SOPORE: Among the government’s many unfinished projects, the community hall at Seelu village of Sopore town in north Kashmir Baramulla district is at a rueful standstill. Located in the middle of the village near its government primary school, the hall lies only as an abandoned structure that has not only become a hub for gambling but is also a safe house for drug addicts too.
Seelu village houses around 2,000 families and is situated on the Sopore-Kupwara highway, stretching from Model Town area of Sopore on one side to Bomai village on the other. An incomplete, abandoned structure bordered by the village school and its Panchayat Ghar, the once-proposed community hall has become a safe shelter for immoral activities, making villagers worried for their children’s safety and future.
Work on the construction of the hall began eight years ago, but the building remains incomplete with its few rooms now a haven for drug addicts, gamblers and those who indulge in other immoral activities. The residents of this village were elated when work on the hall started but are now ruing the site’s proximity to the government primary school on one side and the Panchayat Ghar on the other.
“It was around 2010 when construction started on this community hall. We were happy as it would have been fruitful for our village, but after a year, the work suddenly got stopped and the hall was left unattended,” village resident Abdul Gaffer Mir told Kashmir Reader.
“Now this place is witnessing all sort of immoral activities, from drug addiction to gambling, especially in afternoon and evening hours.”
A teacher of the government primary school, who wished not to be named, said that the community hall would have been a good step for Seelu as well as for the school, “but now looking at the present situation of this hall, we are worried about the safety of our school kids as many youths including middle-aged persons can be seen going inside this hall daily”.
Mohammad Yousuf, a senior citizen of the village, said, “We villagers have orchards on that side, but not only women, we men are afraid to go alone to the orchards.
“We don’t go to the hall side anymore, even the women are afraid of going that way to visit their orchards because of the presence of these people [gamblers, addicts]. This community hall side is becoming like a red zone for us,” Mohammad Yousuf said.
Seelu’s residents want to appeal to the concerned authorities to look into this matter before it becomes too late.