ITI Shopian stuck in payment row, students suffer

ITI Shopian stuck in payment row, students suffer
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SHOPIAN: The conflict between the departments of technical education and Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC) over the construction of academic building of the Industrial Training Institute (ITI) in Shopian has left the student in lurch and hampered the normal functioning of the institute.
Students said that the institute is run from a hostel building for the past one decade as formal classrooms were not available.
An official from ITI Shopian said that the issue was raised in board meeting and the director technical education visited the institute to assure that the matter would be solved. He said that despite these developments, the condition of the institute remained unaltered.
According to the officials from technical education department, the ITI Shopian was founded in 1979 but there was no development in terms of infrastructure and equipments for the training of the students.
Students said that ITI Shopian was the most outdated institute in the valley, both in terms of infrastructure and permanent staff. “We want to pursue new courses and training but the institute lacks requisite facilities,” one of the students said.
A new building for academic trainings was inaugurated in 2006. Twelve years after construction was taken up by JKPCC, the building still awaits completion. The corporation left the construction incomplete claiming that the Department of Technical Education has not paid them the dues, sources said.
Sahil Rasheed Bhat, ITI superintendent, told Kashmir Reader that the institute was unable to meet the demands of the students who want to pursue courses in stenography, horticulture, electric and other courses because of lack of infrastructure.
“About 225 students were pursuing different courses in our institute but we don’t have separate space for class work and workshops. Due to the lack of infrastructure we were not able to introduce new trades and courses. For example in electrician trade we want to introduce second unit after the huge demand of students but lack of space disallows us. We have only one permanent technical instructor in the institute and rest are on contractual basis,” Bhat said.
Bhat said that he has brought the issue of the lack of accommodation into the notice of the concerned authorities, but no steps have been taken for the completion of the building.
Officials in technical education department say that the institute is also lacking adequate space. They say the ITI complex owns nine kanals of land against the minimum requirement of 20 kanals. “We have adjusted student numbers to the available space in the hostel building and workshops,” an official said.
Deputy Director Technical Education Kashmir, MS Parray told Kashmir Reader that he visited the institute several times to take stock of the situation. This includes a visit along-with the director technical education. “The JKPCC has shown cost escalations while delaying the construction work.. Currently we are waiting for the sanction of funds. As soon as the funds would be released we will pay the outstanding dues to the corporation as per norms,” he said.
JKPCC deputy general manager (unit 12 Pulwama) Masood Ahmad Wangoo told Kashmir Reader that he has sought funds for the completion of the building. “An amount of Rs 22 lacs is still pending with the technical education department. If they pay us Rs 15 lacs, we can make the building operational,” he said.
He added that the initial estimate was for the construction of single storey at a cost of Rs 88.91 lacs. The second storey was added to the plan against an estimate of Rs 85.40 lacs including the staircase. However, the technical education department didn’t release the funds in time resulting into cost escalation to the tune of Rs 185.45 lacs. “If the revised cost is not taken into consideration, the department still owes us an amount of Rs 11 lacs, as per the old estimates,” he said.
Minister of technical education Imran Raza Ansari told Kashmir reader that he will ask the director technical education to look into the issue and hopefully it will be solved soon.