Beerwah residents decry town hall neglect since 2014 floods

Beerwah residents decry town hall neglect since 2014 floods

BUDGAM: Authorities have failed miserably at carrying out repair work on the sole town hall here in Beerwah sub-division of Budgam district, which was damaged five years ago during the 2014 floods.
Constructed a decade ago at a project cost of over Rs 35 lakh, the town hall, which comprises a meeting hall and four additional rooms, was inaugurated in 2013 but was rendered useless by the devasting floods a year later.
However, the irony is that after a gap of five years, the authorities seem to have no “concrete planning” for its repair and renovation despite repeated requests from local residents.
Beerwah holds the tag of sub-district and was represented by former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for over four years. However, like others in the government, Omar too turned a blind eye towards this long-pending issue.
Locals blame Omar and Executive Officer (EO), Municipal Committee Beerwah, Shabir Ahmad for “failing” to ever repair the town hall despite the elapse of nearly five years since the floods.
“It is the failure of the MLA and EO Beerwah who draw huge salaries, but when it comes to delivering services for the common masses, they lie at the bottom,” locals alleged.
President, Trade Union Beerwah, Irshad Ahmad Banday told Kashmir Reader that the construction of the town hall was almost complete in 2013, with the building being even thrown open for public use.
“Besides organising events, seminars and political meetings in the town hall, people of the countryside were also holding weddings there,” he said.
“But after the natural calamity hit the valley in 2014, the building got submerged as it is located along the banks of the Sukhnag stream and was rendered useless,” he said, adding, “Following the floods, we have requested the concerned authorities many a time to carry out the required repairing, but they never paid any heed to our pleas.”
“Although the four walls are still standing, and from a distance it looks like a concrete building, but it has literally turned into a hollow, rotten structure and can crumble any time,” he said.
Over the last three years, added a local, Aijaz Ahmad, the officials have left the building untended, taking no effort to preserve the sole town hall of the area.
“Had they (the officials) been sensitive and passionate about its safety and preservation, they could have deputed a team to clean it before its decay. But the fact is that their (the MC’s) passive approach has rendered it useless,” he added.
“Although a few people do hold events here, but no one dares to organise a marriage function in this town hall because the building is unsafe and can collapse anytime,” he said.
A local cricket enthusiast Syed Wasim, added that the pathetic state of the town could be gauged by the fact that its lone town hall, which caters to thousands of households, has became a “site of ruins” now.
“The rugs have deteriorated, the walls, window panes, wooden doors have decayed,” Syed said adding, “Even the main iron gate has gathered rust now.”
The dismayed locals added that the concerned authorities and Governor Satya Paul Malik must take a serious note of the situation so that the renovation work would start soon.
EO Shabir Ahmad admitted that no repairing had taken place here. “The building was damaged during the floods. However, no funds were released for its renovation as of now,” he said.
“I have written to the director concerned to allot the funds.We have been assured that Rs 41 lakh are expected to be released once the model code of conduct is over,” he added.