Govt fails to pay land acquisition costs
Many vital road-widening projects in summer capital, Srinagar are leading nowhere as government has failed to pay land acquisition costs to the stakeholders.
The work on three main road-widening-projects, Qamarwari to Shalteng, Khanyar to Zadibal and Dalgate to Zakura is halted due to lack of funds.
Official sources at Roads and Buildings Department(R&B) termed tit the “inefficiency” of people at the helm of affairs—blaming government for releasing meager amount for clearing the overall land acquisition costs.
The cost of the land in Srinagar has been increasing rapidly—thus increasing the overall cost of these delayed projects.
“The total cost of these projects is gradually burdening the exchequer as the cost of land is increasing every year. Had the government cleared the land acquisition cases, and then the project might have been near to completion,” said a senior-rung official of the department, wishing anonymity.
The widening of the Khanyar to Zadibal was conceived in the year 1976. At that time, the cost of the project was Rs 50 crore which has increased to over 100 crore.
Similarly, the widening of Qamarwari- Shalteng was started in the year 2010 but is yet to see the light of the day. For the widening of this stretch, 89 residential and commercial structures are coming in the way. These structures are presently housing 50 families and 239 shopkeepers.
Another road project Syed Meerak Shah Road from Dalgate to Zakura has met the same fate, which is in limbo since seven years now. At an estimated cost of Rs 336.24 crore, the project was aimed to ensure smooth traffic movement through old city to Hazratbal shrine.
The 10.33 kilometers’ Syed Mirak Shah Road Project consists of areas including Dalgate, Nowpora, Khayam, Khanyar Victory Crossing, Rainawari, Zindshah Masjid, Kathi Darwaza, Saida Kadal, Ashai Bagh, Nigeen Club, Hazratbal, Habak and Gulab Bagh.
Chief Engineer, Roads and Buildings Department, Sami Arif told Rising Kashmir that these projects were held up at different stretches and the department was looking into the issue.
“Some people have recently approached the court for compensation. It is held up at different stretches because of the acquisition of structures and land. The prices in real estate are high."
He said due to land acquisitions cases, the work is halted at some places, at Nowpora and Khanyar. “When the work was started, the cost of the land was different and now it has increased, because of that these are getting delayed. But we are working on it and soon cases will be cleared,” Arif said.
Pertinently, Governor Satya Pal Malik and his administration had expressed anguish over the delay in these projects and directed concerned authorities to complete them at earliest. Besides that, the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir had held a meeting with the Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar and heads of the various departments—directing the officials to ensure time completion of projects.
In an official communiqué, Advisor to Governor, B.B Vyas, on Monday took stock of crucial infrastructural gaps and officials said that various delegations from different areas of Srinagar took up the compensation in land acquisition projects. The Advisor, according to sources is likely to take another series of review meeting to address such grievances.