Urban Jungle

Urban Jungle

Over sixty percent of the urban population in the valley is concentrated in Srinagar city alone even as there are 46 urban centres in the valley in total. This indicates and reflects, among other things, the pressure on Srinagar city, its resources, and environs and so on. In the nature of perhaps a “natural” concomitant of urbanization, the pressure on our city is such that it is bursting at its seams. All this is happening against the backdrop of severe resource constraints and the general paucity of space. Generally speaking, as alluded to, urbanization is almost akin to the phenomena of nature in the sense that it is inevitable. Population growth, the attendant demographic pressures, the quest for better living standards and employment are among the salient factors that lead to pressures on urban space and constraints thereof. This is more salient in cities which are urban centres par excellence. Yet again, generally speaking, cities, it might not be an exaggeration to point out, are the future of the world from an urbanization perspective. If this is indeed the case, then cities need to be rendered into inhabitable, pleasant, hygienic and user friendly places. Can the same be said about Srinagar city? No is the obvious answer. Our famous and historic city is almost on the verge of structural breakdown. It is breaking at the seams. A walk down the footpaths of our city is enough to reveal this. Cramped, unhygienic, bad roads, a creaky and leaky transportation system, bad and poor sewerage, poorly maintained parks and so on define our city. All these, among other reasons, create an aura of what could appropriately be called an urban jungle, creating problems and a plethora of issues for its inhabitants. This needs to change drastically not only because of obvious and intrinsic reasons but also because cities, in general, are the faces of places. Our Sinagar city is not an exception to this fact. The question is how? Srinagar city does not merely lead a facelift or a makeover but a total and comprehensive revamp. It would entail redesigning the city according to its natural tone, tenor and tempo but keeping in view resource constraints and the overall wellbeing of its inhabitants, the sooner the better. If Srinagar city is not attended to, and no urban rejigg takes place here, the day is not far off when it will be a large, extended slum that goes by the name of a city.