11 years on, mega shopping complex in Anantnag still incomplete

Aman Malik

Anantnag, May 16: The much hyped project of building a shopping complex, at a project cost of 19 crore rupees, in the heart of Anantnag town remains a distant dream after more than a decade. The construction of a multi-storeyed shopping complex with a parking space for around 150 vehicles was taken up in year 2004 when the then Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Syed had laid a foundation stone on 16th July on five kanals of government land in Lal Chowk Anatnag, which earlier housed SRTC yard and Fire brigade station.
Thirteen years down the line, the project has skipped several deadlines with a fresh deadline slated for coming July.
“The project was considered as a landmark when the work on this commenced during PDP-Congress rule and the government had claimed that it would boost the business in the town and also address the parking woes to some extent. At that time, the government had claimed that the project will be completed within six months. Even, around 150, shopkeepers and other business holders paid advance margin money of 50000 rupees for the shops to be allotted to them. The work on this project was however stalled due to reasons known to the government and the parties who had paid the booking money never got it back, despite the passing of more than a decade”, says a local.
Some of the shopkeepers, who had paid the margin money, have lost interest in procuring shops in this complex and want their money back.
“If I would have invested those fifty thousand rupees anywhere else, by now it would have earned me a lot of money given the inflation since then. There seems no end to the renewed construction on this site and quite possibly the people with influence will secure the possession of these shops when the construction gets completed”, says one of the shopkeepers in the vicinity.
This shopping complex will house a total of 98 shops in two floors, 14 halls for commercial purposes in upper two floors and two more halls in attic have been constructed for running a food court. The basement will serve as a parking space for around 150 cars, says an official.
“It is a huge structure and we hope to finish this project in July this year. There was a dearth of funds for this project earlier which led to the delay but we have restarted the work since last year”, says Executive Officer. Municipal Council Anantnag, Shabir Ahmed.