Work On Degree College Eidgah Comes To A Grinding Halt

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Engineers Body Blames College Principal Of ‘Disrupting’ Work, Holding Payment Of Contractor

Srinagar- The work on government degree college (GDC) Eidgah has come to a grinding halt after the government-assigned nodal officer allegedly refused to release the payment for the sanctioned work.

According to officials, the work on GDC, Eidgah has been stopped for the last 10 days due to non-cooperation of the Principal Government Degree College Nawakadal Dr.Tabassum Rafiq, the government appointed nodal officer.

“Despite technical and administrative sanctions, Principal GDC Nawakadal has withheld payment for the construction of GDC Eidgah,” an engineer of PWD, wishing anonymity said.

“The estimate of the project is Rs. 2 crore and the government through the said Principal has already disbursed a payment of Rs 50 lakhs but the further payment has been stopped by the nodal officer despite the fact that our superintending engineer has already submitted the required documents necessary for the disbursement of the payment.”

The visibly upset engineer, who is looking after the construction of the educational institute, further added that despite requests, the Principal’s ‘absurdity’ has forced the contractor to stop the work due to lack of funds.

“It has been more than 10 days since the work at the degree college was stopped by the contractor. His work depends on this money. The Principal doesn’t know that these funds are the only thing for which the contractor works. He has to pay his laborers and other staff,” he said.

“Hypothetically speaking, if the payment isn’t released in this month, the project deadline will be missed. And if the deadline is missed, the contractor and PWD will be blamed by the Government,” the engineer said, adding that the Principal is making a mockery of the Government’s development idea for Kashmir.

However, Principal Tabassum Rafiq refuted the allegations of deliberately withholding the payments.

“Despite repeated requests, engineers from PWD have failed to submit original documents which are required for releasing payment,” the Principal told Kashmir Observer.

“They’ve only submitted photocopies of the documents, that too, without the Executive Engineer’s signature. Even the proposal of the building isn’t submitted. And there are no details about the technical vetting by a third party. How can I release any payment without confirming the veracity of the proposal?” she said.

However, engineers from the department accused the principal of lying.

“We’ve already submitted these documents to her junior, Dr. Javid,” another engineer from the department said.

“She keeps on asking for the Utilization Certificate (UC) but that certificate is issued only after the completion of a project. That certificate is used by the Principal body to check the utilization of funds. How can we issue UC when the project is still in phase one?”

Talking to Kashmir Observer, Principal Secretary Higher Education Department, Rohit Kansal, said, “I will look into the issue and sort it out after Eid.”

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