Rashid Paul

Inefficient financial planning hampering public infrastructure projects: HC

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Says these projects need critical attention at highest level

Srinagar: While hearing a petition on 16 languishing bridges in Kashmir, J&K High Court today directed that “Inefficient financial planning affecting public infrastructure projects needs critical attention at the highest level.”

The public interest petition filed by a civil society group through advocate Arshid Andrabi stated that dozens of bridges funded by J&K Finance Department and entrusted to J&K Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC) were pending for construction for so many years in Kashmir.

Perusing the status report filed by JKPCC, the court observed “the report reduces the problem to inefficient financial planning and release of finances to enable completion of public infrastructure projects in the Valley.”

The public must be facing extreme difficulty on account of the non-availability of the means of connectivity, observed the court and directed “critical attention of the matter at the highest level”.

Construction of 16 bridges is stated to have been halted, it said and directed that the judicial order be placed before the Chief Secretary of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Immediate examination of the matter of availability of funds should be looked into so that there is no delay in completion of infrastructure projects in the Union Territory of the Jammu and Kashmir,” directed the court.

JKPCC in its status report said “despite requests and imperative need of funds, the same have not been released by the Finance department of the government, resulting in delay in the completion of these projects”.

The Corporation told the court that it is only an executing agency and the budget component in respect of all the bridges under execution lied with J&K Public Works Department and those funded by the World Bank.

It said that the construction of bridges funded by the World Bank was going on smoothly but in case of most of the bridges subjected in the petition “paucity of funds is causing delay in their completion and JKPCC Ltd is unable in their timely completion for no fault of its own”.

The status report further claimed that it was without any budgetary support of the government and has to earn the administrative overheads like salary and wages of its employees out of the profit component of the projects under execution.

Work on the bridges including Akhal bridge and Tengchatri bridge mentioned in the petition is either at halt or the pace of work is low.  “They have been put under LANGUASHING BRIDGES and may be funded by Jammu & Kashmir Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation (JKIDFC),” the JKPCC report said.

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