9 years on, DIET complex Pulwama remains a non-starter

Cost escalation caused delay: R&B

Suhail Bhat
SRINAGAR, Feb 21: The construction work on District Institute of Education Training (DIET), Pulwama has been stalled for the last one year due to scarcity of funds.
Coming up at South Kashmir’s Pampore area, the facility would offer training to teachers of the district and improve their performance. However, there has not been any progress in the project for the last year as funds fell short. The teachers alleged that the Government’s failure to complete the facility punctures their claims of improving the education sector in the Valley.
Started in 2011, construction work has been moving at a slow pace leading to overstretching of the project. The project, which would have been completed in two-three years, remained incomplete even after the passage of nine years.
The project was handed over to Roads and Buildings Department (R&B) with an estimated cost of Rs 4.78 crores and work was going on at even pace until 2014. However, after that, the work faced frequent disruptions and was finally suspended last year. “There have been no headways in the project for the last two years. 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.
The officials at the Department of Roads and Buildings department held slow funding responsible for the delay in completion. They said the work was suspended due to cost escalation. To meet the challenge, the Department of Roads and Buildings has revised the detailed project report and submitted it to the concerned authorities. “New DPR has been submitted and we are awaiting approval. The work will resume once approval is given,” Ashiq Ahmad, Junior Executive Engineer for Roads and Buildings department Pampore said.
However, an official privy to the details of the project blamed the executing agency for the sluggish pace of work. “Initially, the full amount of money was paid to the agency but they have failed to complete it. No organization releases funds in one go, but the funds to this project were evenly released,” he said
An official at the Education Department alleged 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 nine years have passed since its foundation stone was laid but there has been no headway in the project for the last two years,” he said.
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,” the official said.