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Work under Srinagar Smart City Project, Boon, or Bane?

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KASHMIR NEWS TRUST #KNT

Under the ‘flawed’ (at least netizens say so) Smart City Project, the planners at the helm of affairs are out to cut the space for vehicles to ply by resorting to making the roads narrower in Srinagar city.

Every citizen is unable to fathom what’s going on in Srinagar and what’s in the mind of planners.

“Before bulldozing the appearance of historical Srinagar city, planners should have at least sought the suggestions from the citizens and put the project in the public domain.

Sources in Traffic Department told news agency Kashmir News Trust that 1.20 lakh vehicles are added to the roads every year in Jammu and Kashmir, 80% comprising two-wheelers. “Making roads narrower simply means you are extending an invitation to the monster that is waiting for you in the shape of a traffic mess.”

“The space for regular vehicles is being shrunk in Srinagar. Probably, there is a plan to start the e-vehicles. Wonder where the transporters go and who will benefit from the e-vehicle contract?” wrote a netizen.

Another netizen alleged that planners haven’t worked assiduously and failed to hammer out an action plan for the city.

Recently, former Jammu Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti took to micro-blogging social media network by stating that excavating half of Srinagar for a ‘Smart City’ by reducing motorable roads to increase pedestrian paths isn’t just causing harrowing inconvenience. It also comes at the cost of aesthetics.

Mehbooba’s remarks came in the backdrop of beautiful footpaths with greenery that were replaced with tiles usually used by people for the washrooms or in their yards.

Mehbooba Mufti went on to add that traditional & heritage style of architecture & planning is being replaced by hideous tiles seen in public toilets. “Sad to see beautiful divar-stones demolished to make way for tacky & distasteful planning. Urban landscaping can be done without destroying our traditional aesthetics,” she maintained.

In response to Mehbooba Mufti’s remarks ‘Srinagar Smart City’ officials said that a city cannot be smart if it isn’t walkable!! “Citizen feedback is extremely important & welcome. We request our citizens to actually visit the sites and see the kind of work that’s being done.”

There are people who allege that work is going on at a snail’s pace and it has badly hit the business community. “Mark my words, the construction work underway in Srinagar is going to miss several deadlines and I am sure it will also become a joke like Jahangir Chowk flyover,” said a shopkeeper.

Pertinently, the shopkeepers at the historic Polo View Market have been complaining that their business has dropped by 50 percent since the work began last year in February 2022. The project was supposed to be completed by November 2022 but the work is nowhere near completion.

Netizens are seeking the intervention of the LG administration asking it to investigate what is happening in Srinagar and thoroughly examine the plans and designs, which look to be riddled with flaws at the moment. [KNT]

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