by Syed Abul Aala Bukhari
BUDGAM: The Government Degree College (GDC) Soibugh in central Kashmir’s Budgam district is conspicuously absent on the ground as the Jammu and Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC) has failed to construct the campus of the college approved in 2019 by the then State Administrative Council.
Local residents said the college was approved in 2019 and started functioning in a makeshift facility in April 2020. Subsequently, 60 Kanals of land were identified and acquired for the college near Hokersar wetland.
However, the JKPCC, charged with construction, failed to make a head start.
The government’s failure is hampering the education of 230 odd enrolled students at the makeshift facility which has 10 rooms out of which six are classrooms. In contrast, four others are employed in administrative work.
Residents of Soibugh said that there is no visible progress on the ground but just the government’s false claims.
A member of Regional Development Forum Soibugh, Ghulam Rasool Malik said that the filling, piling and basement of the building has been done but further construction work is pending.
“The pace at which the construction is going on would take require decades for the work to be completed. Even after visiting the Higher Education Department for the release of pending funds to pace up the work so that the campus is built nothing has happened,” he said.
Due to lack of infrastructure, the college currently offers just a Bachelor’s programme in Arts with education, political science, sociology, and history, as subjects leading to many aspirants of other courses from the area to move to different degree colleges.
Even though the government introduced the New Education Policy in 2021, the college couldn’t introduce new courses due to lack of space.
Also, the college currently lacks permanent teaching staff. Currently, the college has only one permanent staff member while seven are contractual.
An official in the Higher Education Department said, “The recruitment of the permanent staff hasn’t been taken up. If well qualified teachers are deputed at the college, then the level of education would improve.”
JKPCC Budgam unit head Farooq Ahmad Bhat said that the construction of the building was delayed due to want of funds leading to the contractor stopping the work.
The government recently released Rs 1.5 crore for the construction of the college but the concerned Treasury never gave the money to the JKPCC.
“The funds will be released soon and the work will restart,” Bhat said.