‘Race-course’ built instead of stream, now will be dismantled
Anantnag: The contractor entrusted with the development of a stream at Kokernag’s Trout Fish Farm has instead made a “race-course”, an artificial water channel also known as raceway, allegedly in connivance with the engineering wing of the Fisheries department.
The Fisheries department, though, is blaming the contractor and the engineering wing, while officials from the engineering wing say they were asked to work the way did by the Fisheries officials.
The Trout fish farm, established in 1984, is the largest such farm in Asia and a supplier of eyed-ova (fish seed) to most parts of the Union Territory, and some other parts of the country as well.
In 2021, the Fisheries department advertised and allotted the work of “development of stream” at the fish farm to a contractor, and the work was to be overseen by the engineering wing.
“It was meant to give a proper shape to the haphazard stream passing through the farm, with the aim that it will be managed in a better manner and stray dogs can be kept away from the stream,” a source in the department told Kashmir Reader, adding, “13 lakh rupees were allocated for the work.”
The contractor, however, the source said, ended up making a closed race-course (a structure made to rear fish in a controlled manner). “The race-course was not needed at all and the development of stream remains pending,” the source said, adding that such a glitch could not have taken place without the engineering wing in the know.
Kashmir Reader talked to the Chief Project Officer (CPO), Makhdoom Mohiuddin, who said that the contractor will have to mend this. “The structure will be dismantled and the material will be re-used for development of stream,” the CPO said, adding that the Director Fisheries has halted payment to the contractor.
The Director, Bashir Ahmad Bhat, acknowledged that no money has been released. “Whatever has been made there was not allotted to anyone. We have not released any money,” Bhat said.
When asked about how and why there was such a huge glitch, the director said that the best people to answer this would be the engineering wing of the department.
Kashmir Reader talked to a Junior Engineer of the department, Mukhtar Ahmad, who said that the work was done in accordance with the directions from the then CPO of the Kokernag Trout Fish Farm.
“Muzaffar Bazaz was the CPO back then and he directed us to carry out the work in the way we did. We in fact have a letter from him, which lies in my office,” the JE said, adding that the engineering wing was not at fault at all.
Whosoever’s fault it has been, it has been a complete waste of money, time, and energy, even as it highlights the inefficiency and lack of coordination in some government departments.