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HindustanTimes Wed,27 Aug 2014

Jammu

Oppn walkouts over delay in start of Mubarak Mandi ropeway
Navneet Dubey, Hindustan Times
Jammu, February 21, 2014
First Published: 18:47 IST(21/2/2014)
Last Updated: 18:49 IST(21/2/2014)

Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Jammu Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) and Jammu Sangharsh Morcha (JSM) walked out from the assembly on Friday over the commissioning of Mubarak Mandi ropeway and the dilapidated condition of Samba-Mansar road.

BJP member Ashok Khajuria posed a question to know the status of cable-car project at Mubarak Mandi.
Urban development minister Nawang Rigzin Jora, speaking on the behalf of tourism minister, informed the House about the status of the project from Peerkoh to Mahamaya to Shahabad, Bahu Fort.

Hearing the reply, the BJP members said, "As per the proposal of starting point of ropeway project was Mubarak Mandi. Now you have changed it to Peerkoh, which is at some distance from original point. After constantly delaying the project for the last six years, the government is still not able to commission it as per actual plan."

The minister said, "Already the project is being delayed. We have to take environmental, wildlife, forest clearances and central empowered committee (CEC) recommendations from Supreme Court. Now its alignment cannot be changed. The foundation stone of project would be laid in the next week. Already it has been delayed by 4-5 years."

Expressing strong opposition to minister's reply, all the BJP members stood on their seats.

"What clearance are you talking about? When encroachment of forest land was going, did the government sought permission from Supreme Court," they said.

Khajuria alleged, "Government is harboring land grabbers to encroach the forest land, and on the other hand, scuttling the developmental projects of Jammu."

Shouting anti-government slogans BJP members walked out of the House.

Later, JKNPP member Harsh Dev, while raising a supplementary, asked, "In your reply, you have only transferred the funds for land acquisition and for shifting of transmission lines. But you have not made any provision for funds for actual ropeway project."

"The project was being delayed for the last five years. Now when CEC has gave you the permission for commissioning of the project, government has made no provision for grants for this project this year. The estimated cost of the project is 25 crore and government has not even allocated one crore for the project this year. Now when the foundation stone is being laid there no funds to commission the project," said Dev.

Accusing government with a "delay and deny" approach, Panthers Party members, along with the lone JSM member, staged a walkout from the House.

Tourism minister GA Mir said that a provision of `40 crore has already been kept for the construction of Mubarak Mandi ropeway, assuring that the project would be completed in time. Later, BJP, JKNPP and JSM also staged another walkout over dilapidated condition of Samba-Mansar road despite spending huge sums for its repair.

Speaker Mubarak Gul said, "Mansar is an important tourist destination. This road should be in proper condition."

Expressing dissatisfaction with the reply, Yashpal Kundal said, "The minister is saying that a sum of `3.41crore was incurred for renovation and repair of this road last year, which is a fraud. Not even 10% of the amount mentioned was spent."

JSM member Ashwini Sharma said, "People for all across the country visit Mansar. And to present them with such dilapidated condition of this road is extremely unfortunate".

Minister of state for roads and buildings Sajjad Kchloo assured the House, "I will personally visit the spot and check whether the funds were misused."

Harsh Dev said, "This is a massive scandal. It is a conspiracy to end tourism in Jammu."


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