank has been utilized so far, even though the deadline for utilizing the funds is only thirteen months away. For this National Conference has blamed the former BJP – PDP coalition government. Further it revealed that when devastating floods ravaged Valley in 2014, then Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah had referred the matter to World Bank and Asian Development Bank on 21 October, 2014, and had requested these to provide funds for dredging and strengthening of banks of river Jhelum and river Tawi. As such, the World Bank released Rs 1500 crore for the project and made the year 2020, as the deadline (for completion). But, as per National Conference spokesman, only 5% funds have been utilized and the rest of the amount is about to get lapsed. Leaving aside the issue, what any government did or did not,  it can be seen that the dredging of Jhelum has been done just for the sake of doing. Then Chief Minister Ms. Mehbooba Mufti, personally visited Nor Bagh Cement Bridge and made an assessment of the dredging work. She had  issued orders for proceeding against the Kolkatta firm, that had been given the contract. She declared that the work done was unsatisfactory and expressed her displeasure and anger. In short, dredging of the river Jhelum had not been conducted the way, it should have been. The second issue was that of strengthening or re-enforcement of banks and perhaps, there was little progress in that work – and, because the situation is, as it was. If the government of that period was negligent in this matter, it is incumbent upon present  Governor that he takes immediate steps in this, because nobody can foresee or predict when a natural disaster can happen. It is Governor administration’s duty to issue orders for conducting the work of Jhelum Recovery projects. Funds are available, the wait is only for work to begin. If work is resumed immediately, it is possible to finish the work by deadline. If it is done the floods like that of 2014 can’t create that much damage, because that time lot of sand,  clay and rubbish had got deposited in Jhelum for years together and when floods came, its depth was not that much as could absorb  the extra water. It was righly decided that  the river had to be dredged thoroughly, so that space was created for holding more water.”


[Courtesy: Urdu daily Aftab, Srinagar, Kashmir, May 19, 2019].

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