IWMP: JK loses millions to official indifference
4 Years On, Prized Project Yet To Take Off;Jammu University Misses Deadline On Perspective Plans
Srinagar, June 26: While a number of states have obtained substantial funding under a centrally-sponsored watershed management programme, Jammu and Kashmir is yet to adopt the multi-crore scheme which has started four years back. And this is primarily in the wake of the Rural Development Department’s failure to get the requisite strategic and perspective plans framed in time—something which is causing the cash-started state loss of millions of rupees every year.
The Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP), aimed at watershed development in different states, is yet to be taken up for execution in Jammu and Kashmir, though the RDD had last year promised to formulate the perspective plans for onward submission to the Government of India for funding.
In November 2010, when this newspaper carried a report on the IWMP status, the RDD Secretary, Yedullah, had said that the contract for formulating the perspective plans had been given to the Department of Geology and Mining at the University of Jammu. “We have given them three
months and are hopeful to have them for further necessary action,” he had said.
Today, however, the status of the scheme is no different, with varsity missing the deadline.
According to the sources, well-versed with the scheme, the state has failed to acquire more than Rs 200 crores in the past three years under the IWMP. “This could have been avoided had it set the scheme rolling in time,” they said.
Since 2008, when the scheme surfaced, the state government has only been able to set-up the State Level Nodal Agency (SLNA) for executing it. It hasn’t moved beyond this point.
In 2008 the Central Ministry for Rural Development came out with comprehensive policy guidelines for the watershed development from 1st April, 2008. Under the scheme, about half of the geographical area of India, that is degraded or rain fed, is to be covered and prioritized for development under various watershed development projects. The scheme is oriented towards employment generation, livelihood enhancement for marginalized farming communities and conservation of land and water resources especially in rural areas and has got to be implemented through the Rural Development Department, Self-help groups and the Non-Governmental Organizations.
Under it, Jammu and Kashmir with the geographical area of 2,22, 000 Sq Km, is eligible for funding to the tune of Rs 1532 crores during the eleventh five year plan alone. But without the approval of the perspective plans, the funding cannot be made.
The ‘State Perspective and Strategy Plans’ is a mandatory requirement for seeking grants from the Central government under IWMP. The development of the Perspective and Strategy Plan envisages scientific and technological inputs and requires the use of Information Technology, Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System.
Sources said in Kashmir valley alone, 1050 micro-watersheds, spread over 1.5 million hectares, and qualify for funding under the scheme.
Official sources reveal that states like Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu have already received several billions each for taking up the projects under the scheme.
In a Steering Committee Meeting of the Department of Land Development, GOI, that meets every month to consider and sanction the projects submitted by the state government, Rajasthan and Karnataka were sanctioned projects worth Rs 1693 and Rs 705 crores respectively during 12th meeting of the Steering Committee held on 26 June, 2010. Similarly during the 13th meeting of the Steering Committee held on 16 July, 2010, TN, UP, Rajasthan and Meghalaya were sanctioned Rs 373, Rs 324, Rs 52 and Rs 78 crores respectively. During the 15th Meeting of the Steering Committee held on 30th September, 2010, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra were sanctioned Rs 803, s 912 and Rs 2027 crores respectively.
The state government has failed to submit any project so far. It is also alleged that the State Nodal Agency seldom turns up for the meetings at New Delhi, thus cutting a sorry figure.
STRATEGIC PLANS ALMOST READY: GOVT
When contacted, the RDD secretary, Yedullah said the Jammu University had submitted perspective plans in November last year. “But they were not up to the mark and we asked for some changes to be made therein. Now they have made the changes. Some final touches are to be given. We will soon submit them to the Government of India for approval,” he told Greater Kashmir this afternoon.
Yedullah candidly admitted that the scheme couldn’t take-off because of the delay in formulating the plans. “Initially the work was not assigned to anyone. But we did it last year. A team of officials is going to New Delhi on Monday to discuss the reports pertaining to the watershed management with the Ministry of Panchayat Raj,” he said. “The reports envisage total picture of the environment and the area of watershed management in Jammu and Kashmir, and also how to move ahead with IWMP.”
Yedullah said 19 lakh hectares of land in the state were required to be taken up under watershed management. “Of this, 7 lakh have been taken up under the earlier plans while the rest shall be taken up now. We want to complete the job within five to six years,” he said.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 26 Jun 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 26 Jun 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 27 Jun 2011 00:00:00 IST
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