BJP President Amit Shah and general secretary Ram Madhav blamed the neglect of the Jammu and Ladakh regions as one of the reasons for pulling out of the alliance with PDP in Jammu and Kashmir on June 19. But official records of the projects under the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) show a balanced allocation, and a skew, if at all, in favour of Jammu, in terms of the progress of projects on the ground.
A report by the erstwhile state government on the status of the projects under the PMDP shows that of the 61 identified projects, 13 are in the Jammu region, 11 in Kashmir and nine in Ladakh. At least 28 projects cut across regions and are state-wide.
In Jammu, physical work on five projects including an IIM (where classes started in November 2016) and the semi-ring road have commenced. At least one project — the four-laning of Chenani-Nashri section of NH-1A — has been completed at a cost of Rs 4,700 crore and inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2017.
Of the 11 projects under the PMDP in the Kashmir region, only three are off the ground including four-laning of the Qazigund-Banihal section of NH-1A, of which 72 per cent has been completed — none of the others has made any significant progress.
In the Ladakh region, at least two major projects — construction of cold storage facility at Leh and Kargil and subsidy support for setting up solar driers — found no takers.
The development package of Rs 80,068 crore for the state was announced by the Prime Minister on November 7, 2015. It comprised 61 major development works to be implemented by 15 central ministries with the assistance of the state government. The last review of the PMDP, by the Union Home Secretary, when the BJP-PDP alliance was intact showed that Rs 62,991 crore (approximately 79 per cent) had been sanctioned by March end this year.
However, just Rs 24,443 crore (31 per cent) had been released, and the amount utilised was even lower at Rs 20,417 crore (25 per cent). Official records also show that at least 28 big-ticket projects — each worth Rs 1,000 crore or more — under the PMDP are stuck at various stages.
When contacted, former J&K finance minister Haseeb Drabu said that for many projects, the scope of some investments was not confined to just Jammu or Kashmir. “You can’t pin it to one region. Road and power projects benefit the entire state, not just Jammu or Kashmir,” he said and added that there was no question that fund allocation or development has been lopsided. “It was equal across regions. The fund allocation was well balanced.”
Former minister in the Mehbooba Mufti cabinet and the chief spokesperson of the PDP-BJP government Naeem Akhtar said Ram Madhav’s statement on differential development in the regions was “the most incorrect statement made in recent years”.
“There were several initiatives taken for the development of Jammu and Ladakh. There was a deficit in some departments. These departments suffered in all regions and BJP knows which departments these are,” he said.
It is not only projects worth Rs 1,000 crore or more, which are struggling to make progress. The 61 projects under the PMDP also include 10 – each that costs Rs 100 crore or less. The Valley has four such projects totalling Rs 307 crore, while the Jammu and Ladakh regions account for two and four projects costing Rs 275 crore.
While both the Jammu projects have been completed, in Kashmir, only two of the four are nearing completion while in Ladakh, two projects are awaiting the release of central funds, and two others are still under progress.