Union Minister of State for Power R K Singh has criticised the tardy implementation of the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana and Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) in Jammu and Kashmir during the period 2015-17.
Though R K Singh did not name anyone, his criticism seemed to be directed towards his own party colleague, BJP leader Dr Nirmal Singh, the former J&K deputy chief minister who held the power portfolio first from March 1, 2015 to January 6, 2016, in the cabinet headed by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, and then from April 4, 2016 to April 29, 2018, during the tenure of Mehbooba Mufti as Chief Minister.
The IPDS, with a total outlay of Rs 32,612 crore, including budgetary support of Rs 25,354 crore from the Centre, was approved on November 20, 2014 to strengthen the power distribution network in urban areas. The Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana was launched in the beginning of 2015 to electrify every household in the country with a focus on rural areas.
Speaking at a function at a convention centre in Jammu on Sunday, R K Singh said that after assuming charge of the Power Ministry, he decided to visit J&K, visit the then unified state in October 2017. “While our schemes like Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana and Integrated Power Development Scheme had started in the country by the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015, the work on them had not begun here,” he said.
“Even now, the work on these schemes has not been complete. It is still pending and it has to be expedited,” the minister said
R K Singh said those who had been in power in the erstwhile state of J&K need to explain about the utilisation of Central funds, which had been higher than any other state in the country.
Pointing out that the power supply system in J&K was the worst in the country, he said, “I have been infamous for calling spade a spade… Firstly the decisions were not taken here and if taken, these smelt of corruption.”
“You shall ask them (the former J&K governments) whether they had called the bids and whether the allotment was done in a transparent manner,” he said.
He also appreciated Lt Governor Manoj Sinha’s for his “quick decisions” leading to the signing of various MoUs for the execution of the 850 MW Ratle hydroelectric project and the 930 MW Kirthai-II hydroelectric projects, among other projects. These MoUs were signed on Sunday between the Power Development Department, National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) Ltd., and the J&K Power Development Corporation.