In a major overhaul to Jammu and Kashmir’s infrastructural landscape, the World Bank-funded, Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project’s (JTFRP’s) megaprojects are acting as agents of change across the region.

“We are doing our best to keep the pace of the projects”, Chief Executive Officer, JKERA & JTFRP, Dr. Syed Abid Rasheed Shah, said. “We are glad that the projects undertaken by the JTFRP are making some mark on the ground and acting as agents of change,” he added.

The CEO also said, “J&K is prone to multiple disasters like floods, earthquakes, flash floods, avalanches etc and for strengthening of response systems to these disasters, we at JTFRP recently have taken several initiatives and also held a day-long workshop on Multihazard Risk Assessment.”

It may be recalled that in this regard, the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Union Ministry of Finance, Government of India, have recorded their praise for the Jammu and Kashmir Government for the successful implementation of World Bank-funded projects JTFRP during virtual Tripartite Portfolio Review Meeting (TPRM) held recently.

The Bank team informed that the project has made notable progress in the last 1.5 years and all milestones agreed upon after the extension have been completed.

“80% of the total disbursement till date has indeed been achieved in the last one year,” the Bank team observed.

The CERC implementation has progressed well including the oxygen generation plants. While the key concerns that need to be addressed in the project focus needed to close the gap between the financial and physical progress improved the performance of the two lagging PIUs, update and disclosure of EIA/EMP on Bridgeworks and hospitals, and address the gaps in staffing the safeguard.

The project team has reaffirmed that the project was able to show progress in the last 1.5 years. The project exceeded the disbursement targets and achieved all agreed actions in the last TPRM.

“This project has shown positive progress in the rural areas (artisan support) and supported the UT in the COVID times by augmenting the capacities at primary and secondary Health Care Centres,” the Bank team lauded during the virtual meeting.

The DEA has recorded praise for the project implementation during the virtual Tripartite Portfolio Review Meeting’ (TPRM) between DEA, World Bank, and the Project Authority—further observing that there was now weekly monitoring of the project with a weekly update of the Management Information System (MIS).

The TPRM, which reviewed the progress of various projects funded by the World Bank across the country was attended by the senior officers of the DEA (Department of Economic Affairs) Ministry of Finance, Govt of India, World Bank, and senior officers of various EA’s (Executing Agencies). The meeting expressed immense satisfaction over the marked improvement in the implementation of the World Bank-funded USD 250 million Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project in Jammu and Kashmir.

Earlier the meeting noted that disbursement has to improve in the next 5 to 6 months. It was unanimously agreed during the meeting that Jammu and Kashmir Government is directed to achieve a disbursement target of USD 40.00 million in the Bank’s financial year 2021.

It was also recorded in the meeting that there has been tremendous progress in the project in the last one year and it should be maintained. According to the meeting, an amount of 50 million USD has been allocated to the CERC component.

“We have gone ahead of the previous disbursement targets set by the DEA,” said CEO, JKERA & JTFRP, Dr. Syed Abid Rasheed Shah. He said that his team would continue to give their best in every possible way to complete the vital developmental projects works on the component of strengthening and restoration of livelihood and the component of the strengthening of the critical infrastructure of the World Bank-funded JTFRP.

“The new disbursement target will be met well in advance due to big improvements in the implementation of the project,” the CEO assured.

JTFRP project funded by the World Bank has 7 components which include components including Reconstruction and strengthening of the Critical Infrastructure, Reconstruction of the roads and bridges, Restoration of the Urban Flood Management System, Restoration and strengthening of the Livelihoods, Strengthening of the Disaster Risk Management System, Contingency Emergency Response for Covid -19 and Implementation Support. Pertinently in the last quarter of July- September appreciable progress has been made under the project with 96.41%, 86.52%,100%,78.30%, and 55.15% sub-projects awarded under the component,1,2,3,4 and 5 respectively.

Silk factory gets WB push

In order to increase the production of silk garments across the Valley, the Jammu and Kashmir Government is focusing on upgrading the silk factory with new facilities and equipment funded by the World Bank (WB).

With this, the government aims to generate more employment in the valley and is upgrading the new building with the machinery of the latest technology so that this factory is able to produce larger quantities of silk.

Zamir-ullah, the manager at the factory said that these facilities would benefit the local people and help in generating employment in the Kashmir Valley. He added that the new machines would also help them compete in the market.

“Most of the buildings and around 50 percent of the machinery here got damaged in the 2014 floods. This forced our employees to sit at home. We thank the World Bank for its funding. This would boost our silk production. We will have effective and efficient results. They helped us at a time when we thought this business was dying,” he said.

“The machines cost somewhere around Rs 5 crores to Rs 6 crores. With these new machines, we hope that we will have new designs and we can compete in the market. This industry supports the livelihoods of around 23,000 families. This will also create jobs and benefit locals,” he added.

Many families in Srinagar depend on the silk factory for their livelihood. They work at home and make silk raw material and sell that to the factory. An employee at the factory said “We are very happy because of this project. We can no longer work on old machines. It will make our work easy and it will benefit us. We thank the government for this project. We didn’t have this many facilities earlier.”

“With the new building and the latest machinery, we hope that it will benefit us a lot. That would also increase production. Till now, we used to work by repairing these machines. Now, we hope new machines would bring success. We are eagerly waiting for the new building to get ready soon,” said Bashir Ahmad, another employee working at the factory.

The project is worth around Rs 12.5 crores and is funded by the Work Bank through the Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA). The process to upgrade the factory is underway and efforts are being made by the government to finish the project at the earliest. This project is expected to generate more employment.

Meanwhile, the government is also focusing on the production of mulberry crops and the production of cocoons to boost silk production in the state and generate more employment.

Moreover, with an objective to give a determined push to the growth of the woolen industry in Jammu and Kashmir, Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha had inaugurated the Showroom cum Interpretation Centre at Government Woolen Mill, Bemina established under the World Bank-funded Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project (JTRFP).

In the 1st Phase of the project, the Showroom cum Interpretation Centre was completed at a cost of Rs 4.25 crores. The sub-project was undertaken as part of the Restoration & Strengthening of Livelihood component of the JTFRP project. In Phase II, up-gradation of machinery and ancillary work – shall be completed by August 2021 end at a cost of Rs 4.00 crores.

Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor had observed that the new Showroom cum Interpretation Centre will greatly impact the livelihood opportunities of people working in the mill, besides providing market opportunities for the thousands of wool-producing farmers in J&K. At the same time, the new facility will give a massive revamping to Woolen industry of the region.

Stressing on providing viable market opportunities to those associated with the wool production, the Lt Governor asked the officers to work put in committed efforts and formulate a comprehensive strategy to promote local woolen products at the national and international market.

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