Cabinet Secretary, officials of 17 ministries arrive in J&K
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Last Updated: Monday, October 05, 2009, 15:28
  
Srinagar: A 20-member central team led by Union Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrashekar on Monday reviewed various infrastructural projects in Jammu and Kashmir, ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to the state later this month.

The team, comprising secretaries from 17 ministries, went straight from the airport to the venue of the meeting and held discussions with various citizen groups in the state besides top officers on the Rs 30,000 crore Prime Minister's reconstruction plan, officials said.

During their two-day visit, the team will also interact with the state bureaucracy on measures to effectively utilise funds and address the discontent among locals over development projects.

Chandrashekar will also call upon Governor N N Vohra and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

The government had on August 22 admitted in the state assembly that it had failed to utilize 78 per cent of the amount announced under the PM's reconstruction plan.

The funds were to be utilised by March 2009. Following which the state government requested the Centre to extend the deadline.

Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather had said out of Rs 29,954.85 crore received by the state under the scheme, Rs 6,367.53 crore have been utilized on various schemes and projects. He blamed the bureaucracy for the gross underutilisation of funds.

Officials claimed that the Centre has decided to re-allot the lapsed funds following a request by the Chief Minister.

The team's visit will be followed by prime minister's trip to Kashmir during which he is scheduled to flag off Qazigund-Anantnag railway line, sources said.

They said while the date of PM's visit has not been announced yet, he is expected to arrive here later this month.

Besides announcing the new reconstruction plan, the PM is expected to invite the separatists for a dialogue process, which hit a dead end after the separatists rejected his invitation to attend the round table conference three years ago.

The Centre had approved Rs 6,500 crore for the state for 2009-10 fiscal, which is a 40 per cent hike from the previous year. The increase comes following Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's meeting with the Prime Minister during which he sought special consideration and extra funds for development projects.

In addition to the state plan, the Centre has also doubled the funds for PM's Reconstruction Plan from Rs 1,012 crore to Rs 30,000 crore for the current fiscal.

Bureau Report


First Published: Monday, October 05, 2009, 15:28


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