Srinagar: The draft master plan Srinagar-2035 is getting a final shape. The document which is being prepared, as we are being told is a comprehensive document that will address all developmental needs of the city, besides ensuring growth on scientific lines.
Though the government has asked its officials to complete the process of finalization of objections and suggestions within two weeks so that no time is lost in finalizing the document, but so far it seems that the draft proposal needs a lot of fine tuning to serve the purpose it is being prepared for.
The biggest challenge for any draft proposal on Srinagar master plan is to ensure a balance between rapid urbanization and the requirements for sound implementation of master plan proposals, land use and the rapid unhindered and unfeasible growth of residential, commercial and institutional activities.
A tough challenge which has been hampering the fast approval of the master plan project is the shifting of a various establishments out of which many are of heritage character and as such cannot be either dismantled or left as they are.
For any sound implementation of master plan proposals, areas notified under J&K Development Act, 1970 shall supersede all other Acts in particular J&K Agrarian Reforms and Revenue Act. Accordingly necessary modification to J&K Development Act, 1970 need to be proposed to the Cabinet which shall have mention in the master plan proposals.
The major achievements of the master plan should be protecting the water bodies that have been under tremendous pressure owing to rapid urbanization. For this the governments shoddy planning has been a major contributor. The construction of Western Foreshore Road from Saida Kadal to Kohne Khane, which was left midway should be taken up at an earliest. The construction of WFR would defeat the ingressions on Dal Lake by way of encroachment and pollution.
The need for establishing a three tier Ring Road pattern as envisaged in the Draft Master Plan to mitigate all potential challenges of urban mobility need to be initiated strictly.
Another failure that needs to be tackled at an earliest is the drainage projects running in the city. The failure to establish an effective drainage system has meant that the City has been prone to floods and the September 2014 deluge proved it beyond any doubt that the drainage system needs to be set right at an earliest.
Besides, ensuring that all safety measures and precautions need to be put in place so that a 2014 like situation is not repeated. Accordingly stress should be laid on the construction of a supplementary flood channels besides, improving upon the already existing natural drainage systems.