Shahr-e-Khas ailing heart of Srinagar: CM

‘IT BORE THE BRUNT OF CRACKDOWNS, CURFEWS, STONE PELTING’

ABID BASHIR

Srinagar, Dec 20: Terming Shahr-e-Khas as “heart of Srinagar”, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday said this heart been ailing with many problems and needs to be cured by the government now.  
 “Over the past 22 years, Shahr-e-Khas (Old City) bore the brunt of curfews, crackdowns, stone pelting and what not. Shopkeepers were not able to do their business here, students could not go to schools and patients could get proper treatment,” the CM said after inaugurating the renovated Zaina Kadal bridge in Old City here.
 “While Srinagar is the heart of Kashmir, the Shahr-e-Khas is the heart of Srinagar but this heart has been ailing with many problems that needs to be cured by the government,” Omar said.
 He said despite efforts of his government to ensure peace, the people of Shahr-e-Khas continue to face problems. “My efforts are to work for the betterment of Shahr-e-Khas people. We want to showcase the beauty of down town,” he said.
 “At least 14 lakh tourists visited Kashmir in 2012, but only few visited Old City. Our efforts are to make the down town a major tourist attraction.  Here, more than three families live together. There are many other problems which need to be addressed,” Omar said.
 He said Shahr-e-Khas houses many shrines and the area can be projected for the Pilgrim Tourism.
 Omar said he wanted to see the change in the people of Shahr-e-Khas. “I want you to forget the disappointment and to strengthen our hands,” he said.
 He said when the proposal for construction of new Zainakadal bridge came to him for approval, he told the executing agency to protect and preserve the old wooden bridge.
 “There are only two wooden bridges left in Srinagar one is the Zero Bridge and another is here (Zaina Kadal). If we demolish the heritage bridges, we would lose the heritage once for all,” said Omar, who was flanked by Law Minister, Ali Muhammad Sagar.
 Speaking on the occasion, Sagar said the people of Shahr-e-Khas have suffered on all fronts. “Despite problems faced by the people of Shahr-e-Khas, they continue to support the government.  They pretend that they have no problems but fact remains they have manifold problems,” he said.
 Sagar who is also MLA Khanyar constituency, said government should work to heal the wounds of people. “We have more than three families living in one house. Youth of Shahr-e-Khas are unemployed,” he said.
 He urged the CM to form a sub-committee so that the problems faced by the traders of  Shahr-e-Khas are addressed. “We organized police recruitment drives in many areas but I request the Chief Minister to conduct same drive from Maharaj Gunj police station,” Sagar said.
 He said many ambitious projects are already on for Shahr-e-Khas. “NC founder and former CM Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah during his regime had started a Core Project for Shahr-e-Khas, but the project was shelved,” Sagar said.
 Zaina Kadal bridge is one of the oldest bridges in Kashmir. It was renovated at a cost of Rs 2.50 Crore. On the occasion the CM also laid the foundation stone of new Zaina Kadal bridge that would be constructed at the cost of Rs 9.82 Crore.
Shahr-e -Khas traders hail CM, Sagar
All Kashmir Traders Federation Shahre Khas Zaina Kadal has hailed the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Minister for Panchayats Ali Muhammad Sagar for getting the heritage Zaina Kadal bridge renovated in a record time.
 In a statement a spokesman of the Federation urged the CM to expedite work on the construction of the new Zaina Kadal bridge.
 “After inauguration of the heritage Zaina Kadal bridge, the Federation presented a memorandum to CM appealing him to properly rehabilitate the affected shopkeepers. “The CM assured to consider the genuine demands,” the spokesman added.

Lastupdate on : Thu, 20 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 20 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 21 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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