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



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