The Bold Voice of J&K

Transporters, passengers, general public paying heavy price for slow pace of Smart City works

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MASROOR AHMAD

SRINAGAR: The Srinagar Smart City project is progressing at an alarmingly slow pace causing inconvenience to people of the Srinagar city, particularly in Shar-e-Khaas. Most of the city roads remain in a dilapidated condition and some are being dug up for the project. This has resulted in a multitude of issues, especially in the downtown areas and the stretch leading from Nowpora-Khanyar-Babademb and Nowhatta to Gojwara Downtown. The condition of these roads has caused great inconvenience to the citizens, with dug-up drains, potholes and manholes posing threats to their safety.
The lack of progress is evident in various areas, including the renovation in old Srinagar. Initially, the restoration project showed promise, but it is now plagued by delays. The overall progress of the Srinagar Smart City Mission has been relatively slow- out of 137 projects only 66 projects completed till dates, while work continues on 71 more projects.
Dozens of deadlines for the beautification of Srinagar City under the Smart City Project were missed, with the project now expected to be completed by July 2024. The footpaths in most parts of Srinagar remain incomplete. Similarly, the pending works in the city have experienced a slowdown. The drainage work on the Gojwara-Nowhatta-Khanyar Road is under progress, exacerbating the problems faced by the people.
Officials said pending works would be completed very soon.
“Separate deadlines have been set for different projects, such as Jahangir Chowk, the Batamaloo market, and the downtown area,” they said.
The other roads in Srinagar city are full of potholes and travelling has become very difficult. Some roads have not been macadamised in the last few years. Apart from causing problems for local commuters, bad roads in and around the city are maligning the image of Srinagar as one of the top tourist destinations. The official apathy is quite visible as patches of several roads have been rendered unattended resulting in immense difficulties to the people passing through the spots.
Frustration among commuters is evident, especially regarding the authorities’ failure to address the dismal condition of the Khanyar-Nowpora road and Nowhatta Khawjabazar Road , which connects downtown and uptown areas. In most of the city areas, the road repair was abandoned after laying drainage pipes in the last six months.
The Executive Engineer, City Roads Division, SMC told the STATE TIMES that the repair work, including internal roads in the downtown and other areas, is scheduled for April this year.
“Mostly, internal roads need macadamisation, once the work will be completed under Smart City. Subsequently all roads will be repaired. We have made a plan as well,” he said.
Commuters are also displeased with the authorities’ neglect of the downtown’s major link routes. Local businesses are also feeling the impact, reporting a decline in customers due to the inconvenience caused by the deteriorating infrastructure.
Meanwhile, Commissioner SMC, CEO Srinagar Smart City Project took a serious note of displeasure of commuters and business establishment owners over slow pace of work while undertaking a visit to the downtown areas of Srinagar and reviewing the progress of the ongoing smart city projects there.

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