Stop creating concrete monsters, build aesthetic structures: Naeem Akhtar to Engineers

JAMMU, FEBRUARY 26: Minister for Public Works, Naeem Akhtar today stressed upon the officials to avoid containerization of the State, saying that ‘signature structures’ with architectural value must come up within time-bound framework. “Stop creating concrete monsters, build aesthetic structures,” he told the engineers.

Speaking to the officers at a detailed review meeting of PWD here, the Minister said the engineers should avoid creating concrete monsters in the State. He said quality and timelines have to be strictly adhered to in the construction works.

“Timelines have to be followed in letter and spirit. I will judge all of you by quality of work and speed. I will not entertain any cost overrun of the projects,” Akhtar said while addressing the officers. He directed the officers to review the “sick schemes” and work for speedy clearance of the projects languishing because of delay in forest clearance, and other departmental interventions.

The Minister stressed on better coordination between Revenue, Forest and Works Department. He directed the engineers to nominate a nodal officer for getting the forest clearance approval speedily within already set timeframe. He further sought suggestions from the engineers for improving working of the organization and assured them all the genuine demands would be met.

Stressing upon officials to meet deadlines and show results in an era of development, the Minister said road revamp projects would gain momentum across Jammu and Kashmir in coming days. He said providing connectivity, construction of quality and safe roads, bridges and tunnels for sustainable and inclusive socio-economic growth would be top priority for the Government and the works would be carried under strict deadlines and with proper follow-ups from the Department concerned. “You (officials) must gear up for providing positive results,” he said. “We should develop a foolproof mechanism for completing the works in time-bound manner,” he added.

The Minister directed officials to make the process of execution of works hassle-free, saying that planning, construction, up-gradation and maintenance of roads, bridges and buildings must be the concern for all the officials of the Department. “Providing connectivity to unconnected habitations has to be our first aim,” he said. Akhtar said in order to gain movement in the ongoing developmental era, the culmination of engineers in prestigious projects would help the Government to provide good governance to the people of the State.  “PWD needs a professional touch and Government will do everything to revamp this vital department,” he said.

“We will have to follow the procedural limitations and our core aim should be to develop transparent working culture in the department,” he added.

The Minister called officials to review the long pending construction and developmental projects and adhere to the set deadlines for their completion.

The meeting was informed that Central Road Fund (CRF) – a Central sector scheme, is primarily focused for development of State Roads & Bridges including projects of Inter State Connectivity and economic importance.  The funding under CRF is made by Government of India out of the accruals on account of cess collected on sale of petrol and diesel.  Officials informed the meeting that during the 2015-16, 25 schemes at an estimated cost of Rs 785.56 crore have been sanctioned by GoI. “Inter State Connectivity is an important sub component of CRF funding. Construction of 1210 mtr span double lane RCC bridge over Ravi River village Keerian– Gandial (Kathua) has been sanctioned by GOI and taken up in hand at an estimated cost of Rs. 158.84 Crore under the scheme,” they said. They said that one major road project viz; Improvement / upgradation of Bhaderwah Chamba road (Km 8th to Km 50th) stands already sanctioned at Rs. 73.33 Crore. Till date GOI has released Rs 70.32 Cr and the road project is being completed shortly.

Divulging details about the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), the officials said that the scheme was launched on December 2000 as a fully funded CSS to provide all weather road connectivity in Rural Areas of the country. “The Programme envisages connecting all eligible unconnected habitations with a population of 500 persons and above in plain area and 250 Persons and above in hilly areas/states,” they said, adding “J&K State is in the hilly category as such all the habitations having 250 plus qualify for the connectivity.”

The Minister said that infrastructure deficit has been persistent in the State because of its topography. He said that PWD could be a vital department in bridging the gap and help the State to emerge on the infrastructure front.

Minister of State for Transport, Public Works (R&B), Revenue, RDD & PR, Sunil Sharma, Commissioner Secretary (PWD) Rohit Kansal, Development Commissioner Works, Bimal Tikkoo, Chief Engineer PMGSY Jammu P L Bushan, Chief Engineer R&B Jammu Alok Mengi, Chief Conservator Forests (CCF) Superintending Engineers (SEs) and Executive Engineers (Xens) among other senior officials of the Department attended the meeting.