Srinagar: The famous Mughal Road making
accessibility to the border areas of Poonch from the Kashmir
valley and conservation of Dal Lake would get a boost with the
Centre agreeing to bear costs.
The total expenditure of Rs 639 crore on the Mughal Road
project which is strategically important would now be borne by
the Centre which will also provide additional funds of Rs 356
crore for conserving the Dal, after environmentalists have
declared alarm at the pace at which the lake is drying up, an
official spokesman said.
The prestigious Mughal Road will connect Poonch in Jammu
region with Shopian in south Kashmir.
The decision was conveyed to the state government by the
20-member central team led by Union Cabinet Secretary K M
Chandrashekar at the end of two-day visit to Jammu and
Kashmir, the spokesman said.
The central team reviewed various infrastructural
projects in the state ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s
visit to the state later this month.
He said the team has agreed that the Centre would provide
entire funds for construction of Mughal Road as compared to
earlier 50-50 funding pattern.
The team has not only agreed to continue with the
assistance of Rs 298 crore for conservation of famous Dal Lake
but additional requirement of Rs 356 crore for acquiring land
has also been agreed, the spokesman said.
Terming the decisions as "landmark achievements" of
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, he said this will now ensure the
smooth construction of the Mughal Road and conservation of Dal
with a smooth rehabilitation and removal of human habitation
from the interior pockets of the lake which were hitherto
bottlenecks in preserving the water body in its original form.
The spokesman claimed that the team has also decided to
consider positively the suggestions of the State Government to
provide two thermal power plants in northern India to the
state in order to supplement its immediate power requirements.
The team had agreed to include five more towns of Kashmir
division under UIDSSMP scheme in addition to already agreed
towns of Jammu division, he said.
To boost health facilities in the state, the team
discussed with the state officials about a project of Rs 2,627
crore under HIDP.
The participatory water management programme estimated to
cost Rs 740 crore was thoroughly discussed between the central
and state government teams. The Central team agreed to take
care of the disclaimer issue because of which the project is
pending with the World Bank, the spokesman said.
He said Baglihar II project involving estimated cost of
Rs 2800 crore was also discussed by the state government with
the team. This project was required to be taken up by the
government by pooling external resources with its equity fund.
He said the Centre has also discussed Karthai-II power
project and agreed to complete it by 2010.
The completion of Srinagar-Jammu National Highway from
Lakhanpur to Uri was also discussed.
The team has also agreed to provide funds for setting up
of women hostels in colleges. Similarly, a decision was also
taken to expand National Institute of Technology, Srinagar and
raise its standard.
Besides, the Centre also agreed to provide Rs 62.37 crore
for modernisation of Ravi Tawi Canal.
The State government has recently submitted a mega
project estimated for Rs 109 crore for protection of Srinagar
city which has been agreed to be positively considered by the
concerned ministry, the spokesman said.
The requirement of establishing exhibition centre and
Urban Haat to boost up handicraft sector which is backbone of
lakhs of artisans of the state was also discussed in the
meeting. The Centre has agreed to establish these urban Haats
as well in different areas of the state, the spokesman said.