Srinagar: A proposed Fruit Mandi, in the Khansahib area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district, has been abandoned by the authorities three years after it was sanctioned, and some initial infrastructural work was conducted on the project.
A “reassessment” of the project is being carried out to evaluate its viability. The project was sanctioned in the year 2019, and soon after work started on the project.
“Some auction sheds and washrooms were constructed on the 4 Kanals of land allocated for the purpose,” a source in the horticulture department of Kashmir told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the project, however, soon met some rough weather in terms of fund allocation. “It was then decided to put the project in languishing projects, but that too did not help,” the source told Kashmir Reader.
Soon, questions were being asked about the viability of the project and the overall utility. Some people alleged that the project was sanctioned for purely political reasons and the project did not cater to anyone.
“Besides, it is located at an elevation, where fruit laden trucks would have found extremely difficult to ply to,” the locals, Kashmir Reader talked to, said, “And flattening of the land would have meant digging into a 30 feet high hillock,”
The locals alleged that nothing was kept into consideration before sanctioning the project and it was a complete waste of the money that has already been spent on it.
“Now the land lies vacant and the authorities are scratching their heads on what to do with it. The money spent was a complete waste,” the locals said.
Kashmir Reader talked to Vishesh Mahajan, Director Planning and Marketing wing of the Horticulture department. Mahajan acknowledged that the Mandi did not cater to any production zones.
“It was because of its location and its topography,” he said. Mahajan said that he has asked the Deputy Director to prepare a project report on what the land can be used for, instead of a fruit mandi.
He said a lot of effort and resources would have gone into leveling the hillock to the ground. “Besides, we have other Mandis in the vicinity that cater to the existing production zones,” he said.
Mahajan said that the report he had sought was being prepared along the lines of, “the best possible use for the land, given that some infrastructural work has already been done on the project,”
“We hope some entrepreneurs will come forward and suggest what best can be done with the land, given it is not feasible for a fruit mandi,” Mahajan said.