Belying the tall claims of successive regimes of Jammu and Kashmir over upgradation of infrastructure in education sector, as many as 50 percent colleges in the state are without buildings.
Around 41 degree colleges have been approved under different centrally sponsored schemes and state plans from 2008 and 2011. However all of them are without government building facilities and are functioning from makeshift structures.
The Government of India in year 2008 approved ten colleges for the state under Prime Minister’s reconstruction Plan (PMRP) phase II. However the buildings of all the colleges are yet to complete.
Moreover, eight degree colleges were also approved under state plan in the same year of which only one building has been completed so far while as rest are operating from Higher Secondary Schools or temporary rented accommodations.
Women College Srinagar which was approved in 2008 under PMRP is functioning from temporary accommodation in Amar Singh College. Likewise Degree college Kokernag, Gurez, Tanghdar and degree college Banihal is functioning from Government Higher Secondary Schools situated in adjacent to their respective areas.
Also the progress of work on degree colleges approved under state plan presents a grim picture with the work on six colleges yet to be completed so far.
Government degree college Uttrasoo in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district is functioning from Government Higher Secondary School with only 70 percent work being completed on the building so far.
Degree College Sogam and Killam (Kulgam) are also functioning from alternate accommodations from past many years.
In 2011 Government of India approved 11 model colleges under the centrally sponsored scheme, ‘Establishment of Model Degree Colleges in Educationally Backward Districts’.
The colleges were approved after the survey in the state where in 11 educationally backward districts were identified on the basis of SC and ST population.
“Of the 11 colleges approved under centrally sponsored scheme, the work on only one college in Char-e-Shareef in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district has been completed while as rest are functioning from alternate accommodations,” the officials said.
The Degree colleges approved under this scheme include Womens’ College Kupwara which is now operating from a government middle school in the area.
Same is the case with other colleges where the work on government buildings is incomplete.
Baghi Dilawar Khan College which was approved under the state plan for Srinagar is functioning from three rooms of MP Higher Secondary school.
Besides the incomplete constructions of colleges the department is also facing land acquisition problems for establishment of these colleges.
“We are yet to identify the land for some of these approved colleges while as they are functioning from alternate accommodations,” the officials said, adding that the government has not enhanced the annual allocation from past many years. “The allocation of funds is not proportionate with the establishment of degree colleges.”
Minister for education Naeem Akhtar said the department recently held a meeting with JKPCC and directed the agency to expedite the pending construction work on colleges.
“We are likely to inaugurate some colleges in coming months,” he said.
He said the government will release some additional amount in favor of the Degree colleges which are at a finishing stage. “Some colleges will be made functional in government buildings so that students can be shifted in the buildings to take their classes properly,” he said.
The minister has already directed Secretary higher education department to ‘immediately’ merge the GDC Bagh-i-Dilawar Khan with another degree college and put the staff in some other colleges.