Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Friday, September 12, 2008

73 Projects Costing Rs. 1092 Coming up under the Asian Development Bank Funding

This is addition to Rs. 1002 crore investment propsals for 23 projects cleared by the Government (2 reports)

73 projects costing Rs 1092 cr coming up under ADB funding in the State

Srinagar: Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) is constructing 73 mega projects in the state under Asian Development Bank (ADB) funding. These projects are coming up at a commulative cost of Rs 1092 crores. This was stated at a high level meeting chaired by Advisor to Governor, Mr. C. Phunsog here today.

The meeting reviewed the progress of ongoing projects taken up by ERA under ADB funding in the state.The meeting was informed that in Kashmir division 21 road projects costing Rs 358 crore, 17 bridges costing Rs 40.45 crore, 4 drainage projects costing Rs 102 crore and four urban water supply schemes are being executed by ERA. Whileas in Jammu, the Agency is constructing nine roads at a cost of Rs. 181 crore, three bridges at a cost of Rs.7.6 crore, four drainage projects at a cost of Rs 65.43 crore and 11 urban water supply schemes costing Rs 230.73 crores. The projects on completion would help to improve and expand the road connectivity, drinking water and drainage treatment facilities in the state.

Addressing the meeting Mr. Phunsog directed the concerned agencies and officers for ensuring timely completion of the ongoing projects and using quality material in their execution. He said that delay in the execution of the projects would not be tolerated and anyone guilty of it would face severe consequences. He said that close monitoring of the ongoing projects and timely review was essential for early completion of the projects.

The Advisor impressed upon the executing agencies to make proper surveys keeping in view the needs of the habitants while taking up new projects in hand. He also said that land requisition process be also expedited for newly upcoming projects and the ongoing ones which have got halted for want of required land. He also said that other impediments coming in the way of the execution should be removed so that work goes on smoothly.

Those who attended the meeting included Financial Commissioner Planning & Development Mr. S. L. Bhat,Principal Secretary/CEO, ERA, Mr. Pankaj Jain, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Mr. Masood Samoon, Commissioner/Secretary Housing & Urban Development Mrs. Seema Lankar, Director General Finance ERA Mr. B. L. Motto, Director ERA Jammu Mrs Veena Gupta, Director ERA Kashmir Mr. Tariq Ahmad Mir, Project Managers Transport Jammu, Kashmir and other senior officers and engineers of ERA.

Rs 1,002 cr investment proposals cleared

Srinagar: The government has cleared 23 projects, including that of Steel Authority of India, worth Rs 1,002 crore, an official spokesman said here today. Apex Clearance Committee (APCC) under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary S S Kapur yesterday approved a Rs 100-crore investment proposal of SAIL for setting up a steel processing unit at Pulwama in Kashmir, the spokesman said.

He said the project would have a production capacity of one lakh tonnes of TMT bars and GC sheets per annum and create large number of employment for locals.He said Shri Cements project, which has an investment of Rs 164 crore, was also approved. The project would create ancillary units.

The other projects cleared by the committee included projects for manufacturing of high precision auto components, terri-towels, cement, hi-tech batteries, low tension and high tension wire cables, steel products, paints, DG sheets, electric motors and steel pipes, the spokesman said.These projects would provide direct employment to about 5,500 people, he added.

(Kashmir Images)

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