Damaged in 2014 floods, Pampore court complex left to rot

Damaged in 2014 floods, Pampore court complex left to rot
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Court operating from a cramped rented building

Mohammad Suhail/ Bilal Habib

Pampore: Putting to inconvenience hundreds of people the new Court Complex-in Pampore town of Pulwama district-is yet to be made functional again after getting damaged during the unprecedented floods of September 2014.
Lawyers at the Court blame the government for dawdling on the renovation to the point of letting the building deteriorate and inflate the estimated cost of renovation, by leaps and bounds.
Established in 1996, the Munsif Court in Pampore ran from a cramped, rented accommodation for over a decade and a half before moving into the new complex in 2014.
The new Court Complex constructed at a cost of over 3 Crore Rupees by the Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC), was “in wake of political meddling”, constructed in a highly flood prone area of Taanch Bagh.
“We had raised objection when the land was identified for two reasons. One the land was stripped out from a playground and second it was a highly flood prone area,” a lawyer at the Court told Kashmir Reader, adding that political nepotism ensured that the building was constructed at the same place.
The building suffered substantial damage during the 2014 floods in terms of infrastructure and the records at the court.
“The damage was however not that huge that it could not have been mended easily. A few lakh rupees could have been spent to make the building functional again,” the lawyers told Kashmir Reader.
They alleged that the building was left to rot and now the renovation cost has been escalated manifolds, which the government might now find uncomfortable in granting.
“The complex, due to the negligence, was even used as a cattle shed by nomads. The building has become a resort for drug addicts and thieves. They have not only damaged the building to great extent but also burnt books worth five lakh rupees,” the lawyers said.
For now the court complex has been shifted to the old rented accommodation along the national highway, where people are put to extreme unease due to lack of space.
“There is no parking, no waiting room and the court room is so small that three people become a crowd standing before the honorable judge,” locals alleged.
The lawyers said they feel greatly threatened to operate from a building along NH given the security scenario of the government buildings along the road, as of now.
“If the people entrusted with delivery of justice do not feel safe and comfortable, how can one expect that justice will be delivered to the common people?” the lawyers lament.
Jammu Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC) is sidelining itself from the issue of renovation.
“The Court authorities had requested that R&B should carry out the work. Hence there has been no estimate from our side for the work,” Deputy General Manager (DGM) JKPCC Pulwama, Masood Ahmad Gangoo told Kashmir Reader.
Executive Engineer (Ex En) R&B for Pulwama, Sajad Naquib, acknowledged that an estimate for renovation of the complex has been forwarded to the government.
“We have forwarded an estimate of 32.8 Lac Rupees to the government and it is yet to be approved,” he said.
Deputy Commissioner Pulwama, Ghulam Muhammad Dar, told Kashmir Reader that he would look into the matter.
“I do not have, right now, any idea why the work has not been initiated. I will look into it,” Dar said.
Secretary to the government Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary affairs, Abdul Majid Bhat, did not attend repeated calls.