Standards of living may have improved in Srinagar, but thousands of people in the state’s summer and winter capitals have condemned to live in slums. A survey by IPE Global Private Limited in 2012 showed that more than 18,000 households were living in slums or slum-like conditions in the two cities. According to the study, every eleventh family in Srinagar lives in a slum with primitive sanitation and drinking water facilities – a total of 90,000 human beings.
“The city, also rated as the fourth dirtiest in India, is not only turning out to be a choked city with space squeezing for its inhabitants but poses a grave threat to water bodies and heritage sites,” the survey says. “Srinagar city has undergone major changes in land-use pattern due to unplanned expansion, residential colonies, and illegal commercialization of important city arterials.”
“The detailed inquiry report initiated in 2009 on Master Plan violations/deviations/encroachments in Srinagar revealed that such violations have swollen in an unabated manner since no action (was taken) against the identified violations,” it says. The survey report reveals that about 95 per cent structures have violated the land-use norms either by raising illegal constructions or by conversion of land use.
Fringe areas are equally not good from the planning point of view. These are characterized by narrow lanes, without any public facilities. The houses are in a dilapidated condition which will widen the demand-supply gap of housing in the near future. The city has already swollen beyond municipal limits and started engulfing nearby urban fringe villages and three small towns of Pampore, Budgam and Gandarbal.
Like other capital cities of India, Srinagar is bi-functional in nature with administrative services as the most predominant function. Absorption of the potential service sector is very low. It (Srinagar) is located in the heart of Kashmir on both banks of the river Jhelum. The incumbent Chief Minister had said that Srinagar was the face of Jammu and Kashmir The city is historically as well as culturally important and, therefore, deserves proper handling. But successive governments have discriminated against the city for its political stand.