ANANTNAG: When the government sanctioned degree colleges to different areas of the Valley in 2007, local politicians sold it as their achievement. But nine years later many of these colleges either remain far from completion or devoid of basic infrastructure. Degree College Kokernag is one such example. Construction work on the college started in 2008, immediately after the foundation stone was laid by the then chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and the local MLA, Peerzada Mohammad Syed, who was education minister at that time. This college, much to the annoyance of its students, is still under construction.
Initially the college functioned from the area’s higher secondary school till 2014, when five lecture halls of the college were completed. In October 2016, the college was shifted to the new building and now some 800 students are enrolled in the college. But the college continues to lack basic facilities, like proper water supply.
“Though some washrooms have been constructed in the college, they don’t have proper water facility. We have to bring water in buckets if we need to use the washroom. The college administration does not bother,” a group of students studying in the college told Kashmir Reader.
The lack of accommodation in the college, students said, is another problem.
“How can you expect quality education when you have just five lecture rooms for over 800 students? Students of one class have to wait till the lecture of another class is over. It is an irony that nine years have passed since the college began, but its building remains incomplete,” said a student.
Besides this, students have only a few Arts courses and a Bachelor in Tourism to choose from. Those who wish to study medical, science or commerce subjects have to travel to Degree College Anantnag, 30 km away.
“I am pursuing a BSc in the Women’s College at Anantnag. Every day, four hours are consumed in travelling to the college. Traffic jams on the route, both in the morning and in the evening, cause a lot of inconveniences to us. The degree college in our area has failed to serve any purpose,” said a student, Sheeraza.
Another student complained, “No outdoor activities are possible in the college as the ground is yet to be evened. You can see mounds of soil everywhere on the ground.”
Principal of the college, Prof Mohammad Maqbool Rather, said, “As such we don’t face any problems with the functioning of the college. The JKPCC has delayed the work of completion of the building and a fresh deadline has been set in the coming April. Hopefully, other streams will be introduced in the college very soon.”
He said that the college has been provided funds for water supply and work on the same is taking place. “We are expecting an increase in the admission applications this year,” he said.
An official of the JKPCC cited the 2016 uprising as the reason for delay in the completion of the building. “The delay was caused mainly due to the uprising. By May, we will hand over the finished building to the college authorities,” the official said.