SRINAGAR: Approved more than two years ago, only two out of 68 special girls’ hostels have been completed by authorities in J&K working under a centrally sponsored scheme, even as they blame the summer unrest of 2016 for the slow pace.
Funded by the union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), the hostels are being built in the state by the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) with PWD (R&B) being the executing agency.
Meant to be set up in the state’s 97 Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs), the 68 hostels were granted an amount of Rs 20,369.69 lakh in the financial year 2016-17 as per the State Coordinator Girls’ Hostels, RMSA J&K, Shabina Shamim.
Of the 68 hostels, 39 are being set up in Kashmir, while 24 and 5 are being built respectively in Jammu and Ladakh, Shamim said.
While the girls’ hostels in Poonch and Rajouri have been completed, Shamim said that 18 hostels were “at finishing level” and there is a land dispute on six of them.
“The rest would hopefully be completed by the end of this year,” she added.
The remaining 29 of the 97 hostels due in the EBBs, Shamim said, have been approved in this year’s Project Approval Board (PAB) meeting, which was held on June 20.
The girls’ hostels as per Shamim would cater to the students of Classes 9 to 12 in the EBBs of the state.
At the hostels, each with a 100-bed capacity, a financial assistance of Rs 1,500 per child would be spent each month on food and accommodation alone, as per Shamim.
She said that “58-60 percent” of the released funds had been spent on the project.
On the slow pace of work, Shamim cited the 2016 uprising which gripped the entire Valley after the killing of Hizb commander, Burhan Wani.
“No work could be undertaken in the Valley during the unrest, due to which the pace of work remained slow,” she said.
Once all the hostels are functional in the state, the enrolment of girl students at the hostels remains a challenge for the RMSA, feels Shamim.
“Unlike in other Indian states, the girl students would not prefer to stay at the hostels, so it remains a challenge for us. Nonetheless, we are ready for the challenge,” she added.
Now that the remaining 29 hostels have been approved for the state this year, State Project Director RMSA Tufail Matoo said that they had given a “commitment” to the MHRD in the recently held PAB meeting that “by July 2019, all of them will be completed”.