While the government has shown no interest so far to rebuild the schools that were mysteriously burnt during the widespread protests of last year, it has curiously allotted an amount of Rs 2.75 crore to Waqf Board for the reconstruction of school building in Anantnag torched during the same protests.
Officials said the funds have been released to Waqf Board to carry out the reconstruction of Islamia Hanfia Higher Secondary School, Anantnag as a “special case” committed by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti last year.
“After the school was torched, CM Mehbooba Mufti made a comittment to Waqf Board that governmemnt will provide funds out of its budget to restore the school,” said an official of Waqf Board. Interestingly, over 32 schools including Islamia Hanfia HSS Anantnag was torched by arsonist during summer agitation which await reconstruction despite the passage of over eight months.
The Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) has prepared a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for worth Rs 8 crore and submitted to the administrative department for release of funds, however no amount has been released so far. “There was no headway in release of funds for restoration of schools torched in summer agitation of 2016,” officials in school education department said.
However, the then Principal Secretary School Education Department Shalin Kabra has released Rs 2.57 under capex budget of 2016-17 for its further placement at the diosposal of Chief Executive J&K Board for Muslim spoecified WAKS and specified Wakf properties for its utilization during the current financial year 2016-17 for restoration of the school.
“The release of funds is subject to the fulfillment of all codal formalities while incurring expenditure and the funds shall be utilized strictly for the purpose these have been released,” reads the order.
The order reads that no diversion of funds is allowed at any level and utilization certificate of funds be submitted to the Administrative Department for onward submission to Accountant General.
“The expenditure on this account shall be debitable to the Major head,” reads tje order.
Meanwhile, the Waqf officials said the government has released the amount in favor of Waqf Board and the construction work has been assigned to Public Works Department. “But the work has not been started yet by PWD. We have not utilized any amount in this regard,” the official said.
He said the construction will be started soon and will be completed by the end of the year.
Pertinently, the minister for education recently pleaded before Union Minister for Human Resource Development (MHRD) for restoration of schools torched in Kashmir during 2016 unrest.
However the Union Minister asked the state delegation to furnish a comprehensive proposal to get central assistance for gutted and unsafe school buildings in Kashmir.