Nothing but vertical expansion can make Srinagar prosper

Proper revamp of Master Plan can make summer Capital evolve like Jaipur or other well planned cities, comments Dr Rashid Ashraf Wani

THOUGH urbanization and its consequences are a global phenomenon, the problems are likely to be particularly acute in the less developed areas like Kashmir. Srinagar City has grown by leaps and bounds during the past 50 years. The trend of development seems to be more or less oriented towards corridors. City is growing along National Highway, district roads, major peripheral roads of Srinagar and hesitantly towards silted up flood basins. The problems of Srinagar City are becoming more and more critical with the increase in population and deterioration in existing level of services.
 The problems are assuming serious propositions in all aspects of urban living and are extremely critical in major sectors of sewerage, drainage, traffic and transportation, housing for urban poor, conservation of natural or cultural heritage. The population growth and urbanization are leading to over utilization of resources, thus exerting pressure on the limited resources and amenities in the City. The land being limited and population increasing day-by-day add to the agony by increasing the cost of the land. The City has functioned and prospered as the regional centre owing to its centrality in the area. With three fourth of the total buildings in the City core declared poor by the Srinagar Master Plan (2000-21) on one hand and high density of population on the other, the core will register shortage in houses in near future.  The land under the waterbodies is illegally encroached and is used for agriculture especially for floating gardens and producing vegetables. Significant marshy area got shrunk, leading to waterlogging and floods. The marshy area is under tremendous pressure of urban growth converting it into built up. There is a continuous pressure on land as the vertical expansion of the City is limited due to its soil which is very weak and thereby increases the risk of the adjoining agricultural lands being converted into built up. The lateral expansion of Srinagar has also some limitations as the area is bound by Zabarwan hills on east and north, Pampore karewas on the south, Hokersar basin and Anchar and Khushalsar on the west. The northern eastern part of the City which includes the wards of Nishat and Harwan is a green belt. Hence, construction of any sort is totally illegal and should be banned.
 The only option for the City to survive is vertical expansion but that has to be dealt with technically taking into account the carrying capacity of the soil by providing the strong designed foundations for the soil. Cities like Srinagar need higher priority in planning as they are the engines of economic growth and development.
 Srinagar has not grown like Mumbai and Delhi and therefore, it can be planned in a proper manner right now not waiting for the situation to deteriorate in future. The area can be given the shape of a City like Jaipur and Ghandinagar which are one of the most planned cities of India.

Dr Rashid Ashraf Wani
(The ideas expressed are author’s own)

Lastupdate on : Tue, 13 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 13 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 14 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST

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