Srinagar, Sep 1, CNS: Minister of Rural Development Abdul Haq today said that around Rs 2000 crore were made available for various schemes in the rural development sector for the current fiscal. He said the department has also cleared liability of around Rs 400 crore inherited from the previous regime under MGNREGA.
“When I assumed charge of the Department in March this year, it was a challenge as there were liabilities worth Rs 367 crore in MGNREGA alone, people refused to work as their previous dues were not cleared,”Abdul Haq said while addressing a press conference here today.
The Minister said that the present Government under the visionary leadership of Janab Mufti Muhammad Syed Hon’ble Chief Minister, was not only successful in getting the majority of the past liabilities cleared, but also kick-started new initiatives with assured funding. “For the current fiscal we have availability of Rs 903 crore under MGNREGA, under 14thFinance Commission State has been allocated Rs.3463 crores out of which the State will receive Rs.374 crores during the current year , Rs 70 crore under IAY, Rs 150 crore under IWMP and Rs 50 crore under NRLM,” he said.
The Minister said that under the initiative of “My Village, My World” a sustained campaign has been launched across the State to ensure planned development of rural areas, conservation of water bodies and making the villages polythene free. He sought people’s cooperation in making the campaign successful.
He said as the last year’s floods inflicted heavy damage on property, with the help of these funds both flood-hit projects as well as normal rural development works will be taken up for execution. “The Government of India has also agreed to the state proposal to use the funds for one more round of de-silting for water bodies and streams, which were affected by last year’s floods,” he said and added it would also include land development and land protection.
The Minister also announced a hike of 25 percent in the remuneration of the contractual staff deployed under MGNREGA. “This will benefit more than 4600 youth working under MNREGA,” he said.
In a significant decision, the Minister also announced merger of District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) into Rural Development Department. “This demand has been hanging for around 5-6 years and from now on employees of DRDA will officially be known as employees of RDD. The decision was taken after we found that on one hand there are departments with excess staff and on the other hand we have staff deficient departments,” he said and added that the move will benefit around 180 staff members of DRDA.
Regarding the steps taken to provide relief to homeless people particularly after 2014 floods, the Minister said that a project for the flood victims of Sept 2013 for 3821 beneficiaries of BPL families has been sanctioned by ministry of rural development at a cost of Rs 28.65 crore. “The current year’s (2015-16) target for construction of IAY houses has been fixed at 13484 and 15436 incomplete houses of previous years are also being completed. The central share allocation is Rs 53.20 crore and Rs 15.45 crore is state share allocation. During current financial year 2100 houses have been constructed including (SOS) and an amount of Rs 4.99 crore has been utilized upto July 2015,” he said.
The Minister said that the first preference for the release of funds under IAY will be given to snow-bound areas, which have limited construction months.
Regarding Swacch Bharat Mission (G), the Minister said that a target for construction of 2 lakh individual household latrines (IHHL) has been fixed for the year (2015-16) and against this target 8627 latrines have been constructed and an amount of Rs 1.79 crore has been utilized upto July 2015.
“A target of 125 units for construction of community sanitary complexes has been fixed for 2015-16 and about 13 such complexes has been completes upto July 2015,” he said.
The minister announced that under Integrated Watershed Development Program (IWMP), 159 micro watershed projects at a cost of Rs 979. 72 crore to treat 6.53 lakh hectares of land stand approved by government of India upto 2015.
“ That due to personal intervention of Janab Mufti Muhammad Syed Hon’ble Chief Minister, the government of India has also approved the funding pattern in accordance with 90:10 pattern for Jammu and Kashmir, with 90 percent of funds coming from centre and state contributing 10 percent. This will also go a long way in helping the watershed management,” he said.
Under National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), the minister said that a five year project to constitute 90000 Self Help Groups (SHGs) with investment of Rs 750 crore has been approved by government of India. “Around 8500 female SHGs have been formed which have benefited 80,000 women,” he said.
The Minister said that about Rs 71.10 crore has been released upto July 2015 as central share including a state share of Rs 5.04 crore. Furthermore 21 blocks in different districts of the state have been covered under the program and 8294 SHGs have been constituted, an amount of Rs 54 crore has been provided as revolving fund and community investment fund to SHGS till July 2015.
The Minister said under convergence programme it has been mandatory by the Rural Development Department for convergence of all the schemes implemented by the department under MGNREGA with other line departments.
The Minister reiterated the government’s stand to make the state a polythene free state. “We have been bestowed with natural beauty but the same is being destroyed due to our carelessness particularly due to polythene and unplanned development. Even the virgin beauties of Bungus are being threatened,” he said.
The Minister said that the government has taken number of steps to remove the menace of polythene. “We have tasked the administration in both Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh to ensure a stop on polythene. Besides we have ordered the officials at Lakhanpur and lower munda toll posts to act accordingly,” he said.
The minister asked for people’s cooperation to make state polythene free as the same has also played catalyzing role in last year’s floods when streams and other water bodies were choked by polythene.
Stressing on the need for planned development the minister said that from now on a proper permission system will be put in place in rural areas near areas to stop unplanned growth.
Secretary RDD&PR, Khurshid Ahmad Shah, Director RDD, Kashmir, Mr. Tassaduq Jeelani, Director Panchayati Raj, CEO IWMP, Mr. Bashir Ahmad Khan besides, all ACDs and employees of DRDA were present on the occasion. (CNS)