Srinagar: The delay in getting the Srinagar master plan finalized it taking a heavy toll on the development front. Srinagar, a historical city which over the years has witnessed nasty growth in terms of infrastructure and other sectors is gasping for breath.
It has now been almost a year the draft master plan 2035 was put in public domain. However, the state government is yet to finalize Plan, pointing fingers to the political influence that is being used to delay and marginalize the plan.
What is surprising is that the Jammu city draft plan was finalized in just two months after it was put into public domain. However, the speedy approval as in the case of Jammu master plan has not been witnessed in approving the Srinagar master plan which as of now is facing several road blocks.
The approval it seems has been delayed deliberately as the draft master plan has incorporated several drastic measures for revisiting the unplanned growth in Srinagar city. The plan not only asks for removing vast areas of civilian population in and around the City but it has also suggested shifting of some important offices from the city centre as well.
The draft plan had received around 350 suggestions from the public, following which a committee headed by commissioner secretary Housing was supposed to take a final call on the recommendations to be incorporated in the Master Plan.
However, the committee could not take any decision as a result of which it constituted another sub-committee headed by the Deputy Commissioner Srinagar to look into the suggestions and feedback.
Notably, the draft Master Plan has envisioned increase in the city area from the existing 416 Sq Km to 766 Sq Km – 82 percent increase from the existing Master Plan limits.
The draft Master Plan has asked both the government and non-governmental bodies to protect and conserve heritage buildings, and ensure their preservation in the urban development through statutory framework.
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.
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 move to protect the water bodies will also need strong political will as the implementation may hit a vast chunk of population as well as the vote bank of several mainstream parties.
But, whatever the reasons the government needs to take a call on finalizing the draft master plan for Srinagar City. The city is choking day by day and some harsh decisions need to be taken. This will ensure survival of the city and its dwellers.