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Posted at: May 23, 2019, 6:50 AM; last updated: May 23, 2019, 6:50 AM (IST)

J&K fails to use WB aid for river project

Insurgency, lack of planning delay implementation of Rs 1,500-cr programme
J&K fails to use WB aid for river project
Though four years have passed, the state has not even identified the reconstruction projects.

Sumit Hakhoo
Tribune News Service
Jammu, May 22

Due to the continuing turmoil in the state and the failure of the previous PDP-BJP government to identify and prioritise reconstruction projects, the state has failed to utilise Rs 1,500 crore from the World Bank-funded Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project (JTFRP).

Though four years have passed, the state has not even identified the reconstruction projects. It has not strengthened the disaster management mechanism along the Jhelum in Kashmir and the Chenab and Tawi in the Jammu region to prevent floods like that hit the state in September 2014.

Officials said the state had spent only Rs 90 crore since 2016 when the world financial body approved the funds. The programme is set to complete in June 2020.

“The approach has been non-serious in the government and bureaucracy. A lack of coordination among the public works department, municipal corporations of Jammu and Srinagar, and industries and commerce department in formulating the plans between 2016 and 2018 is the major reason for the delay,” said a senior officer in the planning department.

According to the agreement, World Bank had decided to keep a “contingent emergency response component” making funds immediately available to J&K but the state missed the opportunity.

After several levels of negotiations, the bank had agreed to help the state government in rebuilding the public infrastructure damaged by the devastating floods of September 2014 and strengthen the disaster risk management capacity of government agencies.

When contacted, Chief Executive Officer, JTFRP, Raghav Langer, attributed the slow pace of implementation to the continuing turmoil in Kashmir post 2016.

“Due to the violence, several works could not be taken up. We have written to the department of economic affairs under the Union Finance Ministry to give extension of 18 more months beyond 2020,” said Langer, who heads the project monitoring unit.

Langer said they would finalise the tenders by September after which the Central government would again approach World Bank for approval to get extension till 2021. “During the past six months, we have fast-tracked the process,” he said.

Had provided loan after 2014 floods

Between September 2 and 6, 2014, J&K experienced major flooding and landslides due to torrential monsoon rains causing the Jhelum, Chenab and Tawi to breach their banks, engulfing villages and towns along their path. Srinagar was entirely flooded while the Jammu region saw heavy infrastructure destruction and many lives were lost. After the floods, two high-level rapid need assessment teams of World Bank had decided to provide loan to the state.

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