By: Ibni Maqbool
Srinagar: The Jammu & Kashmir administration has been able to spend only 50 percent of the funds approved for it under the Prime Minister’s Development Package for horticulture sector, despite getting extension from the Government of India.
Documents in possession of the Precious Kashmir lay bare that Rs 233. 75 crore have been utilized under the scheme till date against the Rs 460 crores approved for it.
On November 7, 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled Rs 80068 crore package for development and restoration of infrastructure hit by 2014 floods. Out of Rs 80068 crore, Rs 500 crore were earmarked for restoration of damaged horticulture areas in J&K.
Months later, the Centre finalized an action plan submitted by the J&K government under the scheme and it was to be implemented over a period of three years up to 31.03.2019. But Jammu and Kashmir couldn’t complete the project within the deadline, prompting it to seek extension in timeline for its completion.
Citing time consumption in import of planting material and other issues, the State of J&K requested for extension of timeline for implementation and also revision/re-appropriation in the components of the approved action plan.
In the meanwhile, the erstwhile State of J&K was reorganized into two Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh w.e.f. 31.10.2019. The reorganization prompted the Centre to set physical & financial targets under the scheme separately between the UTs of J&K and Ladakh.
On December 11, 2019, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs(CCEA) approved Rs 39.67 crore for UT of Ladakh and Rs 460.33 crore for UT of Jammu & Kashmir.
The CCEA also extended the timeline for implementation of the project beyond March 31, 2019 by three years i.e. up to March 31, 2022 with provision of further extension of time by a maximum period of 12 months, if required, with approval of the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.