To boost J&K growth, Rs 6,000cr of pending projects cleared in 1 year | India News – Times of India

SRINAGAR: In the year following neutering of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir, 2,273 infrastructure projects worth Rs 5,979 crore, which had been pending for the past 5-10 years, were sanctioned and 506 completed even as J&K Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam describes the efforts to bring good governance and development to the erstwhile state as “work in progress”.
Some of the works done so far include strengthening of the panchayat structure, completion of Phase 1 of Jhelum flood mitigation project, creation of 10,000 jobs and opening up 50 new degree colleges.
Stating that fulfilling the aspirations of people of J&K will take time, Subrahmanyam said: “I think we need patience. We have got the institutional architecture in place and we are moving ahead step by step. Once we get the development process in place, once we get the jobs going, once we see the investment growing, you will find people in a different frame of mind.”
Describing the erstwhile state of J&K as “broken” and with no “system” due to years of misgovernance, corruption and “unbelievable levels of fraud” committed by past regimes led by a handful of powerful families and institutions controlled by them, Subrahmanyam, a Chhattisgarh-cadre IAS officer, said he was sent to J&K by the Prime Minister with a clear direction to “clean up the state, reform it and hand over to the people of J&K their ‘amaanat’ (valued possession)”.
The chief secretary said he and others have been working to create a robust institutional infrastructure which is free of corruption. Projects pending for over four decades like the Shahpur-Kandi project were started, J&K Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation created last year to complete projects languishing for 5-10 years, panchayat elections held successfully and the intricacies of transition of J&K from J&K Constitution to Constitution of India, from a state to Union territory, and from one state to two Union territories, followed through.
Stating the transition was made painful by the fact that J&K was “crumbling” due to years of neglect and corruption, Subrahmanyam said the priority is now to “erect a robust panchayat system”. He said a cadre of panchayat officers will be created, who will also handle accounts. A panchayat secretariat is being created and all the 4,300 panchayat bhavans will have a standardised design.
Subrahmanyam said bypolls to over 12,600 vacant posts of panch and sarpanch in J&K would be held as soon as Covid situation improves.
On the feeling among some Kashmiris that not enough has been done to fulfil their aspirations post-Article 370, he assured that delivery of jobs, growth and development would happen but added that reconstruction of the UT does not happen overnight. “It’s a work in progress,” he said.
On the impact of Covid-19 on J&K, the chief secretary said while the pandemic has set the UT back by 7-8 months, the agriculture sector, on which nearly 75 lakh people are dependent, and government employees, who total 4 lakh and have around 16 lakh dependents, were unaffected. The sectors hit are tourism, shops and transportation. But somehow, the people of J&K are more resilient when it comes to lockdowns, having witnessed many separatist-induced shutdowns, he said. “I can say confidently say that Covid-19 impact on J&K GDP will be the least among all states/UTs,” he said.
On plans for Global Investment Summit, Subrahmanyam said it may well be pushed to next financial year in view of Covid crisis. He did add that many businessmen have evinced interest in investing in J&K, not so much for high returns but for “the sheer love for Kashmir”.

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