Dewatering Srinagar: Govt admits World Bank projects in limbo

Dewatering Srinagar: Govt admits World Bank projects in limbo
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‘One-third of city without drainage system’

Srinagar: After the 2014 deluge submerged Srinagar city in 2014, the World Bank (WB) funded the establishment of 42 dewatering stations. Three years later, however, the work is going on at a snail’s pace, and the money has not yet been spent.
Official sources said the government had submitted detailed project reports of the WB-sponsored dewatering stations for which nearly Rs 42 crore has been released.
“The work is going on at a very low speed,” admitted Minister of State for Urban Development Asiya Naqash.
However, she said, “the prevailing situation is one of the reasons, and (another is that) there is much traffic in main city which affects the work. But work should have picked up.”
She revealed that one-third of Srinagar is without a drainage system, “not to talk of sewerage”.
“Under AMRUT (the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation), we are constructing a drain from Polo View to Court Road, where one of the dewatering systems is being constructed,” she added.
Official sources said that three areas in Srinagar which usually get submerged during the rains are Samandar Bagh, Gangbugh and Malbagh.
Under the Smart City initiative, the Peoples Democratic Party minister said Rs 500 crore has been initially released. “The government will soon have two CEOs for Srinagar and Jammu for coordination (during work) on the pattern of Economic Reconstruction Agency,” the minister said.
An official said that the Smart City project has four compartments: intelligent traffic system, green zones, cycle track and urban traffic management.
On the issue of congestion in the city, the minister informed that on the directions of the Chief Minister, the Central Jail and the Directorate of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution are to be shifted out of the city. “On the directions of High Court, General Bus Stand (GBS) too is being shifted to Parimpora, but the transporters have sought time till Eid-ul-Azha,” she said.
However the minister had no idea what the government will be doing with the space which will be freed after the shifting of the GBS.
On the draft of the Master Plan for the summer capital of the state, Naqash said, “It (the Master Plan) is just an idea… there are suggestions.”
“It is out of question that (the Civil) Secretariat is shifted out of Srinagar; we are constructing mini-secretariats at district headquarters,” she said.


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