Srinagar: The project aimed to build a mini-secretariat in Srinagar has seen no headway since its foundation was laid in 2018. As per the senior officials, the project proposed to come up at Batamaloo has not seen any progress and never moved beyond the initial paperwork.
An official told Greater Kashmir that the project has been “put in cold storage” as there was no final decision on taking the project forward.
Prior to 2018, the government mulled to use the erstwhile Batamaloo bus terminal as a site for the mini-secretariat after J&K High Court had directed shifting of the bus terminal at Batamaloo to Parimpora area. The officials said that the lack of funding and final decision to move forward with the project has put the ambitious project in limbo.
“After the detailed project report was made a few years back there was no funding allocated by the government for the project that ended up in cold storage. If you ask me about the current status of the project the answer is that the project never moved ahead. It is where it was a few years back. The construction of the mini-secretariat never fully materialised. That is why it has seen no headway for these years,” said a senior official from the R&B department.
Officials said that in 2018, the former chief minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti laid the foundation stone of the project. The estimated cost of the project was said to be around Rs 100 crore. Soon after that, the PDP-BJP coalition came to an end, followed by 2019 political uncertainty and COVID thereafter and hence the project never progressed, said the official.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, SE R&B, Nayeem Khan said that there has been no headway in the project so far. “The project of mini-secretariat was initiated but it never materialised fully. There were issues with the funding part also and so far it has not seen any progress,” Khan said.
When contacted, R&B Chief Engineer, Rafiq Ahmad Rafiq said “There have been some funding issues and the final decision about the project was never made. I will still look into the status of the project as I don’t have all the details right now”.
Pertinent to mention that as per the plan of the mini-secretariat, the project if completed will spread over an area of 114 kanals. The government had said that during the first phase Rs 49.93 crores would be spent which will equip the planned mini-secretariat with 32 office spaces, 80 staff rooms, 32 staff halls and two meeting halls.
As per the project the building would be equipped with elevators, a common facility center, and a basement for parking vehicles.
The proposed mini-secretariat would have a basement car parking, parks, food courts, elevators, waiting rooms, surveillance cameras, round-the-clock security, banking facility, and other facilities.
Through the construction of the mini-secretariat, the government planned that all peripheral and district offices of the government would be relocated so that the people avail hassle-free services offered by around 50 government departments under one roof.