NAROWAL: For the past seven years, the Women and Children Audio Video Learning Park project has remained unfinished due to a lack of funds.
The project, envisioned by Federal Minister of Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal aimed to provide women and children with educational facilities equipped with modern technology and healthy activities.
In 2015, the foundation stone of the project was laid at a cost of Rs130 million, involving demolition of old Kutchery buildings on seven acres in the city. The ambassador of China and his family also participated in the foundation stone ceremony.
The project is divided into three blocks. Block A is for the construction of a library, demonstration hall, bank, shopping centre and other buildings on the first floor.
Block B is meant to house a restaurant hall, ticket rooms, cinema hall, waiting area, telecentre hall, administration office block, cafeteria and shops on the ground and first floors.
Block C is intended for the construction of a supermarket on the ground, first and second floors. The estimated costs were Rs50 million for Block A, Rs50 million for Block B, and Rs30 million for Block C. Additionally, Rs77 million were allocated for the construction of the boundary wall, main gate, pillars and a tower on the seven-acre site.
Mohammad Tanveer Mughal, sub-divisional officer of the Buildings Department, informed Dawn that the project was initiated by the Narowal district government in 2015 with Rs207 million. Currently, 55 per cent of the construction has been completed, with 50pc of the allocated budget already spent. An additional Rs250m is now needed to finish the project, which has remained stagnant for the past seven years. Students Fatima Ali and Ayesha Akram from the University of Narowal expressed their disappointment over the suspension of funding for the special educational park for women and children.
They voiced their concerns about the dilapidated state of the under-construction building.
Dilshad Butt, a former female member of the Narowal District Council, described the park as a unique project that the government has turned into a political matter. She criticised the government for depriving women and children of recreational activities by halting the construction funds.
Mian Muhammad Rafiq, Vice President of the Association of Human Rights District Narowal, emphasized that in addition to education, access to healthy activities is a fundamental right for every citizen. He emphasised that the creation of a positive and progressive society relies on the well-being of women, as they play a crucial role in raising children.
Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Ashraf said the discontinuation of the district government system led to the suspension of funds, causing the project to remain dormant. Minister Iqbal stated that he had requested the provincial government to finalise the project. In the event that the Punjab government failed to do so, he suggested that they transfer the project to the federal government, as they were committed to its completion.