The Bold Voice of J&K

Strategic planning

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The proposed strategic urban planning under the Smart City proposal containing area-based development and pan-city initiatives would no doubt give the capital cities the much needed breather in terms of expansion, traffic mobilization, urban planning along with futuristic expansion scope. In Jammu and Kashmir, both capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu have exhausted the scope for future expansion and whatever spread is taking place is in peripheral area in an haphazard manner without any check or control over encroachment and caring for urban planning norms. The smart city proposal under the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) was boycotted by National Conference legislators. As far as development is concerned party politics should be kept aside and there should be a consensus which unfortunately is missing. Political parties wait to encash from any such situation to keep their vote bank intact. Such oppositions have not helped anybody even for those parties which advocate divisive philosophy.  Stressing on the need for people’s empowerment and their involvement for participatory development, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said since the process is still in its infancy, maximum public participation in formulation of city vision and the SCP should be achieved through feedback, ideas and suggestions and people interactive initiatives. Underscoring the importance of traffic decongestion in Srinagar and decreasing the pollution levels, the Chief Minister asked for development of cycling tracks in the city especially in areas like the Bund and Boulevard around Dal Lake.  She also urged for exploring the options of development of vertical residential structures in the congested areas of the city on Public Private Participation (PPP) mode.  Smart Cities Mission was launched by the Prime Minister in June 2015. It is an urban renewal and retrofitting programme by the central government with an aim to develop 100 cities in the country making them citizen friendly and sustainable. Srinagar would have semi-ring road which will pass through areas including Pulwama, Budgam, Srinagar, Bandipora, Ganderbal and Baramulla. In May last Union government had announced the 13 Smart Cities under which only Srinagar figured and Jammu remained elusive again. Though Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu at that time had said another city from the state would be selected for evaluation under the mission. The proposal remains elusive till date.

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