The state government is likely to recommend Jammu and Srinagar cities for inclusion in the Central list of places to be developed as smart cities. There is only slot left for the state to fill on the list of 100 such cities with 98 slots being filled. Another slot is to be filled from Uttar Pradesh.
"The cabinet will recommend the names of both capitals to the Union urban development ministry for inclusion in the smart cities project," a senior official in the state government said, not wishing to be named.
The state government, already wary of the controversy surrounding over the sanction of All India Institute of Medical Science in the Kashmir valley, is acting cautiously and wants to make the process as smooth as possible. The peculiar political and regional composition of the state presents a challenge whenever such decisions are to made, the official claimed.
The cities to be recommended are evaluated on a host of factors, including existing service levels, institutional capabilities, self financing capability and track record in urban reforms.
Sources claimed Jammu was a tad ahead of the Srinagar in terms of the criteria fixed for to be recommended in the smart cities as urban development reforms, which includes tax structures and sewerage treatment plant were in place, but the government had decided to include both cities
There had been a three-day shutdown and protests in Jammu after AIIMS was sanctioned to Kashmir.
The urban health ministry eventually decided to set up centres with AIIMS-like facilities in both Jammu and Kashmir regions.
The National Conference had condemned the omission of J&K in the list of 98 cities that were announced to be selected in the 'Smart City Mission".
"The PDP-BJP Common Minimum Program (CMP) clearly stated that the alliance would make sure that Srinagar and Jammu were on the list of Smart Cities. Surprisingly, the union government has now categorically decided that J&K was entitled to nominate only one city - either Jammu or Srinagar -to be included in the list of smart cities. This is the latest U-turn by this U-turn government," an NC spokesperson said.