Cabinet Secretary, officials of 17 ministries arrive in J&K

Last Updated: Monday, October 5, 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 5, 2009 - 15:28

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