Bottlenecks put brakes on Kashmir AIIMS

No work taken up for 3 months as land, other issues linger on
Bottlenecks put brakes on Kashmir AIIMS

Work on the AIIMS-type health institute in Kashmir has been halted owing to failure of the state government resolve issues related to the land for the projects and complete other requisite formalities.

An official in Health and Medical Education Department saidthe civil work at the project site in Awantipora have been completely stoppedthree months ago.

He said primary reason was land litigation which thegovernment "wasn't following seriously". During the last project reviewmeeting, the government had decided that state advocate general would be ropedin to ensure there was no issue in taking the work forward, said the officila.

"But there has been no follow up on the proposal," theofficial said.

Another official associated with the project said the statehas also failed to take up work on access road leading to the project site.

Last year, owing to paucity of funds, the Government hadapproached central authorities for funding under Central Roads Scheme Fund forthe access road.

Subsequently the project (access road from national highway(1) to the AIIMS site) was resubmitted to the union ministry of road, transportand highway recently, the official said.

"This road is vital for transport of construction materialto the site and in its absence the work has suffered in the past too," said theofficial.

Besides, there has been "very little progress" onconstruction of power grid station and water pump house, which are part of theAIIMS project, during the past one year, said the official.

He said authorities have now decided to take up the gridstation under languishing projects, while as the site for the pump house wasyet to be identified.

Owing to the delay the official feared that the 2024deadline for completion of the AIIMS may not be met.

"It has been nearly four years since the project wasapproved but there is no significant progress on overall work," the officialsaid.

He said it was necessary that various government departmentsput their act together to ensure removal of all bottlenecks in completion ofthe project.

"That is not happening and is a major cause of delay inexecution of the works," he said, adding there was also lack of coordinationbetween multiple agencies involved in the project.

Financial commissioner health and medical education AtalDulloo acknowledged that litigations have delayed the construction work.

"We are working towards removing the bottlenecks as per thelaw. There is no dearth of funds to compensate the land owners," he said,adding there was a court stay on use of "some 300 kanals" of land at theproject site.

Dulloo said work for completion of other related works havealready been approved. He said the master plan was being finalised by CPWD, thecentral agency entrusted with the project. "Once the plan is approved, the workis expected to get expedited," he said.

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