Govt to reduce Srinagar municipal limits
Rural bodies to run City areas
Srinagar, Jan 23: Believe it or not. In times of urbanization, the government plans to reduce municipal limits of Srinagar by converting some of the City areas into typical rural patches: villages.
The initiative is already under process and at-least nine areas presently under the domain of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) are expected to face the axe so that they could be managed by “rural bodies”.
To start this process, an SRO has been passed, presumably in consultation with the City MLAs, all of whom belong to the ruling NC-led coalition.
Official documents reveal that the Housing and Urban Development Department (H&UDD), Commissioner, Sudesh Kumar issued the following SRO Notification on October 7, 2010:
SRO 357, in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (3) of section 3 of Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Corporation Act, 2000, the Government hereby expresses its intention to exclude the following areas from the Municipal limits of SMC.
AREAS GOING RURAL
The areas to be “ruralized”, as per the H&UDD orders, include Khonmoh and Saidapora Bala from Sonawar constituency, Bakshipora Tengpora and Tengpora Ghat from Batamaloo
Likewise, Badi Udder and Sangam of Eidgah consititiency and Gund-e-Chandal, Nadir Gund, Laloo Shesgarhi in Amira Kadal are to be excluded from the SMC domain.
FILING OF OBJECTIONS
The government, as per a notification published on Nov 30, 2010 in newspapers, had asked the area inhabitants to file objections if any within six weeks.
“Till date no objections have been received to the proposed intention to exclude the above mentioned areas from the Municipal Limits,” the SMC commissioner Sheikh Mushtaq had claimed vide the notification.
The civic body had extended the deadline for filing of the objections.
“All the concerned are provided a further chance to furnish their objections, if any, to the proposed intention upto 15th December, 2010,” the notification states.
Greater Kashmir learnt from reliable sources that the government started the process to “ruralize” City areas after consultation with City MLAs, all the eight of whom belong to the National Conference.
“After consultation with the MLAs, it was amicably decided that an SRO be issued to notify the stakeholders,” said a H&UDD official, requesting not to be named.
Observers have expressed deep resentment over the issue terming it a part of “deep rooted conspiracy”.
“In times of massive urbanization, it’s highly illogical that the government is going for ruralization of the Urban heart,” said a university professor.
“At a time when efforts should be made to expand City areas by even taking some of the areas from adjoining Budgam and Ganderbal districts into Srinagar, exactly the reverse is being done,” he said.
An expert on urban development said such a move could encourage illegal constructions in the areas as by the time they would get a new “local governing body” the encroachments will have mushroomed.
Srinagairites, like Haji Bashir, former President of SMC employees union said Srinagar was being victimized times and again on one pretext or the other.
“Earlier Srinagar comprised of 73 Municipal Wards out of which five were converted into rural areas thereby decreasing the electoral and administrative rights over the City land to mere 68 wards. Now another move is being made,” Bashir lamented.
Despite repeated attempts the H&UDD Commissioner, didn’t respond to phone calls.
The SMC Commissioner, however, defended the government move saying there was nothing doubtful in the process.
“Some areas (in City) do have a rural character…Initially Khanmoh people who had sought exclusion so the issue was discussed threadbare and the government finally came out with the SRO,” Mushtaq told Greater Kashmir.
He said the inhabitants wanted to get benefited out of rural schemes for the development of their areas. “They could be looking ahead to form small rural committees for their welfare,” he added.
Citing example he said, the inhabitants want to get benefited out of schemes like National Rural Employment Generation Act, which bring along “lot of money.”
But the final decision, he said, would be taken after scrutiny of the objections.
“Some have objected, some want exclusion... All the aspects have to be taken into consideration,” he said adding the move was “transparent and being done through peoples participation.”
He said the exclusion of the City areas wouldn’t affect the number of electoral/administrative wards.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 23 Jan 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 23 Jan 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 24 Jan 2011 00:00:00 IST
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