If an institution established to perform a particular type of job and the ones ancillary to the main job does not perform at all over years would definitely look ludicrous and risible. The same holds true of J&K Housing Board which, unfortunately appears to have failed to perform its primary task assigned to it in the shape of providing affordable shelter to all and therefore is supposed to develop housing colonies in both urban as well as in rural areas of the State as also arrange construction of apartments under self – financing schemes. Accordingly it planned to set up housing colonies at six different places in the State. The ground realities are that no housing colony is “sighted” anywhere in the State. This is so even after several years’ wait having gone in wilderness. Administrative ineptness, loose grip over planning and execution process, absence of accountability, non introduction of fixing targets and monitoring not only fulfilling those but fairly surpassing and last but not the least, non adherence to timelines – are all operating in a vicious circle, hence no results are visible at the end of the day.
The six housing colonies were planned to be set up at Tathar in Jammu, Battal Ballian in Udhampur, MeenCharkan in Samba, village Mujagund in Srinagar, Rambirgarh in Srinagar and village Tullibal in Sopore. The housing colony was proposed to be set up at Tathar in an area of 495 kanals of land and the case for its transfer was taken up with the Administrative Department by the Board but till date no action has been taken due to which the Housing Board could not proceed ahead with the project. Similar is the case with the proposed colony at Battal Ballian Udhampur involving an area of 448 kanals of land.
Constellation of forces at work can be gauged by the instance of the setting up of housing colony at MeenCharkanin Samba where the work for land acquiring started in early 2013 but a few people approached the High Court over certain issues and a status quo order was passed in early 2017. No efforts have been initiated so far towards getting the order vacated or modified.
Proposed village Mujugund Srinagar Housing Colony in Srinagar district too is mired in swirl of moving things in hazy way as process was initiated only recently in January 2018 which depicts the likelihood of lengthy process of land acquiring and starting off work of construction. In the same way, no timeframe can be specified for start of work on development of housing colony at Ranbirgarh in Srinagar as papers in connexion with the land acquisition process were sent to the Government by the Housing Board in January 2018 and we cannot expect any response so soon in “deference” to the prevailing work culture in our offices.
Taking up the case of proposed housing colony at village Tullibal in Sopore, Kashmir, it is the same story of sending letters, formality of reminders etc by the Housing Board for transfer of land etc but the authorities in the Government vested with the requisite powers seem to be not inclined to take a decision resulting in the continuance of the status quo ante .
Does not all this establish the utter callousness and a mind set of indifference towards resolving issues like the ones under reference? Housing sector otherwise is recognized as important directly related to the need of shelter of people and is classified under the priority sector. Several years just passing away and not even one symbolically from the proposed six colonies actually coming up is a matter of serious concern. So long as availability of funds is concerned, banks and other lending institutions are liberal in sanctioning advances facilities and at reasonable cost and on that count, no fears were needed to be nursed but the red tape, official impediments like lacking timely decisions taking capabilities, avoiding associated risk factors, lengthy procedures and avoidable practices coupled with lacking of innovative approach have resulted in not a single housing colony being set up in the State by the Housing Board which should clarify the matter , now without any further loss of time.