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Tourism Department withholds funds of local bodies
4/16/2018 12:03:17 AM
Saahil Suhail

Early Times Report

Anantnag, Apr 15 : The Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department has arbitrarily withheld more than Rs. 80 Lakh allocated to the local bodies for carrying out sanitation works during last year's Amarnath Ji Yatra. According to details available Early Times, the Tourism Department hasn't yet released the amount despite multiple directions from the Finance Department for the same.
The urban Local Bodies in South Kashmir's Anantnag district had made arrangements and carried out sanitation works during last year's annual Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra. "We hired extra laborers and procured sanitation equipments (Tools and Plants), disinfectants and other material during the holy pilgrimage to keep the Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra route from Qazigund to holy cave neat and clean but now it has became difficult for us to face these poor laborers and firms who provided the sanitation equipments," an officer of Urban Local Bodies Department, whishing not to be named said. He said that Urban Local Bodies Department doesn't have enough funds out of which it could meat out the last year's expenditure of Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra. The officer that the extra laborers they hired for carrying out sanitation works during the holy pilgrimage had threatened to lockdown the offices of the municipal committees in Anantnag district in case the department failed to release their hard earned money. An official communication between Finance and Tourism department establishes the fact that later has arbitrarily withheld the funds of Urban Local Bodies. Finance Department letter vide No. FD-VII-20(8)3452/99-98-III dated 30-03-2018, directs Commissioner Secretary Tourism Department to settle the claim of Urban Local Bodies Department as a 'first charge' out of the budget 2018-19. The letters reads that Finance Department has already released the 50% of 2018-19 budget to the tourism department.
A week earlier, Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Minister Mufti Tassaduq Hussain had also assured that he look into the issue and will ensure the timely release of funds. Important to mention here, the Minister during Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra had commended the employees and officers of urban local bodies Kashmir for keeping the Yatra track neat and clean.
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