Completion of projects within time frame
Jammu and Kashmir has all along been victim of poor and pathetic work culture as for as the government functioning is concerned and this has cost the erstwhile state dearly. This attitude of the officials and the government departments has resulted into unnecessary delays in completion of various projects, escalation of projected costs and in some cases lapsing of funds. Though the present regime has been trying to do away with such practices and is focusing on completion of different project within stipulated time frame and even proposing penalties on erring agencies and officials, there still is some baggage of certain projects that the Lieutenant Governor administration need to take care of. A project here in focus is the centrally sponsored scheme of establishing model schools in the educationally backward blocks of J&K.
The scheme by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, had been sanctioned to create model schools with latest infrastructural facilities in the educationally backward blocks (EBB) of the erstwhile state. The EBBs were to be selected based on female rural literacy rate being below the national average and gender gap in literacy being above the national average. Rupees 43 crores were allocated for the purpose and ninety percent of the funds under were provided by the central government as grants while the state was supposed to contribute the remaining ten percent. It may be recalled that the scheme was announced in 2008 and till date not a single school has been established anywhere. Unfortunate part of the story is that forget about the completion of the projects, the concerned government agencies are yet to submit the detailed project reports (DPRs on the basis of which, the work should have been taken up. Nearly 3500 quality good schools were to be built under the scheme all over India and most of the schools across the country have been made operational but J&K is yet to complete even the DPRs.
It may be recalled that than 100 model schools had been identified in J&K under the scheme that was aimed at establishing additional classrooms, science laboratory, library, computer lab, art/craft/culture room, toilets, drinking water facilities besides other services. Though the concerned officials insist that the work on completion of DPRs is going on and the same may be submitted very soon, the question remains that what were the reasons behind delaying the process for more than 12 years. The government authorities responsible for the project can’t hide behind the excuse of “post-August 05, 2019 situation or Covid crisis” as they had more than ten years to work on the project before the situations that emerged and delayed some other projects. In this backdrop, the Lieutenant Governor administration should pull the concerned authorities and fix the responsibilities. The unnecessary delay means that within the budget of Rs 34 Crores, what could have been achieved in 2008-09 can’t be in 2021. So somebody should be held accountable for this lapse so that such delays are not repeated in the future. If the funds for the project have not already got lapsed, the administration should ensure quick completion of DPRs and subsequent completion of the project that would go a long way in strengthening educational infrastructure in J&K.