SHOPIAN: More than 12 years have passed since construction was started in 2006 on a new building for the Industrial Technical Institute (ITI) Shopian at an estimated cost of Rs 1.75 crore. But despite over a decade having passed, the building is still incomplete, forcing the ITI authorities to run operations from the institute’s hostel building.
Officials from the Department of Technical Education told Kashmir Reader that the issue of ITI Shopian was not new and that every high-ranking official was aware of its status. The issue has even been raised thrice during board meetings, but despite that ITI Shopian continues being ignored by people in government as well as higher ups in Technical Education.
Established in 1979, ITI Shopian has 250 students enrolled but is considered the most outdated among the other ITIs in the Valley. Students studying in the institute said they want to pursue new courses but are unable to do so due to the lack of a building and of modern gadgets and infrastructure.
Deputy General Manager, Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC), Masood Ahmad Wangoo said that the Department of Technical Education owes them Rs 22 lakhs and that is why they were not able to complete the pending work. “They owe us Rs 22 lakh, but despite that I told them several times to release at least Rs 11 lakh so that we can make the building functional. I even brought this issue up with Director Technical Education and now I am going to meet him in his office soon,” he said, adding that first storey of the ITI building is complete but the institute authorities are not willing to shift into it.
“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,” an official from Technical Education told Kashmir Reader.
Students from the institute allege the government has neglected education facilities in this hilly district. They said that government deliberately wants students of Shopian to suffer.
ITI Superintendent Sahil Rasheed Bhat 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 subjects because of lack of infrastructure. “About 150 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.
“There is much demand for new courses like computer, data entry operators, network maintenance, drafts and civil courses, but lack of space and infrastructure stop us from starting these courses,” Bhat said.
Bhat also said that several high-ranking officials had visited the institute to take stock of the arrangements but their visit turned futile as institution is in the same condition it was years ago.
Officials in the 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.