Kirkuk Culture House yet to be finished
After five years of work, a huge project is still not finished due to ‘shortcomings, routine and changing contractors,’ although the deadline was at the end of last year.
The Kirkuk Culture House (KCH) is a huge project in Kirkuk which has remained unfinished due to shortcomings, according to relevant sources. Educated people however praise the project, although noting that it should have been finished a long time ago.
In 2007, 14 million and 400 thousand Iraqi dinars were allocated to the project. Three million ids were allocated for the project by the fifth cabinet (former Sulaimani administration) of the Kurdistan regional government (KRG). The Iraqi central government was not willing to pay for the project, but the KRG did.
The remaining 11 million and 400 were allocated by the KRG’s Ministry of Planning (6th cabinet) (MoP) in two phases.
Ahmed Askari, an engineer and member of the Kirkuk Provincial Council (KPC) said the project is considered important yet the deadline has already passed, and that “If it wasn’t for various obstacles, the project would not be delayed.” Askari explains some of the obstacles created for the project by stating that “The very first problem was the whole budget was not allocated at once.”
The first portion of the budget allocated, 3 million ids, could raise the building. The second phase, which was 5 million ids, was used for the sewage, power, and mechanic system. “The roof of the building needed 75 tons of cement. Although two companies were responsible for finishing it, they delayed it. We were pushed to dissolve the contracts of each,” Askari said.
According to Kirkuk Now information, the project has been built upon 16 acres of land (27000 square meters), dedicated for use as a building, a parking lot, and a garden. 20.000 m2 is to be used for a building consisting of a 2500 m2 hall (for 1200 chairs), a cinema hall and tea café, as well as a library and a restaurant.
Many obstacles were encountered during the project. At first, the Iraqi government was not ready to allocate a budget project due to the dispute over the land of the project. Later the KRG’s MoP undertook the project and allocated a budget to it.
The remaining 11 million and 400 thousand USD were distributed to four contractors. They should have finished the project by last December.
The monitor of the project said although the project had not yet been completed, 85% of the project was finished. Hawri Talabani, director of the KCH project said, “Our duty was to take control of the implementation budget of the project. Anytime the budget was received we were working on it directly. We tried hard to finish the project by the end of last year.”
Kirkuk writers and educated people are concerned about the delay in finishing the KCH. They believe the project would have a ‘positive impact’ on reviving the culture of Kirkuk. Tahir Baban, a Kirkuki writer urged those involved to rush in finishing the project as he hoped it would, “Just revive cultural movement in this city.” But he also criticized the project, and said that “Serious steps should be taken to finish the project,” while mentioning that “the relevant people were not capable of running the project.”
Ahmed Askari confirmed Baban’s point, and stated that “It is very true we should rush to finish the project, because here, not only the building was destroyed but the thoughts. That’s why we should hurry in finishing it.”
Shalaw Muhamad – Kirkuk Now