Jalandhar: In what could be termed as an example of red-tapism, the ambitious and much-publicised project of Punjab government to set up Northern India Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) at Jalandhar has been in limbo for the last over seven years.
While the NIIFT building stands incomplete, the construction cost escalated manifold ever since it was launched by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in 2009. And the NIIFT students have been forced to study from the dilapidated building of Government Leather Tanning Institute on Nakodar road.
A project of the Department of Industries, its construction was being done by the Punjab State Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC). It was learnt that till date, a whopping amount of Rs 8 crore was spent on the construction of the NIIFT building, which has its front building architecture in the shape of two shoes.
PSIEC officials maintained that another Rs 3.80 crore was required to complete the pending construction work. “With this the total cost of the NIIFT would cross Rs 11 crore, which has increased following escalation of construction material and the unwanted delay in the project,” the officials said.
Former Local Bodies Minister and now sitting Jalandhar Central MLA Manoranjan Kalia, who played an important role in getting the project said, “I have been raising the issue of delay in the construction of NIIFT project in the Vidhan Sabha. This year, Finance Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa announced Rs 3 crore fund for the completion of the project in the budget speech. I will take up the issue with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, as the fund was yet to be disbursed.”
Kalia also said that the architecture of the building was one of the best in the region, which was planned by renowned architect Renu Khanna. “During my tenure as the Local Bodies Minister, the project started off well but later it got delayed,” he added.
Sources maintained that that the NIIFT authorities were expecting to complete the project before the next academic session 2017-18. Recently, a series of meetings were held to ensure the timely completion of the building which included classrooms, corridors and halls, sources maintained.
It was also learnt that with the passage of time, even the students preferred to take admission in NIIFT Mohali or Ludhiana campus, as the temporary Jalandhar campus was lacking in facilities.
The NIIFT Jalandhar campus was allotted 60 seats but in the absence of requisite infrastructure and hostel facility, the response of students has been lukewarm. Till date, the construction of one of the blocks was completed while the second one was pending. “We are hopeful that once the fund was released, the NIIFT building would be completed shortly,” said an
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