5 years on, Dastgeer Sahab(RA) Shrine awaits reconstruction

Govt fails to release Rs 5 cr for reconstruction work

Five years after the devastating fire engulfed Dastageer Sahab (RA) shrine in Khanyar, the state government has failed to allocate Rs 5 crore for its reconstruction.  The shrine was gutted in a mysterious fire incident on the early morning of June 25, 2012.

Built in the honour of eleventh century Sufi saint Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani (RA) in the downtown city area, the 250-year-old revered shrine is still awaiting reconstruction. The Jammu and Kashmir Project Construction Corporation (JKPCC), the executing agency which was entrusted with the job of reconstructing the shrine building as per its archaic structure, has failed to complete reconstruction work even after five years since the fire incident.

JKPCC officials blame the state government for not releasing funds to complete the reconstruction work. As per a detailed project report, Rs 16 crore were required for the reconstruction work, out of which only nine crore were released earlier, while the remaining amount is yet to be paid to the JKPCC which has halted the reconstruction work.

“While the outer work has been completed, some interior works are yet to be completed as government has released only Rs 9 crore till now,” said a JKPCC official. “Besides another Rs 1 crore is required for the construction of Noor Khana for which funds have not been released yet.”

Managing Director JKPCC Vikar Mustafa Shonthu said “paucity of funds” is the sole reason for delay in reconstruction work.  “When government releases funds, we will complete the work,” he said.

Caretakers and devotees have expressed concern over the lackadaisical approach of the government. “Government is playing with our emotions,” said Bashir Ahmad, a caretaker, adding that the devotees are facing many problems.  “If the government would tell us that they don’t have funds, we will collect donations and complete the reconstruction work on our own.”

The caretaker said the washrooms are also in dilapidated condition. “Despite our numerous pleas, the government is not paying any heed,” he said. “They only issue press statements that the shrine would be restored to its past glory but on the ground nothing is being done.”

Soon after a massive fire engulfed the shrine in June 2012, the then coalition government of NC-Congress had promised reconstruction of the shrine on priority basis. Promises were also made to restore the architectural glory of the shrine with a blend of traditional and modern Islamic architecture within two years.