A few months ago, a survey conducted across India declared Srinagar a clean city. However, three years ago, Srinagar was rated as the fourth dirtiest city in India. The reality lies in between. There is no denying the fact that the standard of living in Srinagar has improved but thousands of people in Srinagar and Jammu cities continue to live in slums. A survey conducted by M/S IPE Global Private Limited in 2012 reveals that more than 18,000 households are living in slums or slum like conditions. The survey says that a population of 90,000 in Srinagar has to pass their days and nights in slums or slum like conditions. The survey further reveals that every 11th family in Srinagar lives in a slum with primitive drinking and sanitary conditions. Srinagar 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, said the survey report.
“Srinagar city has undergone major changes in the land use pattern due to the unplanned expansion of 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 against the identified violations,” the survey noted in its detailed report.
The survey report reveals that about ninety five percent of the structures have violated the land use either by raising illegal constructions or by conversion of land use. The 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 dilapidated condition which will widen the demand supply gap of housing in near future. The Srinagar city has already inflated beyond municipal limits and started engulfing fringe urban villages and three small towns of Pampore, Budgam and Ganderbal. Like other capital cities of India, Srinagar is bi-functional in nature with administrative services as the most predominant function. Absorption of potential service sector is very low. It (Srinagar) is located in the heart of Kashmir on both banks of river Jhelum and is fast turning into a metropolis. The incumbent Chief Minister has said that Srinagar was the face of Jammu and Kashmir state. The city of Srinagar is historically as well as culturally important and, therefore, deserves proper handling. However, successive governments have discriminated against the city for its political stand.