SRINAGAR: The Srinagar Development Authority (SDA) on Wednesday said that it has received 180 applications – with suggestions and objections – after it made the Srinagar Master Plan – 2035 public.
An official of the SDA said that August 28 is the last date for submission of the suggestions or objections with regard to Srinagar Master Plan. “We have received around 180 such applications,” confirmed secretary SDA, S A Raina. “Yet, there are five days for (interested) people to respond to the Srinagar Master Plan which is available for suggestions as well as objections.”
He said that the Master Plan has suggested expanding the Srinagar city from existing 416 sq km to 766 sq km. “The expansion, if adopted, will happen on all the sides,” Raina said.
Official sources said that the government had formed a committee for future planning of Srinagar city. “The development act calls for zonal planning and for that we need services of experts and we have formally invited people with exposure to city development,” officials said.
In an advertisement issued on August 23, the SDA has invited applications from subject experts in crafts, transport, urban designing, housing, urban government/public policy and statistics for “preparation of zonal plans of Srinagar city”.
“Experts in such subjects can only suggest what construction to do where,” explained SDA secretary.
He said that under new Master Plan, Srinagar will have around 52 such zones. “Zonal development is to ensure there is no overlapping, plans are executed properly, institutions, commercials are properly earmarked and the work is worth zonal planning,” he said.
“This all will happen within the available resources,” he informed.
The new Srinagar Master Plan was put in public domain for a period of sixty days in mid-May. The deadline was later extended.
The officials said that the local area expansion of Srinagar has already been approved by the State Cabinet vide SRO 429 dated 21/10/2014. The area where expansion has been suggested includes certain pockets under Srinagar Municipal Corporation and those of Budgam, Ganderbal, Pampore, Khrew urban local bodies besides a cluster of 160 villages.
The Master Plan has suggested shifting of the civil secretariat and Biscoe schools out of their present locations besides other things. “The civil secretariat has hundreds of employees and as many vehicles,” said an officer, “The movement of such huge mass of people impacts other sectors of the city.”
He said that the Master Plan has suggested the secretariat be shifted out of city so that the impact is lessened.
“Take the case of traffic congestion, if secretariat is shifted out, the vehicles which enter and exit the governance centre will be subtracted from the total traffic movement. Likewise if Biscoe school is shifted out, the buses which carry students will also be subtracted (from traffic) which means congestion of the city will be easily tackled,” he said.
However, government itself has ruled out shifting of civil secretariat from Srinagar city. “There is no question that secretariat is taken out of where it is it,” Minister of State for Urban Development, Asiya Naqash had told Kashmir Reader.