9 years on, Housing Board fails to complete ITI Zainakote

Waseem Ahmad
SRINAGAR, Aug 27: Notwithstanding tall claims, Jammu and Kashmir Housing Board (JKHB) has failed to complete the construction work of Industrial Training Institute (ITI) in Zainakote area on the outskirts of Srinagar, despite missing several deadlines.
As per the officials, nearly 95 percent work was complete in January this year. But the agency has failed to complete mere 5% pending work in last seven months.
The executing agency was to complete the construction in the month of March but the project is still incomplete despite passing of nine years.
Earlier, JKHB, the executing agency blamed that the time taken in authorization of the project was the reason behind the delay in the project.
The Housing Board officials said that the bearing capacity of the soil on which the institute is being constructed was very low and they had to shift from load bearing structure to Reinforced Cement Concrete (RCC) structure. “It took us several years to approve the RCC type of structure as the administrative approval for the project was for load bearing structure. That was the reason for the delay in the project. Since the RCC structure is very expensive as compared to the load bearing one, so the costs were also revised,” the officials said.
The construction of the ITI Zainakote in city outskirts was approved under a Centrally Sponsored Scheme in 2009 and its foundation stone was laid by the then Minister RS Chib and despite missing several deadlines, the institute building is still incomplete. The ITI at Zainakote campus was approved to decrease the congestion in present Industrial Training Institute at Bagh-i-Dilawar Khan here in summer capital.
Meanwhile, the locals of Zainakote lamented that the work of ITI building is underway at snail’s pace. “More than eight years have passed but the ITI is still incomplete. We were very happy when the construction of the institute was started as it would boost the overall area in terms of education and employment but the authorities are least concerned about the project. We fail to understand, why the institute was not completed in these eight long years,” Ishfaq Ahmad, a resident said.
However, JKHB General Manager, Aftab Rashid Pandit, said that the construction work is almost complete and they are handing over the institute within two months. “We had a discussion recently with the officials and they have accepted the revision of costs for the project. We inspected the institute recently and have decided that the project would be handed over in the month of November. Only the minor works including door windows, ceilings, electric work and finishing in the circular area are pending. We have to give just final touch to the structure,” he said.