The much anticipated mini-secretariat in former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s bastion Bijbehara in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district is yet to open its offices for the public as its construction has been halted for years owing to a lack of funding.
The mini-secretariat is being built in the Gafar Shah Mohalla of Bijbehara and was scheduled to be completed within a year after work on it was started in 2017.
According to Altaf Hussain Waid, the contractor who secured the contract for the project worth ₹ 3.62 crores, the construction has been stopped as the government failed to release funds.
Waid said that the pending work on the mini-secretariat could be finished within a month if funds were provided for it. “We along with Vice Chairperson of the Khadi and Village Industries Board Dr Hina Bhat approached the Revenue Department some days back for release of the funds to continue the construction work of the building,” he added. “We hae been assured that funds will be released within few days.”
Bijbehara is the bastion of the People’s Democratic Party and the native village of the Mufti family. The mini-secretariat was intended to provide succor to the public by making all government departments accessible under a single roof.
Local residents in the area accuse the administration of negligence in failing to provide succor to the public. “We have to run from one place to another to visit different government offices which are located in different locations of town,” said Vakeel Ahmad Dar, 40, resident of Bijbehara. “We demand the completion of the mini-secretariat at the earliest.”
Shahjahan Itoo, Assistant Executive Engineer in the Roads and Building Department told The Kashmir Walla that more than 90 percent of the work has been completed before work was halted due to the paucity of funds. “Once funds will release, the work will begin again,” he said.