Srinagar, Dec 4: Reflecting the poor performance of the School Education Department (SED), a mere five out of 85 girls’ hostels sanctioned for educationally-backward blocks in Jammu and Kashmir have been made functional, leaving numerous completed structures occupied by unrelated government departments.
An official said that despite the completion of construction for approximately 41 girls’ hostel buildings, only five were currently utilised by the SED.
The remaining buildings, originally intended for secondary and higher secondary girl students from educationally backward blocks, have been repurposed for disparate uses, including housing new Government Degree Colleges (GDCs) and serving as offices for the Block Development Officers (BDO).
“A hostel building, completed two years ago, is now being used by the Higher Education Department (GDC) to run GDC Langate, diverting the facility from its original purpose,” the official said.
He said the deadline to complete the construction of these hostel buildings was set for 2018 but it has been plagued by a slow construction pace, with only 41 hostel buildings finished to date.
“The sanctioned budget for each girls’ hostel is Rs 1.50 crore for construction alone and an additional Rs 20 lakh was allocated for the procurement of bedding and kitchen equipment,” the official said.
“We have released the money to the R&B Department, which is the executing agency, but most of the buildings are incomplete yet,” the official said.
All these girls’ hostels were approved in 2012-13 but the then government did not start the construction work on these hostels till 2015.
“Later, the then education minister in 2015 got the previous approvals cancelled by the MHRD in the project approval board (PAB) meeting and sought new approvals for the construction of these hostels as per the revised rates,” the official said.
After the revised approval the project cost for each girls’ hostel was approved at the rate of Rs 1.50 crore.
“Despite getting revised approval the department could not start the construction work in 2016 because of various reasons. The MoE has repeatedly directed the education department to expedite the work on these girls’ hostels. However, the authorities are yet to complete all the buildings,” the official said.
On top of it, the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) sector is grappling with its own set of challenges.
Out of 89 KGBV schools, 27 KGBVs are still operating as non-residential schools due to the incomplete construction of their buildings.
“Of the 89 buildings, work on 27 buildings is at different stages while the department is facing land issues for two KGBV schools in Kishtwar and Poonch,” the official said.
Advisor to Lieutenant Governor (LG) Rajiv Rai Batnagar told Greater Kashmir that he would get the matter examined.
“I will check it with the Education Department,” he said.