Anantnag: Construction of the mini-secretariat in Tral town in Pulwama district, being carried out sluggishly ever since the sanctioning of the project in 2017, has now been put to a complete halt as the funds for the project have dried up.
The new mini-secretariat was sanctioned with the aim to cut down travel time and cost for people living in Tral and adjoining areas to district headquarters in Pulwama, more than 26 kilometres from the main town.
Rs 7 crore was earmarked for the project and it was handed over to the Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC) to execute.
“The first roadblock, however, came soon after the project was sanctioned. No government department was ready to spare land for the complex. It took a lot of persuasion to get about 16 kanals of land from the Horticulture department. This land was earlier a part of their nursery project,” a source in the JKPCC told Kashmir Reader.
Finally, in April 2018, the JKPCC took up the work, but it did go on for long given the paucity of funds for the project, sources said. The JKPCC, as per the sources, was promised an amount of about Rs 1 crore as the first instalment of the construction funds.
“We had to stop the work as the dues of the contractor remained unpaid and we received no money from the government,” the sources said. “And when the funds started to come in steadily, the contractor was found wanting as the pace of work was not satisfactory.”
JKPCC officials had to literally threaten the contractor with legal action after last year’s lockdown in the wake of the abrogation of Article 370, the sources said.
“The work was resumed thereafter but had not been satisfactory in any sense of the word. I guess only 30 percent of the work has been completed thus far on the project,” a local source told Kashmir Reader, adding, “Now it has been a while since any work at all has been carried out on the project.”
The locals rue that something they had been eagerly looking forward to has been left hanging in uncertainty. “For the smallest office work we have to travel to Pulwama town and it becomes a grind. Both our time and money would have been greatly saved and governance would have come to the doorstep if the project had been completed,” a group of locals told Kashmir Reader.
This reporter talked to Deputy General Manager (DGM) of JKPCC for Pulwama district, Masood Ahmad Gangoo, who said that the work has been put to a halt due to paucity of funds.
The project, as per Gangoo, has only received a total of Rs 1 crore from the MLA fund and nothing after that. “We have a liability towards the contractor and we have not been able to clear that,” Gangoo said.
He said that the JKPCC wants to put the project in the “languishing projects” list but that too has not been done as of now. “The work remains on a complete halt as of now,” the DGM said.