Srinagar: About 12 years after the then-government started it with a six-month deadline for completion, construction of Sri Pratap Singh (SPS) library in the summer capital of the state is still going on.
In 2004, then-chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed laid foundation stone of the library’s new building at Lal Chowk, Srinagar. And he gave the construction company, Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC), six months to complete the project.
The library, previously located at Lal Mandi, Srinagar, was to be reconstructed as a state-of-the-art facility with a total expenditure of Rs 17.34 crore.
The five-storey building was envisaged to have an art gallery, an auditorium, fire-proof blocks for manuscripts, an exhibition hall, a section for children, a researchers’ cabin, and a cafeteria.
However, more than a decade later—the period in which three governments changed in the state—only two storeys of the building are ready for use, while the work on its remaining three storeys is far from complete.
Official in the department of Libraries told Kashmir Reader that the delay was result of a dispute over land and issues with funding.
“A lady moved court with a claim that a part of the land earmarked for the building was her; the College of Education also argued that a portion of the land belonged to it. The court stayed the construction for many years,” an official said.
“Poor funding from the government delayed the work. For many years, the government didn’t release funds for the construction of the library, resulting in the long delay,” another official added.
They said the delay has resulted in an increase in the total cost of the project.
“Initially, it required Rs 17 crore, but the project now needs more money,” they said.
The officials also blamed JKPCC.
“Every year, the JKPCC only works on the project for two months, as it is simultaneously involved in many projects in the state,” they said.
Managing director of JKPCC, Daleep Thusoo, however, refused to take the blame.
“Basically, the delay happened because the funds were kept withheld for a long time in the previous years. But now all the required funds have been released and the construction will be completed by the end of August this year,” he said.