Srinagar, 01 Mar: The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference YNC Provincial President and former SMC Mayor Salman Ali Sagar on Wednesday said that the ongoing haphazard works across Srinagar in the name of smart city project has increased the vulnerability of Srinagar city dwellers.
According to a statement issued he said while addressing a press conference here at the party headquarters Nawa-e-Subha, Srinagar. Party’s State Spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar was also present on the occasion.
Lamenting the massive urban mess, the city of Srinagar finds itself in, Salman said, “There is nothing smart about the smart city project. Projects which did not see the light of the day are smart parking, cleaning of water bodies, solid waste management, affordable housing, and improving basic public utility services. We only get to see the shrinking of roads in the name of the coveted project,” he said.
Entire city has been defaced. Roads are being choked, regular traffic jams, partial road closures have crippled the city. Commuters, office goers, traders and students continue to remain at the receiving end of it. Ideally the works should have been carried out in a phased manner and by taking all the stakeholders on board,” he said.
The idea of having cycle tracks has not fared well in other parts of the country, why is it then being implemented in Srinagar, he said. “In urban spaces where we find it very difficult to increase the width of roads. On the contrary the authorities are heedlessly narrowing down the main arterials in the city center. Eventually congestion and lack of other means of public commute will force the government to demolish these cycle tracks in the foreseeable future. It is good to push cycling as a habit but pushing the existing road infrastructure to rack and ruin is totally unpalatable. All this is being done to give contracts to few families.”
“It is pure wastage of public exchequer. Such headless vandalization will only magnify the urban chaos across Srinagar. I urge the LG to order an inquiry on the entire process of hiring advisors for the coveted project by the concerned authorities. We welcome the G2O summit, it’s a pride moment for the country but ruining existing city infrastructure for a two day spectacle is a wrong call,” he said.
“Developmental dividends of the “Smart City project” continue to remain untraceable on the ground across Srinagar. Electricity, water connectivity, and other public utility services continue to remain a distant dream for Srinagar residents. Formidable challenges in the shape of deficient health, and education-related infrastructure remain out of the ambit of Smart City project. It is becoming increasingly difficult for our people in Srinagar to feed their families due to the curtailment of ration quota at local FCCI stores. The little ration consumers get is of sub-standard quality which is driving them towards fatal diseases.”
“What is needed is basic amenities. The idea behind the project was to give 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 centre. This isn’t happening. The promised developmental dividends of the Smart City project continue to remain untraceable on the ground across Srinagar. It goes beyond the reach of the reason that till date, there has been no forward movement witnessing infrastructural augmentation, and enhancing basic facilities in this regard,” he added.