15 years on, ITI Shopian awaits new building

Suhail Bhat
SRINAGAR, July 26: The construction work of a new building at Industrial and Training Institute (ITI) Shopian in South Kashmir remains incomplete despite the passing of nearly 15 years since the project began.
Officials privy to the details told Excelsior that the work is stalled because of an alleged dispute between the constructing agency, Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation Limited (JKPCCL), and the Technical Education Department over the funds.
“The dispute over funds arose after the Government changed the project. The building was supposed to be a single storey, but Government later approved another story. This changed the estimated cost and resulted in disagreements between the two,” he said, adding the cost escalation worsened the situation.
As the dispute hindered flow of the funds, the Government listed the project under languishing projects to avoid delays. However, the dispute worsened despite availability of funds.
The construction work which began in 2006 was aimed to improve the basic infrastructure of Technical Education Department in the district, but a delay in its completion has dashed the hopes of students.
“The buildings would have ended space constraints in this institute and helped students in a big way. Presently, the office work is being carried from the hostel buildings while students cramp up for space,” a student said.
The locals lamented that the overstretching of the project has highlighted the seriousness of the administration towards technical education. “The building is decaying before being put to use and it exposes the Government’s claims on technical education. Such projects should never take such a long time to get completed,” Basit Ahmad, a local said.
Deputy Managing Director JKPCCL, Masood Ahmad Gangoo, told Excelsior that the work is suspended due to lack of funds. “The Department of Technical Education is yet to release funds for which work has already been executed. If they release Rs 20- lakhs, we will complete the pending part in two months,” he said, adding that the major structure is complete and only finishing works are pending.