Centre to bear entire cost of Mughal Road project
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Last Updated: Wednesday, October 07, 2009, 18:07
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.

Bureau Report

First Published: Wednesday, October 07, 2009, 18:07

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