Residents of Nanil and its adjoining villages in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district have been awaiting the completion of a health centre for the past more than thirteen years.
The construction of the health centre was first decided in 2008 by the then National Conference government but ran into disputes with local residents over the acquisition of land.
In 2017, the health centre was designated as a New Type Public Health Centre (NTPHC) but the work was halted when the project was nearing its completion. “It seems that the administration is not paying any heed to our woes despite having approached the concerned department many times for the completion of the project,” said Bashir Lone, 51, a resident of Nanil.
Members of the Masjid Awqaf Committee in Nanil said that the lack of the NTPHC has added to the costs of accessing healthcare. “The poor are compelled to rely on health care facilities elsewhere, for that they need to pay a huge fare of 200-300 rupees to take a patient to the or to the primary healthcare center in Matan or the district hospital Anantnag, which is eight kilometers away from Nanil,” said Manzoor Reshi, the committee’s president.
A budget of ₹1.87 crores has been allocated to the NTPHC in Nanil that would cater to Nanil, Matipora, Aung, Kreedzal, Magripora and other villages in the Mattan area amid the current Covid-19 crisis which has overwhelmed district hospitals across Kashmir.
According to the contractor executing the project, the delays are a result of back to back lockdowns since 2019 and paucity funds. “The basic reason for the delay in the project is the unavailability of payment on time,” said Bashir Ahmed Khan, the contractor.
“The project was delayed due to the abrogation of Article 370 in the state and then the impact of continuous lockdown due to pandemic.”
The work on the NTPHC is being supervised by the J&K Small Scale Industries Development Corporation Limited (SICOP).
Mushtaq Ahmed Bhat, Executive Engineer SICOP, Anantnag told The Kashmir Walla that “the Deputy Commissioner Anantnag, Piyush Singla, has assured the release of remaining funds for the project” just days ago. “The construction is in full swing now to make it functional,” said Bhat. “₹1.20 crores has been released. The building will be completed by the first week of June.”