THE ICY RESPONSE

Greater Kashmir is doing a nice job by focussing on Srinagar Master Plan

TUESDAY TAKE

MUSHTAQ SIDIQI

 Greater Kashmir indeed deserves to be complemented for carrying on the tirade against the rampant violations of Srinagar Master Plan that has hugely demolished the urban face of Srinagar city making it one of the worst managed places in the country, thanks to a state of complete indifference being maintained by the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC).
Its promised article on the state of corruption in the Corporation appearing in its issue of 3rd December 2012 is yet another addition to a series of articles that this newspaper has carried in the recent past to gather the attention of the authorities towards the state of unruliness prevailing around.  These have but received only the icy response  as no  corrective action is seen anywhere, and the violations are on continual increase assuming newer and colossal proportions. What is glaring is that most of these violations keep taking place in the immediate vicinity of the Corporation’s headquarters. It seems to be nobody’s business to enforce the rule of law and relieve the residents of the city of the chaotic conditions prevailing around.
Come and construct high rise complexes anywhere at any place, no wonder on the main roads or in deep congested areas seems now to be the order of the day throwing the norms of regulating traffic, sanitation, safety etc to the wind.  The disorder has become the order of the day.
 Make a complaint against any violation following the much publicised promise of correction, it only generates an opportunity for making money. Both the builders and the enforcement wing of the Corporation know the modus operandi very well to afford such violations, and so do the poor public, watching the state of mismanagement haplessly. The result is more pavements coming under illegal occupations forcing the pedestrians to take the road space meant for motor traffic. The result is that the already shrunk road space keeps on shrinking further. The Corporation is in no mood to address to the menace. Nor are the traffic authorities in this tourist destination of the country.
 The Corporation has no plans to relieve the footpaths and the bridges of illegal occupation. The SMC and the traffic authorities, both of which are charged with the responsibility of giving the people a hassle-free movement, are just indifferent. Encouraged by this messy affair, the menace continues assuming newer and colossal proportions. The Divisional and the District administrations too seem not bothered and opting to remain in deep slumber.
 In an “unwilling compliance” I drove through the Lal Chowk area the other day crossing the Amirakadal bridge for a brief stopover across to facilitate my family to make some quick purchases. I was unwilling because of the traffic chaos that the area has become known for.  The drive across the bridge took about 30 minutes because only about 1/3rd of the road space was available for a large number of vehicles and pedestrians to move across to either side of it. The rest was encroached authoritatively, so to say, as the encroachers were unrelenting to move their carts a little back to provide even an inch more  space for the traffic .  It was pathetic and tiring no doubt, yet a blessing in disguise for me to capture a few very interesting pictures of the state of affair prevailing.  A few of these accompany this write up to highlight the awfully prevailing conditions   to make my point.
 The state of apathy that these pictures bring to the fore  exposes the failure of Government Officials to perform up to the  minimum standards and of their  indifference towards the rule book that they ought to adhere to. But as have been the conditions, the other interests, including a state of incompetence, dither them from performing. Otherwise, the Institutions are in place and so are the rules  to tackle the prevailing state of unruliness. The point is: are the right men in place to deliver. The Government needs to give a dispassionate consideration to this aspect and prevent the situation from taking even worst form. The war against this negative psyche has to be firmly fought to bring the minimum level of order in the civic conditions.  Let us hope the Icy response ends soon.

(The author is the former Special Secretary to Government, Finance and Housing & Urban Development Departments and can be mailed at mushtaqsidiqi@yahoo.co.in)

Lastupdate on : Mon, 17 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 17 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 18 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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