by Shakir Ashraf
Mujeebul Islam, 18, a student of Government Polytechnic College Baramulla, has to spend Rs 10,000 every month to stay in Baramulla on rent. He is a resident of Karihama area in Kupwara district, which is only 60 kms away from his college.
There is a college in his neighbourhood and Islam once desired to enroll in the same college to save his extra expenses but his dream remained unfulfilled as the college is under construction from the last six years. “In these six years, it missed several deadlines. The construction might not be important for the government but for locals students, it was a ray of hope to decrease the dropout levels,” said Islam.
In 2011, the then government of Jammu and Kashmir approved 18 colleges in the erstwhile State under MHRD scheme in which nine colleges were allotted to different districts in Jammu division and nine were allotted to different districts in Kashmir division. Under the same scheme, a college was allotted to Kupwara district which was later established in Karihama village, four kms away from the town, by JKPCC under a budget of Rs 13crores.
The foundation stone of the building was laid in 2013 and the construction was supposed to be ready in five years, in 2018. So far it has missed two deadlines.
The college administration said they are running the college from a rented building and two courses have been started: auto-mobile engineering and mechanical engineering, but the local students allege, it lacks all basic facilities including labs, library, playground.
“All other branches like electric engineering, architecture engineering and civil engineering are non-functional due to lack of facilities. Students who are willing or who qualified entrance for civil and architecture have no choice but to admit themselves in any other college which costs them their time as well as money,” said an insider wishing not to be named.
“It is not possible to introduce all courses from a rented building which is lacking basic facilities and high-tech labs due to which students are suffering and have no option but to take admission in other districts,” said one of the HODs in the college.
The under-construction college site, according to a local Sarpanch, was actually allotted for a sports ground but the locals preferred college over the sports ground.
“We preferred a college so that our youth should get a chance to learn and to explore their creativity but we are in shock that the construction of college is still the same what it was three years ago,” said a local. He also added, “There are hundreds of students in our locality who were forced to admit themselves to other colleges of different districts.”
The local residents have appealed to the government to complete the work as soon as possible so that the classes will be started in the college soon. “This under-construction building has become a nuisance in the area which is always occupied by drug addicts and hooligans.”
Irfan Ahmad, DGM JKPCC, told Kashmir Life, “We were going to complete the construction by this year but unfortunately the labourers, who were mostly outsiders, left Kashmir after August 5.” He added, “Government is not releasing funds on time which result in the delay of construction.”