Authorities halt construction of Khan Sahab fruit market in Budgam

Suhail Bhat

Srinagar, Aug 5: The construction of Khan Sahab fruit market in Budgam district has been halted as officials are assessing the project’s viability three years after it was approved.
Official sources told Excelsior that a committee has been formed by the Department of Horticulture to evaluate the project’s viability and the circumstances behind its approval. “It appears that the project was approved for political reasons without taking its usability and accessibility into account,” an official said, adding that if the authorities decide to scrap the project, it casts considerable doubt on the judgment of the decision-makers who drained the public exchequer with their poorly thought-out initiative.
He said although the project’s construction started as soon as it was approved in 2019, it ran into challenges right away because of financial issues. “To ensure the smooth flow of funds, the project was listed under lagging projects, but challenges persist. The market is situated on four kanals of land, but only some washrooms and an auction shed have been constructed so far,” he said.
The District Development Council member for Khansahab, Bashir Ahmad, told Excelsior that the market is situated at such a height that it would be challenging for a loaded truck to get there. “It is difficult for a truck to reach there. I do not know why they did not keep feasibility into account when they approved it,” he said, adding that the project must end right away and that the funds must be used for another fruit market in the Krismhera area, which is just seven kilometers away.
Vishesh Paul Mahajan, Director of Horticulture Planning and Marketing, told Excelsior that they are looking for the best ways to use the facilities for the general public rather than abandoning the project.
“I have asked the Executive Engineer and other officials to prepare a report on the project’s viability. Once we receive it, we will take a call,” he said, adding that their main goal is to develop the best action plan for the project and how it will benefit the general public.