People in Abbottabad no longer have access to affordable computer courses.
The Municipal Computer Literacy Centre, which was established to equip local youth with the tools of information technology (IT), has been shut down by the Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA) Abbottabad due to lack of funding for its maintenance, official sources said on Thursday. However, authorities have blamed the contractors’ non serious attitude for the centre’s closure.
The centre was established in the vicinity of Jalal Baba Auditorium during Musharraf’s regime under Khushal Pakistan Programme in 2002. Under the programme, 10 computers were given to the centre along with other necessities.
The objective behind the centre’s creation was to offer IT courses to students at affordable rates to people.
The TMA authorities, under an agreement, contracted out the centre to a private operator. The operator ran the centre till June 2008, after which another contractor was hired, who operated the centre till June 30 this year.
The contractor paid Rs9,000 per month to TMA and Rs2,250 per month to the office of Hazara Commissioner, as the commissioner’s office had made it clear in a letter in 2008 that the contractor was supposed to pay rent to them.
Tauqir, the contractor, said he had offered several computer courses. These courses, he said, ranged between one to six months, which were attended by over 1,000 people including women.
He said these courses facilitated people in entering the market with expertise in the IT sector.
The computers, however, were purchased in 2002 and had become outdated. Tauqir said he requested the TMA officials to procure new computers, without success.
“I did everything I was capable of to ensure the centre kept running till the last day of my contract,” said Tauqir.
“I talked to TMA officials with the intention to keep the centre running. However, there was a lobby which was not in favour of running the centre,” he claimed.
He accused some ‘hidden hands’ for being interested in using the building for some other business.
Tehsil Municipal Officer Farmanullah Shah said upgrading ten computers is not a big issue and the TMA can bear the expense.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2011.
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