At the last leg of his 3-day tour of Rajouri and Poonch districts, Minister for PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control Mr. Sham Lal Sharma today inaugurated six PHE schemes and laid foundation stone of one PHE scheme in far-flung areas of Poonch district.The PHE schemes inaugurated at Kulani, Nubna, Salotri, Dhar Kass, Dahrot, Balakote, and Surankote developed at a cost of Rs. 7.28 crore and would provide safe drinking water to over 10000 souls of over 2 dozen villages. The Water Supply Scheme at Nangali Sahib would be developed at an estimated cost of Rs. 1.71 crore and on completion over 1000 souls of half a dozen villages will be benefited with the facility of drinking water.During his tour to these twin districts, the Minister also took detailed review of all ongoing schemes of PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control. He obtained complete feedback about the status of these schemes and over all drinking water scenario and irrigation potential. He also interacted with the people at different places en-route and listened to their grievances and issued on the spot instruction to the administration for addressing these on priority.
Addressing largely attended public meetings at Nangali Sahib, Mendhar, Balakote and Surankote, the Minister said that the government was determined to improve all basic services for the people in all three regions of the State, especially in the rural and far-flung areas. He said during the past over five years, the government has given focused attention to upgrade the existing infrastructure of all vital sectors, like PHE, Health, Education, Road Connectivity and Social Welfare and there is a sea change in the situation and improvement is visible on ground.Maintaining that PRIs are the vital ground level institutions to ensure development in the rural areas, the Minister said that Panchayats will be further empowered so that they can contribute equally in the development process. He asked the Sarpanches and Panches to serve the people as per their mandate for which they have been voted to power by the people. He asked them to play their supervisory role in the designated departments.
In order to get rid of the problem of drinking water in these twin districts, the Minister directed the engineers to formulate mega schemes, keeping in view the future requirements of the areas. He also directed them to formulate projects of flood protection to save the land and protect the properties of people at all vulnerable areas. He issued specific instructions to the engineers to expedite the flood restoration works in Poonch and Rajouri districts in a time bound manner. He informed the people that the department has already formulated two flood protection schemes to channelize the most affected parts on different nallahs and rivers amounting to Rs. 23.89 crore and the projects will be sent to the centre for funding. This would enable protection of large chunk of land and properties at the flood prone areas.Earlier, in the morning the Minister addressed a huge gathering of civil society of Poonch and appealed them to maintain peace and communal harmony and helped the administration in ensuring all round development of the area. He appreciated the role of civil society for defeating the evil design of vested interests recently that resulted into communal tension at some parts of the State. He cautioned them to remain vigilant against such conspirancies and defeat their attempts always in future.Vice Chairman Gujjar and Bakerwal Advisory Board Choudhary Bashir Ahmed Naaz, Legislators Ajaz Jan, Sardar Rafiq Hussain Khan, Jahangir Mir, DC Poonch Sajjad Ahmed Khan, SSP Poonch Ch. Shamsheer Hussain, Chief Engineer PHE K. K. Gupta, CE I&FC Varinder Badyal, prominent leaders including Abid Kashmiri, Ms. Parveena, Rajiv Khajuria, and Sarpanches and Panches also accompanied the Minister in their areas.