Draft Master Plan envisions green Srinagar

Over 50 Percent Of City’s Total Area Proposed To Be Reserved For Agricultural Land, Forests, Water Bodies

Protection Enhanced For Dal, Nigeen, Aanchar Lakes, Hokersar Wetland


Srinagar, Jan 31: If all goes well, the historic Srinagar City which has faced massive onslaught of haphazard concrete constructions over the years, will emerge as a greener city with vast agricultural land, eco-parks, forests and saffron fields.
The draft Master Plan for Srinagar City prepared by the Srinagar Development Authority (SDA) has proposed to reserve nearly 331 sq.kms of total area of city’s 757 sq-kms for agricultural purposes, 80.32 sq kms for water bodies, 6.62 for forests respectively.
The proposed Master Plan mulls decentralization of population and activities through developing Satellite towns as Ganderbal (Education Town), Budgam (Commercial and Hotel Zone), Pampore  (Transportation Hub), Khrew (Agro based Industrial Hub/agro-tourism), Zabarwan Range (Tourism Hub) respectively.
Khrew area has been proposed to be reserved as special zone for cultivation of prized saffron which is famous world over for its unmatched quality.
Officials said the objective of the proposed Master Plan (2000-2021) is aimed at protecting the man-made and natural heritage of Srinagar, restore its past glory and decentralizes the population and activities, promote economy and employment in order to make the entire development sustainable.
“We have meticulously drafted the proposed Master Plan to enable Srinagar City to cater to futuristic demands of housing, agriculture, tourism and other aspects in next eight years,” vice-chairman Srinagar Development Authority (SDA) Khawaja Farooq Renzu told Greater Kashmir. 
Renzu said special emphasis has been laid to promote eco-friendly development and arrest environmental degradation. “For this the eco sensitive areas are being protected. The protection of reserved forests, a buffer zone of 200 metres around Dal, Nigeen and Anchar lake has been marked as the restricted development zone. This will help in protection of the environmental degradation of the water bodies,” he said.
The Hokarsar wetland which is a Ramsar site, has been reserved as ‘No Development Area’ around it as per the wetland development rules prescribed by the government.
“The foothills of Zabarwan range are protected by providing eco- tourism zone towards Dara, Theed, Fakir-Gujri; where the development will be only 10 percent. This will protect the agricultural areas and promote tourism,” he said.
Renzu said the review of the Master Plan has also taken cognizance of sanctioned Master Plan (2000-2021) and has proposed changes wherever felt necessary.
“Due to lack of technology and other challenges, there was mismatch between the Master Plan proposals and the ground reality emerging out of inaccurate existing land use plan. While preparing the draft Master Plan we found that there is drastic deviation in construction of Railway tracks through Srinagar,” he said. 
Elaborating Renzu said similarly land at Khrew famous for cultivating saffron- was proposed as residential and industrial zone in the previous master plan.  “This is now redesignated as special zone for exclusive cultivation of saffron. Besides the orchard farms and paddy fields in Srinagar have been proposed to be reverted back to agriculture use. We have necessitated changes in the proposal of the sanctioned Master Plan. This has been done in order to make the Master Plan more realistic and rational for easy implementation,” he said.
Renzu said it has been proposed in the Master Plan to declare floating gardens or radhs in Dal lake as illegal.  “This will stop conversion of water body into floating gardens and save the lake from encroachment,” he said. 
Officials said the Master Plan is also supported by a set of Development Control Regulations so as to smoothly implement it and ensure orderly development in the city. The land uses have been rationalized and grouped in a manner so that compatible uses can be brought in a defined zone giving flexibility and removing undue hardships caused due to large number of uses defined in the earlier master plan, they said.
Renzu said the focus of the Master Plan is to decongest the city core through well defined strategies for built environment and open spaces. This, he said is to be done through developing growth centers in nearby major settlements like Khrew, Pampore, Budgam and Ganderbal.
“Provision of better physical and social infrastructure and employment opportunities will be created in these areas. Important nodes within the city will be identified and connected through wide and improved road network. The main emphasis will be given to connectivity and accessibility to these areas so that they can improvise on trade and commerce,” he said.
He said Srinagar city is the only primate city in Kashmir Valley, hence decentralization of population and related facilities are required which will promote the growth of other urban centers as well. “Consequently, the distinct identity and the lost pristine glory of Srinagar city shall be restored. The integration of rural and urban centers will result in better growth, infrastructure services, employment opportunities, economy and improved linkages. Hence, a hierarchy of settlements has been established which are considered while planning for the master plan.”
The draft Master Plan has been prepared in a scientific way with use of state-of-the art high resolution satellite imagery. The Master Plan has been prepared in GIS platform using the latest technology and hence an accurate base map for the entire area of Srinagar Development Authority is prepared eliminating the scaling errors in the previous master plan map.
“This is a draft Master Plan and we welcome suggestions and objections to our proposals. For making Srinagar a Metropolitan city, we need cooperation of all stakeholders. We would try to incorporate any changes in the proposed Master Plan after taking all stakeholders into consideration,” Renzu said.
Salient Features
Preserving agriculture, promoting tourism & protecting environment
Decentralize activities to promote balanced development Decongesting the core areas and special zone for houseboats Special provisions in the DCR for construction of houses for EWS Well defined zoning regulations to discourage non compatible land uses Creating self contained and self sustaining communities Comprehensive proposals for traffic and transportation by separating inter and intra city traffic Beautification of canals, water bodies and river Evenly distributed public purpose spaces & commercial zones at reachable distance Tourism, heritage conservation, parks & gardens, green areas preserved Ensures  educational, commercial, tourism, residential & industrial development

Lastupdate on : Thu, 31 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 31 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 1 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST

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