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Dal Lake Conservation: Advisor seeks plan for utilisation of unspent funds.

Advisor to Governor KewalKrishan Sharma Monday directed officials to come up with a plan for “effective utilisation” of central funding for conservation of Dal Lake in Srinagar,  reported that Rs 380 crore allocated to Jammu and Kashmir for the water body’s preservation have remained unspent.

A source said the issue of unspent funding for Dal conservation came up for discussion during the maiden meeting chaired by Sharma to review the functioning of the finance department, after assuming the office on November 8. The meeting, apart from others, was attended by principal secretary, finance, Navin K Choudhary.

Sharma also holds the charge of housing and urban development department (H&UDD)—the parent department for Lakes and Waterways Development Authority, which has been entrusted with conservation of the lake.The source said the advisor stressed upon utilisation of the unspent funds, which were allocated to the State under different central packages during the past 14 years, but have remained unutilised.

On Sunday,  successive governments in J&K have failed to book expenditure of even a single penny out of Rs 380 crore allocated to the State for conservation of the lake.

While Rs 80 crore had been allocated to the State as part of Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Program (PMRP) by the Congress-led UPA government in 2004 for relocation and rehabilitation of Dal dwellers as part of lake’s conservation plan, Rs 300 crore were allocated for the program under PM’s Developmental Package (PMDP) in 2015.

The entire funding has however remained unspent.An official statement said the advisor had a detailed review of funds allocated under Prime Minister’s Development Program (PMDP) and asked for expediting the works under the package.

The advisor, according to the statement, sought recommendations on “effective utilisation” of funds for cleaning of the lake included in PMDP and directed that all issues discussed in the meeting shall be taken up with authorities concerned.The issue of non-utilisation of funds had first come to the fore during a review of the PMDP by the union home minister Rajnath Singh-led team in Kashmir last month. During the visit, apart from taking stock of security situation, the team had reviewed progress on different developmental projects funded by government of India.

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