Belying the tall claims of successive regimes of Jammu and Kashmir on upgradation of infrastructure in education sector, as many as 23 colleges in the state are without buildings.
Officials in the Higher Education Department said around 41 colleges were sanctioned during the past eight years under various centrally sponsored schemes and state plan, however the construction work is yet to be completed on 23 Government Degree Colleges (GDCs) in the state.
The officials said the government has started different under graduate courses in all these colleges however the students are taking their classes in make-shift arrangements in adjacently located government Higher Secondary Schools (HSS) or rented accommodations, making mockery of higher educational standards.
“A total of 96 colleges – 50 in Kashmir and 46 in Jammu – are functional out of which 65 are functioning in their own campuses including seven colleges completed during the last financial year 2016-17,” read an official document.
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 most of the colleges are yet to be completed.
Moreover, eight degree colleges were also approved under state plan in the same year, however the construction of the colleges is going on at snail’s pace.
New Women College Srinagar which was approved in 2008 under prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan (PMRP) is functioning from temporary accommodation in Amar Singh (AS) College. Likewise Degree College Kokernag, GDC Banihal and various other colleges are still functioning from make-shift arrangements in their respective areas.
Also the progress of work on degree colleges approved under state plan presents a grim picture with the work on various degree colleges yet to be completed.
Government Degree College (GDC) Uttrasoo in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district and GDC Sogam and other colleges 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 a 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 Chrar-e-Shareef college in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district and few other colleges has been completed while as rest are functioning from alternate accommodations,” an official said.
“The Degree Colleges approved under this scheme include Women College Kupwara which is now operating from a government middle school in the area,” he said.
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 Srinagar.
As per official documents, the Higher Education Department (HED) has a set a target to complete work on 16 out of 23 colleges, which are working in make shift arrangements, during the financial year 2017-18.
The colleges targeted for completion in 2017-18 include GDC Uttrasoo, GDC Sogam, GDC Paloura, GDC Jhindra, GDC Khour, GDC Gool, GDC Magam, GDC Kangan, GDC Banihal, GDC Budhal, GDC Nobra, GDC Zanskar, GDC Surankote, GDC DH Pora, GDC Tangdhar and GDC Dharmari.
“The work on rest of seven GDC will be completed in 2018-19,” reads the official document.
Besides the incomplete constructions of Colleges, the department is also facing land acquisition problems for establishment of the permanent buildings.
“The process of land acquisition for GDC Hadipora in Rafiabad area is still lingering as the matter has landed in judiciary,” the officials in HED said.