Started eleven years ago with pomp and show and an avowed objective of providing public-service delivery offices under one roof, the work of mini secretariat Mendhar in Poonch district still awaits its completion.
Since 2010, its construction work has not progressed, much to the chagrin of inhabitants, who accuse the government of ignoring this border sub-division.
Official sources told Greater Kashmir that the mini secretariat was sanctioned for Mendhar sub divisional headquarter of Poonch district in 2009 after which the Roads and Buildings department (Public Works Department) was given this project.
“In 2010, the construction work for the mini secretariat was started. A three-storey building was constructed up to roof level within a year but no work has been done, since then,” the sources said.
They informed that out of Rs 14 Cr, to be expended on the entire project, the tender worth Rs 7 Cr was allotted for construction up to roof level. “That stands completed but remaining work is yet to start due to non availability of funds,” they added.
“Remaining funds have not been allotted for the last ten years and the project is lying incomplete. This has also resulted in cost escalation,” the official sources further divulged.
Local civil society members, including Khursheed Ahmed, Shokat Ali, Chowdhary Mir Mohammad and Mohammad Shafiq Khan, said, “A common man in Mendhar has to run from one area to another to visit different government offices which are located in different pockets of town, with some even located in highly congested areas.”
“We kept raising this demand before the government for construction of mini secretariat at sub division headquarters in order to improve public services delivery after which the prestigious institution was sanctioned but the dream is yet to become a reality,” said locals.
They said, “Not only the condition of the building, already constructed, is worsening due to delay in completion of work but it is also making a common man suffer on a daily basis.”
“In 2020, the then Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir had visited Mendhar where he was apprised about the entire matter and he had assured issuance of remaining funds within no time, But no development took place thereafter,” rued locals.
“The Advisor to LG, Farooq Khan also visited Mendhar, two weeks ago and the people from all sections of society put forth demand for issuance of funds for completion of projects,” they further informed.
Assistant Executive Engineer of R&B department Raman Bhagat, when contacted, said, “The project has now been included in the ongoing scheme of ‘Languishing projects’ and the department is hopeful that required pending funds will be made available and remaining work of the mini secretariat will start soon.”