Dy CM wants Sangarmaal in Jammu!
‘Grouse’ remains as complex awaits inauguration
Srinagar, May 3: The Deputy Chief Minister, Tara Chand, seems to be quite disappointed over the construction of a ‘state of the art’ shopping complex, Sangarmaal, in Srinagar and, according to sources, the inauguration of this exclusive shopping plaza is being deliberately delayed so that it doesn’t become functional at least in the near future.
According to sources, Chand, also the Minister for Housing and Urban Development, nurses a deep grouse as to why the complex was not constructed in Jammu and has made his intent explicitly clear during several visits to the shopping plaza.
The deputy chief minister, they said, has been expressing displeasure over the Sangarmaal construction in Srinagar ever since he assumed the charge of the Ministry of Urban Development last year, and repeatedly “bashed” the SDA over the issue. “On first visit to the Sangarmaal last year, he told officials why such a complex, with ultramodern facilities, was not constructed in Jammu,” said a member, who was part of the meeting the minister held on the occasion. “We were shocked on hearing such comments made publicly by the deputy CM,” said an official on condition of anonymity.
Since then, he alleged, Chand had been harbouring the “grouse”, and reflecting upon it “overtly and covertly” with his meetings with SDA officials.
This approach, they believe, was affecting the Sangarmaal promotion and causing inordinate delay in its inauguration. “Sangarmaal is one of the extraordinary achievements of the SDA over the years. If we are unable to promote it among the stakeholders effectively, it will be a flop show,” said an SDA official.
Sources said last week, the “grouse” again surfaced when Tara Chand, along with the SDA officers, visited the Sangarmaal complex to “finalize” its inauguration, which has been delayed many times in the past. “The moment he entered the Complex, he again hinted that the state-of-the-art complex could have been constructed in Jammu,” the official said.
The officials believe the Housing and Urban Development Department wanted to sabotage the project. “We couldn’t tell him (deputy CM) anything when he made such comments. But the undertones only suggested that the Minister wants to sabotage the project by not giving it the importance that it deserves,” he said. “This way the government seems to be uninterested in promoting the project. And this way we are likely to incur heavy losses. If we won’t give it proper publicity, it is not possible to attract the multinational companies to open their outlets in the city.”
The SDA has so far spent Rs 17 crores on the Complex. However, it has generated just Rs 11 crores against the shops sold out.
According to officials, because of the Ministry’s “lack of interest,” the work on the Sewage Treatment Plant for the project is yet to be taken up. “Also we have to construct subways in the area. This too is yet to be taken up,” they said.
Of 73 shops in Module A only 42 have been sold so far. In the Craft Bazar just 28 shops out of 38 have been sold. “By all means the Complex is ready now. If it is inaugurated we will see its response and accordingly start the work on the next phase. But we can’t understand why there is this inordinate delay in its inauguration,” the officials said.
Interestingly, the SDA is not able to start the power supply to the Complex on account of inauguration delay. “Our transformers are ready. We would have ensured power supply to the Complex. But how will we generate the power bill if shops are not opened. Also the allottees have many times expressed their anger over the delay in its inauguration,” they said.
Pertinently, Sangarmaal is a multi-storied commercial complex constructed on MA Road “to attract shoppers from across the country.” It has been awaiting inauguration for several years past, allegedly due to lack of interest of the deputy chief minister. Insiders say many a time, the SDA finalized the “inauguration” date, but the Minister changes the dates for unknown reasons.
“If such a complex is not in Jammu, that is not SDA’s fault or the fault of Kashmiris. Let Jammu also have such a complex. But why have this bias against Kashmir,” the businessmen allotted shops in Sangarmaal questioned.
When contacted, Tara Chand, was not available for comments despite repeated comments.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 3 May 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 3 May 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 4 May 2010 00:00:00 IST
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