By Minzah Mehraj

Srinagar: Three years on, the much-publicized mini-secretariat project at Batamaloo General Bus stand is all set to be shelved for want of funds.

The decision to construct the mini-secretariat was taken during the PDP-BJP government and entailed accommodating offices of the Srinagar administration.  

“The project has been shelved due to the lack of funds”, said a top official.

The foundation stone for the Rs 49.93 crore project was laid by the then Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in 2017. Soon after hundreds of traders and transporters were shifted to other nondescript locations. The project hit the roadblock as the government failed to release funds.

In 2018, a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the proposed mini secretariat was submitted to the government. Later the administration vacated 100 kanals of land and shifted the 62-year-old Batamaloo bus stand to Parimpora which triggered a two-month-long strike by the transporters.

Three years later,  the project has hardly seen the light of the day. “Our work has been badly affected. We are hardly earning to sustain our families,” said Shabir Ahmad, a shopkeeper for the last 40 years.

Shopkeepers said the government did not listen to their repeated pleas. “Everyone assured us that our demands will be fulfilled, but nothing has been done so far,” said Ghulam Qadir, a shopkeeper.

Bashir Ahmad Matta, Chairman Transport Welfare Association, said since the project has been shelved, the government should shift the bus stand to Batamaloo again.  “We incurred huge losses after the bus stand was shifted from Batamaloo to Parimpora. We request the authorities to shift the bus-stand to Batamaloo,” he said.

Chief Engineer Roads and Buildings Showkat Jeelani told The Kashmir Monitor that the government has not taken the final decision as yet. “We have not taken any decision whether to continue work or not,” he said.

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Currently pursuing Honors in Journalism and Mass Communication at Cluster University Srinagar

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