“I have provided ₹ 50 lakh last year for the beautification of Raghunath Bazar and same amount would be provided this year”, he said adding that additional amount to complete this project would be earmarked as per its requirement.
Ironically, only last week a delegation of Raghunath Bazaar Businessmen Association (RBBA) had called on Minister for Planning Development, Labour and Employment, Ajay Sadhotra, and submitted a memorandum demanding from him to issue directions to the Planning Department to immediately release the balance sum of ₹ 3.67 crore so that the project is completed on war footing as the same has already been delayed by a couple of years since it was sanctioned and formulated in the year 2008.
On ground zero the regular visitors to the market continue to face hardships on account of lack of basic amenities in the crowded market flooded with visitors/tourists from different parts of the country.
The beautification project sanctioned at a whopping cost of ₹ 6.62 crore is yet to take off in the absence of political will and lack of interest on the part of state govt authorities.
Last year even the CAG report had painted a black picture with regard to progress of the project.
According to the CAG report on Jammu district, the development of Raghunath bazaar of the city as a heritage project was taken up at en estimated cost of ₹ 6.62 crore in 2009-10.
The project involved facelifting of the bazaar and modernization/upgradation of the the overhead power distribution/telephone network.
The CAG stated in its report that the implementation of the programme had been tardy as the departments had spent only 1.06 crore on the project out of ₹ 2.27 crore released by the state government up to March 2011.
Barring one odd electric pole, decorated with sample ornamental material, none of the poles have been decked up. Some historic material including water taps of Dogra era were seen covered with posters.The main bazaar lacks basic facilities and poses major hardships to regular visitors as it remain overcrowded due to haphazard parking.
According to representatives of RBBA due to paucity of funds several works for the beautification of Raghunath Bazar including ornamental casing of electric poles to be executed by SICOP, antique look PSPs to be installed by PHE and made by SICOP, under ground cabling of telephone cable by BSNL, laying of pavements by PWD (R&B) by fixing Dholpuri stone, red Agra stone and Mastic asphalt road surface in the bazaar and laying of rain water drains by UEED could not be completed so far.