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Dispute over ownership of buildings in Old Secretariat

Srinagar, Feb 09: While the structures in Old Secretariat complex are being renovated, dispute has started over their ownership.
As per the sources, the Archaeology Department is claiming the structures including the one housing Social Welfare Department (SWD) and Jammu and Kashmir Women’s Development Corporation (JKWDC).
The Estates Department, too, is claiming ownership of the buildings in the Old Secretariat Complex, the old Assembly Complex and the stone building.
Director Estates Department, Tassaduq Hussain, said they owned the buildings.
“We have been maintaining these structures. We have prepared a proposal. The Department of Culture will inform our executive engineer about what they want to be done. We will accordingly execute the proposal,” he said.
Hussain said the stone building was given to the R&B Department by the Department of Culture.
“Once we come to know what the Culture Department wants to do about the renovation, we will make the estimate and start the work at an earliest,” he said. “We will go as per the advice of the Culture Department.”
Director Archaeology, Mohammad Shafi Zahid, Department of Culture, looking after the preservation of ancient monuments, said the structures belong to the government.
“There is no issue between us and the Estates Department. They are nobody’s assets; they are assets of the government,” he said.
“Has the Estates Department spent a penny on these structures? They have been looking after the move offices,” he said.
He said they were protected monuments that need to be “preserved and glorified”.
Zargar said they have plans to renovate the structures.
“I many times asked the Estates Department to repair the buildings, but they didn’t. We will definitely renovate the structures. The renovation will be done by the Tourism Department,” he said.