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Paucity of funds slows re-construction, renovation of Dastgeer Sahab shrine

Paucity of funds slows re-construction, renovation of Dastgeer Sahab shrine

Adil Lateef
Srinagar, Nov 8: Government has failed to complete the re-construction and renovation work of 250-year old Dastgeer Sahab shrine – built in honour of eleventh century Sufi saint Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani – in downtown Khanyar area of summer capital after it was gutted in a massive but mysterious fire five years ago.
The Government has allotted the construction and renovation work to Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation Limited but the executing agency’s officials said that due to paucity of funds they are not able to complete the work, which is getting delayed. JKPCC General Manager, Vekar Mustafa said the Government has not cleared their liability and that is affecting the work.
“The estimated cost for old gutted shrine was Rs 1607 lakhs. We have received Rs. 1200 lakhs but the value of works is Rs. 1400 lakhs. Similarly the Government owed Rs 150 lakhs of new mosque adjacent to the shrine. The estimated cost for re-construction of Noor Khan is Rs 1 crore but the work has not been started on that yet,” the senior JKPCC official said.
The caretakers of the revered shrine said both indoor as well as outdoor work on the shrine is incomplete. “Let us begin from main gate. The shrine is without any gate. The bathrooms are only five to seven and are in dilapidated condition. No wall has been built around the shrine and as a result, the dogs and drug addicts keep roaming in and around the shrine during day and night hours,” they said.
The caretakers said the Government has not learnt any lesson from 2012 blaze tragedy. “The control room of the shrine is vulnerable to short circuit because of power wires and transformers. There is no electric fitting and the control room is fully made up on wood. A small short circuit can trigger a major tragedy again. But no one is listening,” Rouf Ahmad Shah, one of the junior caretakers of the shrine, said.
Soon after massive fire tragedy in June 2012, the then State Government at that time had promised to give priority to restore the shrine to its architectural glory with a blend of traditional and modern Islamic architecture within the stipulated period of two years. However, the condition of the shrine is dilapidated. A senior caretaker of the shrine, Manzoor Ahmad Qadri said they fail to understand why Government is not serious in re-construction of the shrine.
“You can see what they are doing. The devotees face difficulties in coming here. The Government comes with engineers but to no avail. They come, see and leave. They employ dilly dallying tactics. The Urs is starting soon but there are no bathrooms, furnishing, sitting place. The paper mache work and wood work is also incomplete. The difficulties of devotees should be redressed,” Qadri said. He further said that the space acquired for shrine in and around is in shambles.

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