20 years on; construction on Charari Sharief Shrine yet to be completed

Irfan Rashid
Budgam, Feb 26: Twenty years are about to pass since the Shrine of Hazrat Sheikh Noor-u-din Wali along with Charari Sharief town was gutted in a devastating fire incident, yet the rebuilding of Khanqah which was started long back seems no way near completion.
The authority responsible for reconstruction of the Shrine; J&K Government Housing and Urban Development Department had initially estimated the cost for rebuilding the Shrine at Rs 11.22 Crores (as per pre-revised cost offer) excluding ancillary works.
After observing that the said amount was very little to complete the project, J&K Government increased the amount to the tune ofRs. 26.07 Crores and handed over the project to The J&K Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC) Ltd in July 2002.
But in October 2003, due to political reasons, JKPCC had to stop the work, locals believe.
“This is very unfortunate that even in such religious constructions, games are being played,” said Mohammad Rafiq, a local of Charari Sharief.
Then the work was re-started in May, 2005 which was supposed to be completed by December 2011. Later the completion date was extended to 2013 but still in 2015, the project is not completed.
“The original plan included construction of basement, 2 stories, attic floor, hamam and two pillars but then again there was a game played and two pillars were turned into one pillar, locals said.
Presently there are only few bathrooms and the visitors have to suffer a lot mostly on Fridays.
The capacity of the Shrine is said to be 4,500 persons on each floor.
Initially 19 rooms for the Atiqaf had to be constructed but every year Muatikifs have to use tarpaulin to mark their places.
The work on dome is going on snail’s pace which is supposed to be 82 feet high with 44 feet in diameter.
Till date Rs 22.07 Crores have been released by the Government, sources said.
The project not only includes the construction of Shrine but also removing of debris from proposed site.
The construction of temporary ablution sheds was stopped as per direction of the project authority vide no: CDP/chrf/508-09 on 3rd January 2007, though they were completed later on but presently are in very bad condition.
The stinking smell emanating from the site causes lots of problems for the people.
The original project included construction of Sabahat (for visitors) and Baitul Quran whose work is yet to be taken up.
The documents in possession of Rising Kashmir say that reasons for delays include non availability of funds from time to time, foundation details were not released in time by the structural consultant, and court stays on account of land compensation.
The documents reveal that after Muslim Auqaf Trust was taken over by Wakf Board, another controversy came into existence which hampered the smooth execution of work. The then Wakf authorities had a conflict on design parameters between them and their structural consultant.
After re-conducting soil tests and investigations as proof check, the consultant designer was then changed and then new designer agency M/S Structural consultant poloview was appointed by the Wakf authorities and agreement was made with them to provide new structural details, documents reveal, sources said.
It seems government is not serious about completing the project, locals said.
A local Wakf member told Rising Kashmir that despite repeated pleas made to senior functionaries in the district administration and JPKCC seeking expediting of work on the project and its early completion, the authorities failed to do any substantial progress in this regard.
“We appeal to the government to speed up the construction work on the Khanqah as the pilgrims were facing a lot of difficulties,” said Rayees Ahmad, aresident of Charar-e-Sharief.
“I believe it is almost complete and work on final designing of the dome will be re-started in few days,” said Mirwaiz Khanqah



Bemina residents express resentment over illegal constructions

Srinagar, Feb 27: People of Gousia Colony Mustafabad, Bemina have expressed resentment over illegal constructions on road and in a Public Park.
The residents allege that some selfish persons hand in gloves with Srinagar Development Authority (SDA), have started building illegal structures in the area.
When this colony was planned, a 90 feet road and a park for general public were also constructed. This road was later taken over by Roads and Buildings (R&B) department, residents said.
The half of the public park was allegedly used by SDA to build single story shops initially which were later developed to three stories and eventually the whole park was used for construction purposes, locals claim.
“This park was a shelter for our families during earthquakes and other natural tragedies including flood,” said Bashir Ahmad Mir, a local.
They alleged the SDA and police to have nexus with the shopkeepers. “When these shopkeepers started construction here under police protection, we simply asked them to show permissions but the police beat us black and blue,” said Javid Ahmad, pointing towards his bruised skin.
When this reporter contacted on the number mentioned at the SDA website (2493191), one lady official said, “Presently Vice chairman Sir is not here and I can’t give you his cell number without his permission.”
Syed Nissar, SMC official who is in-charge of land encroachments in Bemina area said, “I will right now go there and will see the problem myself on priority.”


