Charari Sharief, an ancient town in the Budgam district of Kashmir Valley, needs no preface but to say that the famous saint of Kashmir Valley, Hazrat Sheikh-ul-Alam is laid to rest in this town. In 1995, in a clash between the Indian Army and the militants, the entire town of Charari Sharif, Shrine, and the historical Grand Mosque was set on flame. And the name of the well-known militant “Masst Gull” who was the commander of the militants based in Charar I Sharief, evolved as popular throughout the valley. During this catastrophe, the historical Grand Mosque, a heritage structure, was engulfed in blazes.The Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC), the implementing agency, missed numerous deadlines for completion of the Grand Mosque from 2002, 2011, then 2013, and later 2016.Surprisingly, five Chief Ministers came during the formation of the Grand Mosque and it was never finished off during the regime of anyone. Despite this, by giving a package of Rs 25 crore, half of the work is still left and it is not known what occurred to all this money. For the last twenty years, the monastery has not been fully completed. Now they are proving the destruction of the monastery by installing iron jacks to fasten the ground floor of the Grand Mosque because of having vibration.Overall, this project is far worse than expected. – Already declared unsafe. – There is no proper underground wiring system. – Second floor and upper floor still without floor matting from the day of construction. – Lack of infrastructure – No decorative lighting, disastrous electric fittings. – Rejection of one minaret (as it was planned to construct two). – The first floor is spending its day with the help of iron jack pipes.Therefore, every work of the monastery has become a cause of destruction. The people of Character I Sharif and the visitors are heading for another man-made catastrophe. From the inception, there were many problems with the “completion” of the monastery. God forbid that such a huge gathering should not turn into a bloodbath.
A disaster can happen any day. For Engineering, JKPCC’s contractors, it has become a spectacle. On the left side of the monastery, water is coming out of the houses and going down through the monastery. One never knows how devastating it will be. The Grand Mosque has three floors that can accommodate more than 5,000 people but do not have a heating system.The premises around the monastery are under construction and the shrine is not being cleared regularly as construction has not been completed to date.
During the regime of the then Governor Jagmohan, there were only two spots in Jammu and Kashmir that were scheduled to be made Model Towns, one named Katra of Reasi District of Jammu and the other Charari Sharief of Budgam District of Kashmir. Surprisingly, the Katra area has become a model town, but the lack of basic amenities in this model town is still facing by the people here.
The existing toilets behind Shrine have become a big headache for locals and devotees constructed in the wrong place. The Department of Roads and Buildings and the JKPCC have never permitted the construction of toilets for devotees for ablutions or other facilities, even though the Waqf Board possesses 65 acres of land around the shrine.It is as if the construction of this ancient monastery has become a material of hundreds of catastrophes and does not creep into the ears of the Government. God forbid, one day a great tragedy may occur and thousands might get massacred. The government should also assess this ancient issue, which has been awaiting completion for the last 20 years, and the ground floor, which has been endangered by iron jacks pipes, to prevent a major tragedy.
Aadil Salaam is a Kashmir-based Journalist, writer and columnist, currently pursuing BMMMC at GDC Baramulla.Can be reach out at (email@example.com)