8 years on, Pulwama DIET complex nowhere near completion

Under-construction DIET complex in Pulwama.
Under-construction DIET complex in Pulwama.

Suhail Bhat
SRINAGAR, May 7: Notwithstanding tall claims of the Government to improve infrastructure of education sector in the State, the new campus for the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) Pulwama that is coming up in South Kashmir’s Pampore Town is far from completion.
With an aim to impart training to teachers across Pulwama district, construction work of the campus was taken up in 2011. The project was handed over to Roads and Buildings Department (R&B) with an estimated cost of Rs 4.78 crores. However, there have been no headways in the project for last two-three years owing to the lack of funds. “The construction work was going on at a good pace until 2014 but after that, the project has been almost abandoned by the Government,” a teacher who works at the DIET office, said.
An official privy to the details of the project blamed the executing agency for the sluggish pace of work. “The State has paid full amount of money to the agency but they have failed to complete it. Under State sector funds are not released in one go but whole amount was released after taken up the issue with the Government,” he said, adding that the project got overstretched due to meager funding in the beginning.
Ashiq Ahmad, Assistant Executive Engineer Pampore, claimed the delay in the completion of the work is due to the non-payment of pending bills by the Education Department. “The department has cleared bills as per previous cost of the project, not the revised one. Due to the cost escalation, the project was revised. The new project has been sent to the Education department,” he said, adding if the pending amount is released the building will be handed over to the department within two-three months.
An official at the Education Department, however, alleged that teachers said that unwillingness on the part of the Government to complete the projects initiated by their predecessors was the main reason behind the abandonment of the project. “Almost eight years have passed since its foundation stone was laid but there has been no headway in the project for last two-three years,” he said, adding the Institute is running from a cramped makeshift arrangement.
Presently, the institute runs from a makeshift arrangement in the local Government Boys Higher Secondary School. “It is really hard for teachers who come for training and the staff of the DIET to operate from a cramped space despite being sanctioned a new campus,” another official at the institute said.
Chief Education Officer (CEO) Pulwama, Naseem-ul-Gani Khateeb, when contacted said in absence of the facility the department is facing immense problems. “We are unable to carry training programs properly. The training course which could be completed in two weeks takes two months due to lack of space. With this facility, we can train teachers of all the zones together,” he said, adding that the facility should be completed by the end of this year as a number of training programmes are in pipeline.