Steering committees fail to come up with a concrete action plan
* Same formal discussion not held on terms of reference
JAMMU, 2nd June: The much needed formulation and implementation of town planning schemes in the two divisions of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has remained confined to official records only due to absolute lack of seriousness at the level of the steering committees, which have not even begun to hold deliberations on the terms of reference in the last more than two months.
Government Decree No. 328-JK (GAD) of March 28, 2022 established division-level steering committees headed by divisional commissioners for the formulation and implementation of urban plans alongside the upcoming ring roads/green fields and reserved areas of the master plan and for the development of land use planning legislation.
It was specifically mentioned in the order that Jammu Development Authority and Srinagar Development Authority with the support of Jammu Planning Organization as well as Kashmir will be the agencies responsible for formulating Urban Plans and Steering Committees can select any member from any other department as per requirement.
However, even after more than two months, the steering committees have not started any exercise for reasons best known to those who run them, official sources told EXCELSIOR, adding “with regard to the steering committee of the division Jammu, only an introductory meeting was convened, but thereafter no interest was shown to carry out the required exercise”.
The Kashmir division steering committee has only taken one decision whereby restrictions were placed on any kind of construction within 500 meters of the ring road, sources said, adding “neither the steering committee of neither Jammu Division nor that of Kashmir Division held deliberations on the terms of reference while being aware that the preparation and implementation of the urban plans is a time consuming exercise and periodic meetings are necessary to hold the deliberations”.
The steering committees are required to draw up Urban Plans for the areas identified and submit them to the Government as soon as possible. In addition, these committees have the mandate to implement approved urban plans in the field, including the formulation of a special purpose vehicle for successful implementation.
“What to talk about reviewing these important aspects, even the terms of reference have not been prepared for the hiring of the consultant, which is otherwise the most important exercise to give practical shape to the decision of the government “, said sources.
They further informed that the steering committees are also required to draft legislation for local land use planning and the implementation of the urban plan after evaluating the various legislations relating to management, development and control. land in urban areas.
Stating that steering committees cannot afford to waste time, especially given the multiple tasks assigned to them, sources said that those who lead the committees and are their members are also required to coordinate with various agencies for data collection and validation/approval of conceptual designs/books, in addition to cost estimating and convergence of project components.
When contacted, some members of the two steering committees admitted that no serious discussion had taken place so far and said: “Those who lead the committees are required to call the meetings for deliberations and as officers superiors, they cannot be asked to start concentrating on the assigned task after regular intervals”.
Planning organization officials said they are ready with the information required, but this can only be shared and deliberated when steering committees begin to hold regular meetings.
The relevant Deputy Commissioner, Commissioners of Municipal Corporations of Jammu and Srinagar, Chief Executive Officers of Smart Cities Ltd, Deputy Chief Executive Officers of Jammu and Srinagar Development Authorities, Special Secretary of Department of Housing and Urban Development, Director of Land Records, Chief Urban Planners and some of the experts from outside the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir are members of the Steering Committees.
“Even the experts in the field who were appointed as members of the steering committees have not been formally contacted by the relevant authorities,” sources said.