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JK govt to approach Centre for special fiscal relief for completing long-pending

Srinagar, In a significant move, Governor N N Vohra on Thursday asked the State Planning, Development and Monitoring Department to urgently prepare a comprehensive State-wide list of all development projects which have been pending for years for want of the required financial resources resulting in speedily growing cost overruns. He also called for an assessment of the total funds required for completing all such projects within the next 2 years, said an official statement.

Chairing a high-level meeting this afternoon to review the status of public works projects, Governor observed that after Chief Secretary has drawn up a reliable assessment he would address the Govt of India and request for a one-time sanction of a special grant to complete all pending projects and put to use the investments made in these works.

Advisors to Governor B B Vyas and Khurshid Ahmed Ganai and Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam participated in the meeting.

Governor observed that during his recent visits to various districts in all the three regions of the State, he had noted that there are, in every district, a number of long-standing projects which have not been completed for want of resources. Also, there are a good number of projects which were taken up without the requisite approvals which were also required to be completed to salvage the large expenditures already incurred.

Governor asked Chief Secretary to study the aforesaid two categories of cases, involving very large expenditures already made, and advise the kind of systemic hurdles which may be improved to ensure against unauthorized sanctions of building works being made in the future.

Governor advised all Administrative Secretaries to maintain strict fiscal discipline and ensure that a development work commences only after accord of financial approval and availability of adequate financial resources.

Governor asked Chief Secretary to evolve a scheme for instituting annual awards to recognize and reward engineers, construction companies and contractors whose work is commendable. He also called for incentivizing executing agencies for completing developmental projects ahead of the scheduled time while maintaining the required specifications and quality of work. Such a move, he said, will go a long way in encouraging best practices in the execution of construction works.

Governor also called for installing plaques on building complexes which give the cost of the project, the construction agency/ name of the contractor and the dates of commencement and completion.

In the context of his review of the upcoming Government Medical College at Doda, Governor asked Chief Secretary to urgently constitute a committee to coordinate all activities relating to the timely completion of the 5 medical colleges which are coming up at Islamabad, Baramulla, Kathua, Rajouri, and Doda. This Committee should overview construction work; timely procurement of medical equipment, engagement of faculty, nursing and paramedical staff. He also asked Chief Secretary to examine the legal requirements for ensuring that a given number of the passing out medical graduates are liable to serve in J&K for a specified period, said an official statement.

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