Amid Srinagar neglect, Govt missing the boat on revival of lost glory

FATE HANGS ON ONGOING MASTER PLAN REVAMP

GK CITY CORRESPONDENT

Srinagar, Apr 10: The ongoing revamp of Master Plan for Srinagar could prove a blessing in disguise for the ruling coalition to clear the air over neglect of this historic City and equally help in progressive development. But the government seems to be missing the boat as the draft revision in the past months has been like nobody’s baby: in the absence of stable administrative affairs, the way stakeholders of this historic capital demanded.
 The draft revamp has often witnessed hiccups because of administrative instability at Srinagar Development Authority, which is undertaking the prestigious assignment.
 Since the day, the government woke up to loopholes in the existing Master Plan, it started blowing trumpet that discrepancies would be removed and draft updated to be at par with the developed metropolis in the country.
 This pledge for now has turned into a litmus-test on the political canvas. Amid buzz of early Assembly polls, political pundits opine that the revamp process will play a marks card for the performance of National Conference-Congress alliance in reigns towards commitments of “revival of lost glory”.

SHORT-LIVED HOPE
 Initially the government commitment seemed to be going in line when, after a mega online bidding and hectic deliberations, a leading ISO certified urban consultancy was roped in to assist in the crucial work. But thereafter things started going messy because of frequent replacements of the Vice-Chairperson SDA in the past years.
 The revamp initiated during the tenure of the then VC SDA, saw him out of office when government decided to sign the MOU with SAI Consulting Engineers Pvt Ltd, the Gujarat based ISO certified firm. By then another bureaucrat assumed the office. 
 But when work actually picked up she was replaced by an official whose tenure lasted only a few weeks. This replacement lasted for a few months: March 31, 2013 to be precise when the official attained superannuation.

THE PAST CHAOS
 Because of the chaotic tenures of the SDA VCs in the past, sources said, the Master Plan revamp, remained badly hampered. The yearlong exercise has already missed the deadline by over three months.
 Sources said till date the Master Plan draft has even not been approved by the concerned Ministry even though this phase was scheduled to be completed within three months of the revamp inception. After the minister’s approval, the draft was likely to go for public scrutiny.
 The neglected stakes
 Observers believe that messy revamp of the Master Plan could evoke criticism on logical grounds with arguments like: How can government be so callous towards the exercise which will decide the future of this historic City?

THE DAL EXAMPLE
 The argument holds weight in the backdrop of the fact that for stability in conservation of the famed Dal lake, the government avoided transferring the senior official looking after the assignment. This looked to have a simple reason that the bureaucrat was given time to perform and equally be accountable for having been given time.

LUCK BY CHANCE
 For now, hope is being pinned on the present VC SDA, who also happens to be the District Development Commissioner, Srinagar. His posting at the twin chairs, is being seen as a rare combination, which could prove symbiotic on multiple fronts.
 Primarily, it can help rejuvenate the Master Plan revamp with a big boost because being district magistrate, the official apart from other measures, can facilitate easy access to revenue records in-time and also enforce restrictions on constructions whenever and wherever required during the ongoing exercise of critical importance.
 A VC-SDA with Magisterial powers is combination that has added a new spice to the debate surrounding the Master Plan revamp vis-à-vis restoration of the City’s lost glory. For now the ball is in the coalition government’s court and will equally influence the future course of developments of Srinagar towards better or worse!

Lastupdate on : Wed, 10 Apr 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 10 Apr 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 11 Apr 2013 00:00:00 IST




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