The main building of new court complex in south Kashmir's Pulwama district, which was constructed one and half year ago, has developed cracks raising apprehensions among advocates practicing at the place.
Advocates practicing at district court Pulwama said that the cracks developed only a year after the building was constructed.
"We shifted here on 30 November in 2017 and after a year I found cracks in the main building," advocate Mehraj ud din Wani, who has been practicing in the court for past 8 years said.
He said that the plaster on plinth near the entrance of the building is peeling away. "There are cracks in walls of some rooms on the second storey," he said, adding that tiles on the floor of a room had to be repaired after they peeled away”.
He added that tiles fixed in the parking area have been dislodged.
"It becomes very hard to walk on them especially during rainy season" he said.
He claimed that he filed an application under right to information act before public information officer of Housing Board Srinagar seeking information about how much amount was utilised on the construction of the building, contractors and engineers who were hired for constructing the build and whether it is safe for advocates, litigants, staff members and others to continue to work inside the building when it has developed cracks.
"They denied me information citing that the application be sent at the address of Public Information Officer Housing board Jammu," Mehraj said.
He said that he filed a second RTI application at the Jammu address and among other things he sought from authorities of Housing Board whether it is safe to stay and work in the court complex when the building has developed cracks and there is every apprehension that the building may collapse any time.
The applicant also sought from the authorities of Housing Board whether they have taken any measures to safeguard the building.
"Their answer was ambiguous," he said.
In their reply to the RTI application, the officials of Housing board stated that the cracks are purely surface cracks in walls and not cracks in the basic RCC (Reinforced cement concrete) structure.
"These type of cracks are common in such type of structures and normally occur due to bonds between the concrete and the brick work. The concrete in column and bricks are of high grade and are of shutter finish so there is not any bond between the concrete and bricks and hence leads to minor cracks which can be taken care by applying POP or wall putty and involves no dismantling," Housing board officials stated in their reply.
They further assured that the building is 100 % safe for use without any fear or apprehensions at all.
Official documents accessed by Rising Kashmir reveal that an inquiry has been ordered by deputy commissioner Pulwama in this matter.
"A complaint has been received by the undersigned that the civil structures of new court complex Pulwama constructed by Housing Board in the recent past have developed cracks immediately after its commissioning.
Superintendent Engineer R and B Pulwama shall conduct a thorough inquiry into the matter to locate reasons for developing cracks in these buildings," the order reads.
It further reads that the conclusion drawn together with the particulars of engineers responsible, if any, be furnished to this office to make good the losses suffered to the public exchequer.
"Further a safety audit /structural assessment of the building is to be conducted immediately."