Srinagar, Feb 24: Authorities in the Valley have utilised a meagre 11 percent of the funds allotted for the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), being set up at Ompora Budgam.
After works worth Rs 176 crore were allotted for the project in November, official sources told The Kashmir Monitor that the JK State Industrial Development Corporation (JKSIDCO) had furnished Utilisation Certificate of just only Rs 20 crore to the government.
The JKSIDCO is the implementing agency for the project.
With two private construction companies, besides the JK Projects Construction Company (JKPCC), working on the project, Rs 10 crore has been utilised by one of the two private companies alone.
Not to talk of the construction of the main office buildings, work on the compound wall of the NIFT Srinagar, which was undertaken six months back, is going on at a slow pace, the JKSIDCO admits.
After six months, only “sixty five per cent” work had been completed on the compound wall, Managing Director JKSIDCO, Khurshid Ahmad Dar, admitted.
Over the slow pace of work on the NIFT campus, Dar said, “In the first place, works were allotted in winter. The mobilisation of men and machinery also takes time. Hopefully, the work will accelerate now.”
While foundation of the main office building had been completed, Dar said that work on other buildings including that of two hostels and a guest house had also been undertaken.
“Out of the total project cost of Rs 232 crore, works worth Rs 176 crore have been allotted already,” he said.
After allotments were made in November, it was followed by a “gestation period” Dar further said over the slow pace of work.
With the NIFT campus supposed to be completed within three years, Dar said, “There must have been more time for the completion of the campus.”
“It is going to be a huge structure. Once the foundation is ready, it would not take much time for the rest of the work to be completed,” he said.
Although the land for the campus was allotted “some 30 years back” as per Dar, he said that some locals in the area were “still claiming ownership of some of the portion of the land even as the Revenue Department has handed over the land to us already.”
Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Syed Abid Rasheed, who is also the Director of the NIFT Srinagar, recently expressed his displeasure over the pace of work on the campus.
Currently, NIFT Srinagar is working from a temporary building at Rangreth.
The union government in 2015 had reportedly committed to share the project cost with the state government on 90: 10 basis.