SRINAGAR: CPI(M) leader Mohamad Yousuf Tarigami has raised deep concern over the implementation of the ongoing Smart City project.
With the announcement of the Smart City project, the residents of Srinagar expected a better life with better public services and governance but unfortunately the scenario continues to be grim as the statutory policy documents like master plan, mobility plan and other policy documents have been completely ignored while implementing the smart city projects.
A host of works being undertaken under the Smart City project like development of Maulana Azad Road, Residency Road, Redevelopment of Lal Chowk Prescient, cycle track along Northern Foreshore Road, Redevelopment of Polo View market, Jhelum Riverfront Development etc should contribute significantly to the overall development of cityscape rather than destroying the existing character and function of it.
Smart Cities Mission Strategy includes Greenfield development under which one of the smart city proposals for Srinagar was “Preserving and developing open spaces – parks, playgrounds, and recreational spaces— in order to enhance the quality of life of citizens, reduce the urban heat effects and generally promote eco-balance”. Public Transport, Electricity, water supply, and other public utility services continue to remain a distant dream.
The ongoing haphazard works, which are in contravention to the master plan, have increased the vulnerability of city dwellers. The excavation process and shrinking of roads have reduced the space for vehicular traffic while the entire city has been defaced, which resulted in the bulk of construction and demolition waste with huge environmental impacts.
It appears that the authorities have strayed away from the basic idea of the project, giving a decent quality of life to citizens in terms of a clean and sustainable environment and application of smart solutions to public issues keeping the citizens at the center.
CPI(M) demands that the Smart City Project must be implemented in sync with the Master Plan 2035, which stands approved by the government. The Plan is a dynamic long-term statutory document, which provides a conceptual layout to guide future growth and development of a city.