Story of a no-where road built in Kashmir — RTI reveals corruption

Srinagar: Alleging embezzlement of funds, residents from some villages in Banihal tehsil in Ramban district claimed that construction of the road from Tethar to Takia via Perpora including blacktopping has been a mere paper-exercise.

A view of Tethar-Takia road in Banihal in Ramban district in Jammu region.                pix credit: Tahir Gul
A view of Tethar-Takia road in Banihal in Ramban district in Jammu region. pix credit: Tahir Gul

The condition of the road fromTethar to Takia via Perpora is in shambles due to which locals have to suffer, especially aged, ailing and expecting-mothers, asserted a group of residents, while talking to MG over phone.“Some deaths too have been reported due to untimely medical attention. There have been many cases where people carried their family members on their shoulders to reach the nearest hospital and in the process some lost their lives,” said Tahir Gul, a social activist of the area.

Gul shared that not only patients and ailing people have to bear the brunt but even education of students takes a backseat. “Due to poor connectivity, many parents ordered their children to quit schools that were far away from their respective homes and got them enrolled in nearby government schools.” Gul too faced lot of difficulties during his school-days but he somehow managed to swim through. After completing his 10+2 he opted for some technical course.

Gul shared that he alongwith some people from villages in the area tried their level best to put the proper infrastructure in place and met various officials, legislators and ministers in this connection, but to no avail. Consequently, he filed an RTI application in May this year to find out the funds allotted/released for the construction of the road.  A month later, Gul received a letter from the office of Public Information Officer, Executive Engineer, PWD (R&B) Division Ramban dated 06-07-2017 stating the amount spent on the construction of the road.

Some of the contents of the information received under RTI application reads: “The construction of the road from Tethar to Takia via Perpora was sanctioned during the year 2011-12 at a cost of Rs. 99.25 lakh under NABARD RIDF XVI the road stand completed upto BT status including construction B/walls, R/walls and X-drainage works for a length of 1.50 kms the total amount spent on the scheme isRs. 98.94 lakh up to ending 3-2017. Now there is a balance fund of Rs. 0.31 lakh only yet to be released for the said scheme.”

Gul alleged that out of 1.50 kilometres only half kilometer has been constructed by Public Works Department (PWD) and the other half has been completed by IRCON.

The RTI information further revealed that tentative award of compensation received from the Collector Land Acquisition (CLA) is Rs. 182.00 lakh out of which only Rs. 31.37 lakh have been released by the government which stands advance to CLA Ramban for further payment to the land owners.“There is a balance land compensation Rs 150.63 lakh yet to be advanced to the CLA for which no fund have been released by the government till date.”