Shopian: Industrial Training Institute (ITI) Shopian, founded in 1979, has yet to get an academics building; the students at the institute receive trainings in the hostel building.
A new building for academic trainings was inaugurated in 2006. Eleven years after construction was taken up by Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC), the building is still incomplete. The corporation left the construction incomplete claiming that the Department of Technical Education has not paid them the dues.
Officials from technical education told Kashmir Reader that corporation didn’t follow the approved costs and guidelines set by the department.
This leaves the institute with no classrooms, except for the institution’s hostel building. The new building, JKPCC officials said, would have provided 12 big halls, two staff rooms and washrooms.
Sahil Rasheed Bhat, Superintendent if the industrial technical education in Shopian, told Kashmir Reader that the institution is failing to meet the demand for courses in stenography, horticulture and other sectors because of lack of infrastructure. Bhat said that JKPCCC stopped construction in 2013 despite release of funds to the corporation.
Officials in technical education department also voice their concerns about the land area available for the institute. There ITI, they say, has nine kanals of land while the minimum requirement was 20 kanals. “We have adjusted student numbers to the available space in the hostel building and workshops,” he said.
Students allege that corrupt official practices were responsible for the delay in the construction. A group of students from the institute told Kashmir Reader that the Shopian ITI did not have even has as good infrastructure as that of other districts.
Bhat, however, claims that the institute was functioning above optimum capacity only to ensure that more and more students are trained. “We started extra training batches at much higher roll as compared to the infrastructure available. We have funds in department for the construction of buildings and installing machinery, but the institute has no new more land to raise new buildings and the incomplete building prevents installation of machines.”
The superintendent added that he raised the issue of the delay in completion of the new building with concerned authorities, but no steps were taken to ensure completion of the building.
Executive Engineer JKPCC, Muhammad Hussain, told Kashmir Reader that they had submitted estimated cost Rs 88.91 lacs for the construction of the single story building but the directorate of technical education approved only 82.20 lacs without informing the items of work which were deleted by the directorate. JKPCC claims that they required additional amount of Rs 22.87 lacs for the project. “We submitted estimate of second story of the building at the cost of Rs 80.40 lacs while as department approved 80.38 lacs,” he said.
He added that if the funds would be released, we will restart work on the building.
But an official of technical education, contradicted JKPCC’s claim, saying that the corporation had not seen the approved cost and work details till the completion of new building.
Deputy Commissioner Shopian, Muhammad Aijaz told Kashmir Reader that the JKPCC and technical education department had issues regarding payments, which needed to be sorted. “I have intervened in this regard, I am going to call a meeting in my office as well in this regard very soon. I will also take up this issue to higher authorities in civil secretariat,” he said.
“I have ordered explanations from both the departments on delay of construction and fund issues,” he said, adding that he hopes that the building is opened for operations soon.