SRINAGAR MASTER PLAN RECAST TO BEGIN SOON
SDA to sign MOU with Ahmedabad based company this week
Srinagar, Nov 22: Finally, the much-criticised existing Master Plan of Greater Srinagar for 2001-2021, which till now, has mostly remained confined to papers alone, is likely to get a life as the government has decided to go for its review. For this, the Srinagar Development Authority (SDA) has roped in an Ahmedabad based engineering consultancy and the MOU is expected to be signed this week.
Given the recent revelation by a London based urban affairs think-tank that Srinagar is among the 100 fastest growing urban centres world-over coupled with apprehensions that the City was heading towards a mess due to alleged ill planning, the Master Plan review is obviously of critical importance.
The City’s existing Master Plan, which has often witnessed criticism for having being formulated in the absence of proper consultation with the concerned quarters and Aam Aadmi, is all set to witness its maiden overhaul. “The existing Master Plan needs not only a review but a rehash to do away with the lacunas in this vital planning document,” said a city planner.
But the review has come late as observers said it was to be done after every five years. But the successive regimes till over a decade seem to have forgotten this vital aspect of development of this historic City developed in 3 BC.
Last year the state government initiated the process for holistic review of the Srinagar Master Plan “in a bid to decongest the City, develop heritage sites and put a halt on reckless constructions around”.
The SDA had sought Expression of Interest from various urban planning consultancies for a detailed review to see “how best the City could be developed on modern lines in the wake of mounting vehicular traffic, civic amenities and conservation of heritage”.
Greater Kashmir learnt from reliable sources that the deal has settled with SAI Consulting Engineers Pvt Ltd, an Ahmedabad based ISO certified firm while the MOU would be signed soon.
Given the alleged flaws in the existing Master Plan and its brazen violation all these years, the review as per observers, demands a comprehensive survey and taking into confidence of various concerned departments like Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Traffic Police, Roads and Building department, Revenue and LAWDA.
“Not only this even the views of people are vital for the review of the Master Plan so that this time its enforced in reality,” said a observer.
Pertinently since the day Srinagar has emerged among the 100 fastest growing urban centers worldwide, observers here are apprehensive about the prosperity of this historic City. They say its “growing haphazardly at the cost of brazen violation of norms and that if immediate remedial measures aren’t taken, the growth will end up in a disaster.”
Former bureaucrat turned politician, Muhammad Aslam Laigaroo, who was seen as an able administrator during his tenure as the SMC head in the start of the new millennium, went to the extent of saying that the Master Plan has been “repeatedly molested”.
Since the implementation of Master Plan, the City has expanded considerably and Zoning of areas and other restrictions as were mentioned in the rulebook have hardly been adhered to. The alleged vandalization has been so grave that some three years back senior Congress leader Prof Saif-Ud-Din Soz called a news conference to announce that Master Plan needs to be reviewed. The government slumber seems to have finally ended.
The SDA Vice-Chairperson Dilshad Khan confirmed that the “agreement will be signed soon.” She, however, clarified that “under the agreement only the terms and conditions, and the penalty clause” would be fixed.
“The review has to be done in consultation with the stakeholders including the line departments and the transport system. We will seek suggestions from all the concerned government departments and even the general public because ultimately it’ll affect their lives,” the VC told Greater Kashmir.
Pertinently, the First Master Plan came up in 1971. That time the Srinagar Metropolitan City Area was 236 Sq Kms, with eight Planning Divisions and 151 Zones. After it ran its life in 1990, the SDA took up the preparation of the Second Master Plan, which is in vogue. Here the Srinagar Metropolitan City Area was estimated to be about 416 Sq Kms, with 16 Planning Divisions and 231 Zones. It was projected for a population of 23.50 lakhs.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 22 Nov 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 22 Nov 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 23 Nov 2011 00:00:00 IST
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