Ramban, Aug 28: In an effort to oversee the progress of ongoing four-laning works on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, Chief Secretary, Dr Arun Kumar Mehta took a first-hand appraisal of all critical sections between Banihal and Ramban and also held a holistic review of flagship programmes in the district.
During his visit, the Chief Secretary reiterated his direction to the Traffic Department for making the 66-km road stretch between Qazigund and Nashri tunnels two-way for both LMVs and HMVs which are below 4 axle, adding that HMVs which are above 4 axle shall ply only during the lean period as per laid out plan by the Traffic Department. This is expected to provide huge relief as this will put an end to forced halt at Qazigund and Ban toll plaza in future.
Additional Chief Secretary, Home, RK Goyal; Commissioner Secretary GAD, Sanjeev Verma; Divisional Commissioner Jammu Ramesh Kumar; Inspector General of Police Traffic, Bhim Sen Tuti; DIGs of DKR and Traffic Range Jammu, Deputy Commissioner Ramban and SSP NHW, RO NHAI, along with many other senior officers of different departments were also present on the occasion. During the first leg of his tour, Chief Secretary inspected the progress of work on 2.3km Banihal Viaduct, which will bypass the Banihal town and facilitate smooth movement of traffic on the National Highway. He emphasized upon the NHAI to ensure that the work on the project is completed by December this year. He also passed standing instructions to NHAI to blacktop the link road towards Banihal Market, till the bypass is completed.
Earlier, the Chief Secretary stopped at Lambar, on Banihal Expressway, and passed directions to use the handover /takeover site of Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra – 2023 as truck holding area, keeping in view the increasing movement of fruit laden trucks from Kashmir valley towards Jammu and rest of the country. Emphasising upon strict adherence to stipulated timelines, Dr Mehta asked Regional Officer NHAI to ensure completion of 6.2 km Sher Bibi viaduct, Tunnel T-4, 4.2 km Digdol twin-tube and the additional two tubes of Ramban flyover, as this new infrastructure will further decrease the travel time between Srinagar and Jammu. He advised NHAI to explore the possibility of hassle-free two-way movement of HMVs between Tunnels T-3 and T-5. The road between T-3 and T-5 had caved-in following incessant rains in the first week of July earlier this year during SANJY 2023. NHAI had developed a temporary ramp to restore the movement of vehicles.
The Chief Secretary also passed directions to NHAI to complete the T-5 viaduct and underpass near Magerkote within the stipulated timeline. Later, the Chief Secretary arrived at the Conference Hall of District Administrative Complex, Ramban where he took a detailed developmental review of ongoing works in the District. He reviewed the progress of District Capex including Area Development Fund (PRI/DDC/BDC Grants) and Centrally Sponsored Schemes.
While reviewing the progress of the flagship Jal Jeevan Mission programme, the Chief Secretary directed the Deputy Commissioner to ensure that all allotted works are started on ground so that the targeted 57,600 households are provided with functional hand-tap connections. The Chief Secretary expressed concern over the slow pace of FHTC generation in the District and refixed the target of 7,000 FHTCs per month for the next 3 months to saturate the scheme. The Chief Secretary also directed the Deputy Commissioner to scale up ISA activities in the District by integrating principle stakeholders like Pani Samitis, PRIs, Aanganwadi workers, ASHA workers and the general public. The Chief Secretary was informed that all 88 schemes, including 262 works have been tendered and allotted in the District, which includes critical components like GSR, laying of pipes and non-critical components like Slow Sand Filtration Plants.
The Chief Secretary stressed upon the distribution of Field Testing Kits amongst the PRIs so that the quality of water is regularly checked at Panchayat level. He also called for strict monitoring of parameters on Jal Jeevan Mission Dashboard.
On Capex Budget indicators, the Deputy Commissioner assured the Chief Secretary that the District will achieve its target of 2607 works under different components, adding that more than 2100 works have been tendered, out of which 393 have been completed. Highlighting the role of PRIs in laying a strong edifice for a clean panchayat, the Chief Secretary directed the Deputy Commissioner to ensure expeditious disposal of legacy waste, visible cleanliness all around and development of newly-constructed Amrit Sarovars into Amrit Vatikas. He also advised the Deputy Commissioner to focus upon the cleanliness of those panchayats which are on the axis of the NH-44, keeping in view the movement of thousands of passengers, in close coordination with the NHAI. “The toilets on NH-44 need to be cleaned on daily basis and passengers should be advised not to litter,” he added. Pointing out key gaps in the education sector of the District, the Chief Secretary asked the Deputy Commissioner to take steps to bring down the drop-out rate of students at Upper Primary and Higher Secondary level. He directed the Deputy Commissioner to send a detailed report on the functioning of the education sector with focus on manpower shortage, upgradation of schools from Middle to High and High to Higher Secondary level and improving the quality of education and attendance of the teaching faculty.
While reiterating the significance to invest in education sector, Dr Mehta passed directions for sharing list of all such school buildings which have either been declared unsafe or require urgent repairs in the District.
The Deputy Commissioner informed Chief Secretary that a list of 140 such schools has been shared with the Education Department that require repair and renovation in order to ensure safety and security of students and staff.
The Chief Secretary appreciated the District’s rise to number 1 rank in the UT of J&K in POSHAN Abhiyan. However he passed directions to the Deputy Commissioner to liaise between POSHAN, Health, and Education Departments in identifying severely anaemic children between the ages of 0 to 6 years for taking necessary pre-emptive measures to improve their health condition. Later, the Deputy Commissioner also briefed the Chief Secretary about various road projects under PMGSY, PWD and NABARD sectors. The Chief Secretary emphasized upon quality work and strict adherence of the contractors to Defect Liability Period. The Chief Secretary also reviewed the progress of Ayushman Bharat/SEHAT scheme, Holistic Agriculture Development Programme, National Rural Livelihood Mission, MGNREGA and PMAY-G/U.
Concluding his review the Chief Secretary highlighted the timelines for completion of Jal Jeevan Mission, Swachh Bahart Mission, visible cleanliness of towns, promotion of tourism and sports, and meeting the health parameters, as the immediate deliverables for the District administration. He also tasked the Deputy Commissioner to work in close coordination with District Police to ensure that all Panchayats in the District are made Nasha Mukt.
Urging upon the officers to ensure a clean and transparent administration, Dr. Mehta passed directions to all departments to onboard on e-office platform for real time movement of official files. He further directed the Deputy Commissioner to flag issues related to on boarding with the Information Technology Department for early resolution.
The Deputy Commissioner informed the Chief Secretary that 512 services including the critical Revenue services are already being provided in online mode in the District. He further informed the Chair that all arrangements have been made for successfully organising the Digital J&K Week 2023 w.e.f 31st Aug, 2023.
Later, the Chief Secretary also met the District Development Council led by Chairperson Dr. Shamshad Shan, along with members of the Municipal Council, Ramban. While receiving various memoranda from the PRIs, the Chief Secretary assured them of speedy redressal of the issues raised. Before his departure, the Chief Secretary distributed customised motorised tricyles (Scooters) amongst the specially-abled beneficiaries as part of the Rehabilitation Council Scheme.