Traders protest government’s apathy post-floods

Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) Friday staged a protest demonstration against the JK Bank and state government over their failure to mitigate the sufferings of flood-affected traders.
The protest demonstration was held from Maisuma area to Lal Chowk.
Police swung into action and detained many of their leaders and lodged them in Kothi Bagh police station.
The protesting business community also carried placards criticizing government’s failure to help flood-affected.
They castigated the JK Bank for failing to rehabilitate flood-affected traders.
They alleged that JK Bank has not given them any insurance cover.
“Every year JK Bank renews our insurances itself but this time they said they had not renewed it,” said President KTMF Mohammad Sadiq Bakal.
The protesters were demanding that there should be immediate relief for business community by giving providing them insurance money.
Business community have estimated the losses due to floods to the Rs 1, 00,000 crore (one trillion).
“Government has done nothing and J&K Bank has also not taken any tangible step in mitigating our sufferings,” said Mohamad Yasin Khan


Biscoe students protest against ‘extra fee’ order

Irfan Rashid
SRINAGAR: The 12th Class students of Biscoe Srinagar protested on Tuesday here in Press Enclave against school authorities for allegedly detaining their admit cards and demanding extra four months fee.
The examination for 12th class will be started from 4th march onwards. These students had already submitted their yearly fee in advance ranging from Rs 38000 for already admitted and Rs 55000 for newly entrants.
Recently the government had also notified all the schools not to ask students’ monthly fee for September but Biscoe has allegedly flouted those norms. “We have submitted full year fee in advance and schools instead of repaying this month’s fee, are asking for more fee.”
The reason given by school authorities for extra fee of December, January, February and march is because of change of exam cycle that has cost the school extra charges, protesting students said.
The students of medical stream have been allegedly asked to pay Rs 9000 and those with medical plus math have been asked to pay Rs 12000.
“We are nearly 1000 students in all their branches in 12th and if everyone pays that counts to nearly one crore rupees,” said agitating students.
When contacted Muneer, incharge 12th, he denied to be the concerned authority and asked to call school landline, not his personal phone.
Some lady official from Biscoe landline replied: “I don’t want to comment about this all which is inside matter of school.”
Later Director School Education, Showkat Beigh told Rising Kashmir: “I have deputed Chief Education Officer Srinagar along with Joint director education to sort out the matter today.”


Dropout diploma holders up in arms against SSB

Irfan Rashid
SRINAGAR: The candidates who had recently applied to Junior Engineer (JE) posts are up in arms against Service selection Board (SSB) for indiscrimination against Diploma holders.
The SSB has selected only degree holders when the post is meant for Diploma holders. Allegedly only one diploma candidate has been selected in open merit against 663 posts.
SSB had advertised three notifications: 3 of 2012, 3 of 2013 and 11 of 2013 for selecting 663 candidates for JE civil vacancies. The written test for these posts was conducted on 3 August, 2014.
Candidates with three year diploma are eligible only for junior engineer posts unlike those with Degree who are eligible for all posts. Omar Shakil, a diploma holder from government polytechnic college, Gogji bagh said: “There are 24 polytechnic colleges here and even if we are not included in JE list, then for what government is wasting its money on polytechnics.”
“The selection list of Jr. Engineers civil issued by SSB had not only deprived the 3 year Diploma holders from their fundamental rights but had violated the rules,” said Zubair Bashir.
Previously selection was based on 1:3 ratio when one degree was selected against 3 diploma holders but now whole pattern has been changed to 1: 663, candidates said.
The syllabus issued by SSB for the post of JE was as per diploma standard but the question papers were printed as per Degree, they said.
The process did not stop here and further the SSB has reserved 5 points for degree holder and 7 points for M Tech. These 5 points equals 15 questions as per common entrance exam for JE. This means a diploma holder should be extra intelligent to get a seat for JE since Degree / M Tech people are already 15 steps ahead.
“This doesn’t mean “Survival of the fittest” but “Survival of the luckiest”, Government is favoring Degree and M.Tech people, I could not understand then why eligibility and syllabus has been given as Diploma.” “This is total discrimination with Diploma holders. The Government had kept open all the doors for degree holders and they can apply for A.E post directly and the only door which was open for diploma holder was also closed. “
“Recently some of the diploma holders among us had applied for the draughtsman and they were not allowed in interview citing a reason that we people got extra qualification. Only 2 years diploma holder can apply for a draughtsman and we people are having 3 years diploma, that is extra qualification,” said group of diploma holders.
Recently about 18 new polytechnics were opened by government and there are already 7 existing polytechnics in Srinagar city alone, generating nearly 1440 diploma civil engineers every year.
“We diploma students are not sayings that these degree students don’t deserve this job. They are more qualified and really deserve it. But we are only in search for an answer: What is there for a diploma students, Show us the path?”


