Officials say prestigious projects under Srinagar Smart City near completion
- Locals, however, feel otherwise. A resident said, "apart from a concrete flyover, nothing much has changed".
The work on the Srinagar Smart city project that began in 2017 has started gradually picking up pace as officials say work on dozens of projects is underway and many prestigious projects are near completion across the city.
On the ground, however, the projects are not visible yet and Srinagar city looks no different from what it used to be before. The much-hyped project was initiated by the Ministry of Urban Development Government.
The loopholes got exposed this winter when few feet of snow left the entire city crippled as the lanes, bylanes and the interior roads remained blocked for many days.
"There is nothing smart about Srinagar. It continues to remain underdeveloped. Apart from a concrete flyover, nothing much has changed. In winter, the city gets enveloped in a chilling dark atmosphere. For weeks, the snow remained on roads, fields, lanes and bylanes even though authorities claimed many things on Twitter," said Wajhaat Ahmad, a city resident.
Another resident, Pir Bashir, said the power is still supplied on an hourly basis. "We live in the city, still it doesn't look like any big city after dark. Our city cant match with other cities of the country as many parts get plunged into darkness after evening every day."
Shoaib Ahmad, who runs a hotel in the old city, said that the city has many lakes and streams in the surrounding but 24-hour portable water supply is still a dream.
"For years, we have been hearing of laying of underground wires, still the electric poles and the dangling wires on our roads resemble entangled looms. Nothing has changed in the old city despite claims that it would be decongested. The open drains are a constant eyesore besides being responsible for various infectious diseases."
Officials, however, say once the projects get completed the city, which is summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, will present a different look.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) SSCL (District Development Commissioner Srinagar) Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said that a host of new projects are being taken up and the work on 21 ongoing projects is under execution under the 140-crore smart city project. "A large number of projects have already been cleared and many are underway."
Giving details of the ongoing projects, he said the projects include installation of street furniture and road signages across the city, development of green corridors, the establishment of hawker zones, development of parking spaces at Residency Road and underneath the JCRB flyover, development of cycle tracks, smart street lighting across the city, smart water metering, ICCC-Smart Data Center (for civic services, traffic management and disaster response integration).
"The ongoing projects also include setting up of GIS (property development approval) system, grievance management emergency response system, Discover Srinagar One-Stop mobile application, development of bio-toilets at major nodes, upgrading of entire fire services apparatus of the city, installation of 10 new Variable Message Display panels and beautification of spaces underneath the JCRB flyover, among other ongoing projects under execution at an estimated cost of ₹140 crore."
He said that the Grievance Management Cell (Community Engagement) will be inaugurated on February 20. "Work on the Smart Data Centre and the Integrated Command and Control Centre is going on in full swing and is expected to be completed soon. The deadline for many projects is March 31."
"Projects like smart water metering, intelligent traffic management system and development of parking spaces and hawker zones to decongest roads aimed at enabling smooth traffic movement in the city are underway. For the smart water meter, further funding of ₹50 crore is being made towards the project to cover the entire city (the funding will be in addition to ₹45 crore already provided to JSD for the project)."
Choudhary said that another hawker zone will be established in the city soon. "The Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has been asked to submit a list of concerned hawkers."
DC Srinagar said the projects proposed under consideration of the SSCL include community facilitation centres, libraries and gymnasiums at various places across the city, construction of cycle track with footpath and green belt from Bemina Bypass Chowk to Shalteng, equipment of old SMG and Sheikhbagh multilevel parking with smart facilities, development of transport nagar connected to fruit mandi on bypass, and upgrading of facilities at Parimpora Bus Stand, among others.
"Development of parks, parking slots, drinking water points and bio-toilets at identified spots around Dal and Nigeen lakes (proposed by the LAWDA); and development of water filtration plants, installation of real-time water quality monitoring systems for entire Srinagar and establishment of a helpdesk for water-related issues and e-billing facility".
Choudhary said the new projects include a state-of-the-art lab for testing sludge parameters and solid waste and building material testing lab at Achen dumping site, recycling plant for polythene generated in the city and elsewhere, cycle sharing scheme, surveillance cameras, smart city fibre connectivity with ICCC and PCR, ICCC Building & Smart Parking Solution, RVMs, e-Governance Service as a centralised framework, and sludge digesters.
"Out of the total 50 schools identified to be developed as smart schools, 25 will be developed by the Education Department through R&B Department and 25 schools by the SMC. The district administration is also taking up 100 Anganwadi Centers in the city for modernisation under Smart City. The modernisation of these centres will be done on the lines of smart schools. Similarly, the primary healthcare infrastructure in the city will be modernised and process for the modernisation of several PHCs have been started."
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