Decongest Srinagar City

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The cumulative effect of demographics, economic growth (in relative terms), easier access to consumer finance and hence more motor vehicles on the road has led to choked and dense urban spaces. This is nowhere at eloquent display than in Srinagar city of the Kashmir division of Jammu and Kashmir. Both at peak hours and even outside these peak hours, Srinagar city has morphed into a dense urban concatenation where commute, parking , and even shopping is getting difficult by the day. If a linear projection of trends is undertaken, then what the condition of the city would be within the next five years or so, stretches and boggles the mind. The city, the face and entry point into and of Kashmir, and then needs urgent and fast paced decongestion. But, the question is: how can this be done? This question becomes more pronounced and acute given that path dependence of urban dwellings and concatenations. Ideally, the choice or option that would lend itself to a long term and run decongestion of the city would be to actually rejigg the entire cityscape, undo extant structures and rebuild these along modern lines. But this, for obvious reasons, is not possible. What is then left is a second best option: create spaces within and without the city that decongest it. This must be overlaid by beautification and enhancing the aesthetics of the city. Both are doable, eminently so. Ring roads, around the city, coupled with designated parking slots, and stringent penalties for breaching these are some of the options that can be taken recourse to and even being mooted. The problem is that while the ideas and the concepts underpinning these are fine but here in Jammu and Kashmir, it is in execution and implementation that the problems lie. The urgency of the issue , that is, the potential degeneration of Srinagar city into a massive urban sprawl should concentrate minds and lead to the devising and crystallization of creative solutions that not only decongest Srinagar city but also lead to its beautification. Cities, in general, are the faces of places. This is, insofar , as aesthetics is concerned, important as it is, in its own right. But, cities are also foci where people meet, do business, shop and indulge in similarly important activities. Given all these reasons, the need to decongest and beautify the city has never been as important as now!