4 years after floods, Pampore Court complex awaits renovation

Suhail Bhat
Pampore, Mar 11: It is three and half years since the devastating floods of 2014 ravaged the Munsif Court Complex in Pampore area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district but Government has failed to make it functional due to official apathy and lack of funds, causing inconvenience to lawyers and litigants.
With an estimated cost Rs 2.40 crore, Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC) constructed Munsif Court complex in Frestbal area of Pampore in 2012. Lawyers worked in new complex for one year before it was damaged by floods. Munsif Court was established in the year 1996 from a rented accommodation and was shifted to the new building after more than one decade.
Lawyers blame that Court is deliberately not renovated as the cost will escalate and Government is not willing to pay for it for political reasons.
Today, Munsif Court is functioning from an old building which is cramped and lacks basic amenities like parking, accommodation and is close to the Highway. “There is always traffic jams outside the Court which discourages us to do our work properly,” a lawyer said.
Lawyers said that new building was constructed in a flood-prone area and on the part of playground land which makes it prone to dangers. “We have proposed that building to be constructed near fire service, but our demands were never heard,” said lawyers.
They said there is also a security threat to them as many attacks were carried by the militants in Pampore. “We are living in fear and feel insecure,” said a lawyer, adding Government is not serious to look into their issues.
During the floods not only infrastructure was damaged, but vital documents were lost, said lawyers, and it led to many problems.
Bashir Ahmad Malik, a lawyer said that they have repeatedly raised the issue of renovation with concerned officials, but no one is paying heed to their demands. “We are operating from a rented building for last four years. Not only lawyers but litigants are facing immense stress due to lack of space,” he said.
They said that old court complex has become breeding ground for drug addicts, nomads, and thieves. “Drug addicts have occupied a major portion of land around the court complex and nomads stay here for night. The administration is doing nothing to look into this matter. Our work is getting affected,” they said, adding Courtroom is always filled with crowd due to lack of space.
Sajad Naqeeb, Executive Engineer R&B Pulwama said that estimated cost of Rs 32.8 lakhs for renovation of Court complex has been forwarded to the government after few months from floods. “But so far there is no approval,” he said. When contacted Tehsildar, Ali Mohammad, said, “I have no knowledge about this issue.”
Deputy Commissioner Pulwama, Ghulam Mohammad, when contacted said the detailed project report has been sent to the Court authorities and once the funds are made available the renovation work would be started. “The building suffered extensive damage in the floods and the building was not worth shifting. However, lack of funds delayed the renovation work,” he said.