First Islamic songs website launched in Kashmir

Saqib left his job in IBM to attract Kashmiri youth through Islamic songs

Irfan Rashid

SRINAGAR: An Islamic music website Najam Nasheeds was launched here in a local hotel on Tuesday which will provide access to hundreds of Islamic songs.
Leaving his high profile job in the multinational company IBM, 25-year-old Mir Saqib Mushtaq decided to use his voice for the message of Islam that gave birth to http://www.najamnasheeds.org.
This website launch was supported by Mufti Nazir Ahmad Qasimi, Sheikhul Islam Darul Uloom Rahimiya; Movlana Mohammad Amin, President International Khatimi Nabuwat Movement J&K and Dr Mansoor Ahmad, Government Dental College Srinagar.
Speaking on the occasion, Mufti Nazir said: “Najam Nasheeds is the pioneer initiative fully based on Non Musical Halal Nasheeds and quran recitations with the only purpose to inspire the hearts of youth towards almighty Allah.”
Mir Saqib hails from Baghat Barzulla. He has participated in many state level musical competitions like Miley sur and national level competitions like Indian idol and Sa Re Ga Ma Pa. He has also participated in IBM conclave awards and Shabaash IBM. “I was admired by the Islamic songs of Mishari Rashid, Ahmad Bukhatir and Junaid Jamshed who sing songs in western tunes to attract muslim youth across the world.
The mission of Najam Nasheeds is striving to be one of the pioneer efforts based on Islamic principles without using any prohibited musical instruments. “We took an initiative for the change of kashmiri youth and want to nourish their hearts for the love of Islam,” Saqib said.
Speaking on the occasion, Movlana Amin said: “Najam Nasheeds has taken out this initiative as an alternate for the youth who are badly indulged in filth of prohibited music.”
In the end, Dr Mansoor added: “The message of today’s music follow a general theme of love but these music free songs will instill love of Islam in the hearts of Muslims.”


Nowgam Colony waterlogged, locals stage protests

Irf an Rashid | Feb 23
Srinagar: The land area at Nowgam, Eidgah
colony is waterlogged since the last year
flood causing irreparable damages to the
surrounding localities forcing locals to come
on roads.
The local people Tuesday blocked the road
which caused massive traffic mess for hours
continuously. They were demanding the
proper drainage system and right now the
immediate dewatering of the local land spanning
50 kanals that have affected more than
200 houses till date.
One of the protesting woman said: “Months
has passed since flood and this water odours
so unpleasant that Breathing becomes very
difficult most often.”
This water has turned its colour to black
now, causing lots of risk to the health of the
local people. “We can’t keep our small children
inside our homes and have sent them
to their relatives in this winter vacation
but fear what will happen from March.”
This 50 Kanal plot lies on left side when
going from Srinagar to Nowgam and seems
like small lake now with a depth around
four feet, locals said.
This busy road connects Srinagar with
Pulwama via Kanipora and caused lot of
inconvenience to the trapped vehicles. The
local women had placed big stones on the
road and then staged a sit-in with men following
Earlier this area had few outlets directly
into River Jehlum but from last few years
due to ill-managed construction, all those
outlets have been taken over by buildings.
The locals have appealed to the concerned
authorities to look into the matter on high
priority before their houses get collapsed.