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Freeze costs, specifications, timelines before taking up projects: Mehbooba

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SRINAGAR: Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, on Tuesday directed all executing agencies to take up projects only after costs, specifications and timelines are frozen by the indenting departments.
She added that the government cannot afford any cost overruns and delay in completion of projects which creates lot of hardships for the people. “The Department also needs to prepare a list of works to be prioritised this year, as we have a very limited working season at our disposal,” she added.
The Chief Minister said this while chairing a high-level meeting to review the functioning of the R&B Department.
Besides the Minister for Public Works & Parliamentary Affairs, A. R. Veeri, Chief Secretary, B. R. Sharma, Financial Commissioner, Planning & Monitoring, B. B. Vyas, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Navin K. Chaudhary and Commissioner/ Secretary, R&B, Rohit Kansal, also attended the meeting.
Expressing concern over cost escalations and inability of the department to complete projects on time, the Chief Minister said that all indenting departments should henceforth consult the executing agencies beforehand so that projects’ cost, specifications and timelines are frozen.
The Chief Minister also directed R&B Department to make advance preparations so that work on the newly-sanctioned five medical colleges is taken up immediately, for which funding by the Union Health & Family Welfare Ministry is expected shortly.
On making SRDC viable, the Secretary R&B revealed that Madhya Pradesh Model will be examined, since the corporation there has done a phenomenal job in laying excellent roads.
On the direction given by the Chief Minister regarding empanelment of expert consultants for fast-tracking preparation of DPRs, FC P&M said a Committee has been framed which will speed up engagement of experts so that projects take off on time. He also suggested reducing post-receipt tendering period, which will enable early allotment of work contracts and avoid cost escalations.
The Secretary R&B informed the meeting that MoRTH (Ministry of Road Transport & Highways) is expected to release a further tranche of Rs.4000 crore this year which will enable the department to take up new projects and upgrade existing ones over the next three years.

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