JTFRP needs a serious follow up
Though the season that is known to be causing floods in the state of Jammu and Kashmir is over but the worries about any major disaster happening again owing to rising water level in two major rivers of the state continue to rise with every passing day.
The reason being that the field agencies have been resorting to snail’s pace work on the Rs 1500 crore World Bank funded Jhelum-Tawi Flood Recovery Project (JTFRP) which was started two years earlier.
The project attracted media attention when the state’s Chief Secretary pointed that the USD 250 million World Bank project sanctioned in the aftermath of devastating floods of September 2014 was already running in its third year but without commensurate progress.
The JTFRP will support the recovery and increase disaster resilience in Project Areas, and increase the capacity of the Project Implementing Entity to respond promptly and effectively to an eligible crisis or emergency.
The project involves seven components, including reconstruction and strengthening of critical infrastructure, reconstruction of roads and bridges, restoration of urban flood management infrastructure, restoration and strengthening of livelihoods, strengthening disaster risk management capacity, contingent emergency response and implementation support.
The project incorporates lessons learned from ongoing post-disaster recovery projects financed by World Bank in Uttarakhand, Odisha, Bihar, and Andhra Pradesh, as well as worldwide.
However, the officials particularly the field agencies have been showing a lackadaisical attitude over working on the project and a sense of urgency that should have otherwise been the hallmark of the project was seen missing since the day the project was taken up.
The Project Steering Committee which supervises the all important project has also expressed its displeasure and said that the progress on the project needs to be further geared up in view of the fact that the project is already running in its third year.
What is more worrying the government at present is that the project completion date of 2020 is nearing fast and major restoration works are yet to be taken up.
Officials say the closing year for the JTFRP loan from World Bank being 2020 has prompted the government to gear-up for speedy implementation of the project.
The loss of precious 18 months in identifying the works to be carried out under the project is seen one of the major reasons for the delay. The issue of poor performance of projects under the JTFRP has been under review at various levels for quite some time with only 2% of the awarded money spent in three years.
The JTFRP envisages supporting recovery and increasing disaster resilience in project areas and increasing the capacity of the project implementing entity to respond promptly and effectively to crisis or emergency. Therefore, strengthening the State Disaster Management becomes all the more important feature of this project.
The flood management works of Jhelum and its tributaries are also being undertaken through JTFRPs Project Management Unit of World Bank, for which various national and international firms had participated.
However, the project needs a serious follow up at various levels so that the fixed timeline is adhered to and the WB allocates money on time to complete this critical project.