PWD Minister stops Jammu macadamisation as it could not simultaneously start in Kashmir
JAMMU: The mystery about abrupt halt to macadamisation of Jammu roads unfolded on Saturday with insiders in the Public Works Department saying that men and machinery rolled back from various sites in the capital city on the impromptu directions of senior PWD leader and Minister for Works Altaf Bukhari.
The directions created panic among the lower rung engineers who rolled back the machinery to stores in order to escape the wrath of Bukhari, a close aide of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed. The electrifying orders left the Jammu based BJP ministers and legislators dumb stricken with none of them even seeking the explanation for impromptu decision, especially at a time when macadamisation was in full swing across the city. They were put to such a huge embarrassment that some line-departments had to fill the ditches, dotted like pock marks on Jammu roads, with waste building material to give smooth passage to Home Minister Rajnath Singh on May 27.
Sources told STATE TIMES that the PWD minister was peeved over taking up macadamisation in the winter capital ahead of Srinagar and peripheries due to Hartals and protests called by separatists, especially Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
According to sources, the PDP leadership took strong offence to taking up of macadamisation in Jammu and the matter was brought to the notice of the highest political executive. In quick succession of events, the PWD Minister was chartered to Jammu to ensure personally that the men and machinery are removed from the roads. The sources said that the equipment was rolled back to stores while the material and residual coal tar was left at the project sites.
A senior officer in the PWD, who wished not to be quoted, informed that the PWD Minister summoned the top departmental brass and ordered to stop the work. “We had to obey the orders,” he said, however adding that the work may again stop within days.
“What can we do when the BJP Ministers, who were supposed to have taken care of legitimate Jammu interests, are scared of their PDP colleagues”, a middle rung official said, adding that the political interference has demoralized the engineers to a huge extent.
On their part, the BJP ministers and legislators, who have lost their faces, are finding themselves in shell shocked for being taken to ride by the ‘senior’ coalition partner. They had intended to showcase development on Jammu roads in order to eschew the growing disenchantment among the people in once stronghold of Sangh Parivar. But, the suo motto action by the PDP has further compromised the position of BJP, which is seen as weakest coalition partner the state ever had.