Government of India (GoI) has cited "paucity of funds" for its failure to release funds during the financial year 2020-21 for the much-talked about flood management plan of River Jhelum and its tributaries which was envisioned to increase the carrying capacity of River Jhelum in Kashmir.
As per the official documents of the Planning Department accessed by Greater Kashmir, the technical sanction and investment clearance accorded to the project with an estimated cost of Rs 1623.43 crore under Phase II.
"The issue for this year's release of GoI's assistance of Rs 225.23 crore was taken up with the Department of Water Resources (DOWR), Jal Shakti Ministry. DOWR intimated GoI assistance could not be released this year due to the paucity of funds," an official document reads.
As per the document, out of the total amount of Rs 1624.43 sanctioned for the project, just Rs 47.48 crore have been utilised.
In a detailed note, the government said that the Jhelum Flood Mitigation Project (Phase-I) has been completed with the carrying capacity of the River Jhelum increased by 10,000 cusecs.
Phase-II of the project is to begin soon and is aimed at increasing the carrying capacity by an additional 15,000 cusecs, the data said.
The project got in-principle approval in June last year under the then Governor Satya Pal Malik's administration.
The then State Administrative Council (SAC) is working on the plan for flood management works on River Jhelum at a cost of Rs 5411.54 crore.
The project is proposed to be implemented part-wise with Part A amounting to Rs 1684.60 crore approved under Prime Minister's Development Package (PMDP) and Part B for which the source of funding is to be identified.
The project has been formulated to achieve the short-term goal of mitigating the flood threat at Sangam in south Kashmir's Anantnag district.
The GoI under the PMDP has allocated Rs 58,627 crore to the J&K government for undertaking 54 projects.
The PMDP had been announced in the wake of devastating urban floods in J&K, causing an estimated Rs 1 lakh crore loss to the local economy and infrastructure.
The J&K government has submitted proposal for flood mitigation in Kashmir as post floods in 2014 there have been many instances when the flood scare caused panic among the people.
As per the experts, the flood management plan of River Jhelum is a must to increase the carrying capacity.