Srinagar, Aug 14: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has slammed the Jammu & Kashmir Government for selecting three projects under the Tourism Ministry’s” Swadesh Darshan” scheme.
The CAG report, which was tabled in the Parliament in the recently concluded monsoon session, has pointed out that these projects were selected without considering factors such as current tourist traffic, connectivity potential, and stakeholder consultation.
The Swadesh Darshan scheme was launched by the Union Tourism Ministry in 2015 for the development of tourist infrastructure in India.
In its report, the CAG said that these projects were picked up from existing developed tourist destinations or unviable sites were selected.
“As per the scheme guidelines, tourist circuits/destinations were to be identified considering factors such as current tourist traffic, connectivity potential and significance attached to the site, holistic tourist experience. However, identification criteria for the components planned and executed under the project was not mentioned in the respective DPRs. The projects were picked up from existing developed tourist destinations or unviable sites were selected. It was noticed that three projects were planned without considering factors such as current tourist traffic, connectivity potential, stakeholder consultation,” the CAG said.
The CAG revealed that a project under the scheme was executed at Suchetgarh , Jammu, despite being a sensitive location.
“Suchetgarh (Jammu) is situated in a sensitive border location. Despite knowing this fact, the state government selected this location for the execution of a project under the Himalayan circuit in Jammu & Kashmir and completed it by incurring an expenditure of Rs 3.71 crore. During the site visit, it was noticed that the project completed under the scheme is occupied and used by the Border Security Force (BSF) for their operational purposes, hence defeating the very purpose of the project,” reads the report.
The CAG noticed that Jammu & Kashmir government took up a project under the scheme in Salamabad Uri without ensuring availability of land for it.
“The component ‘Integrated Development of Border Tourism at Salamabad-Uri’ under Swadesh Darshan Scheme was entrusted to J&K Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC) by State Tourism Department. The land belonged to National Hydroelectric Power Corporation NHPC) and despite knowing this fact, the implementing agency went ahead with project execution. During physical inspection, it was seen that NHPC had constructed a wall around the land and work had been stopped after incurring an expenditure of Rs 1.27 crore for earthwork for basement and foundation columns, etc., which thus proved to be unfruitful,” the report states.
The CAG report mentions that the J & K Government took up work for an amusement park at Tattoo Ground Srinagar without ensuring availability of land for the same.
“Similarly, land of Amusement Park at Tattoo Ground, Srinagar was in occupation by the Armed Forces. Without ensuring land availability, work was taken up and an expenditure of Rs 0.16 crore was incurred. Later, the Armed Forces did not allow construction and work was stopped. Thus, due to poor planning, the project turned out to be a total loss and got dropped,” the report states. (KNO)
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