Woes of the Old City

It is high time administration revisited its policies towards old Srinagar city

Srinagar, Publish Date: Sep 25 2017 11:20PM | Updated Date: Sep 25 2017 11:20PM

For their mystical and magical aura, ambiance and architectural grandeur, and rich culture and traditions, vibrant nations make all-out effort to preserve old cities. These are showcased as the major tourism destinations. Like many other ancient cities in the world, the old Srinagar city with its medieval grandeur of the period of the Sultans of Kashmir despite suffering official apathy survives in its monuments, temples, khanqahs, and bazars. The city despite all odds retains potential of becoming an important tourist destination provided the administration stops looking at it through a particular prism. It is no secret that the old city, that was an important trading center for visiting traders from Central Asia and Kashgar, suffered politics when the then Maharajas settled traders from Punjab in the city under a design and Kashmir traders were made to play second fiddle. Despite, a big setback to the commercial activity in the city after the closure of the major trading routes the city survived from collapsing because of the resilience of the people of the city. In the seventies, because of a certain kind of politics, people were forced to drop traditional vocations and taking over some alternative menial occupations. The Mohalla that resounded with sounds of looms and Karkhanas that buzzed with activity fell silent. For the wrong policies of the administration, lots of artisans have taken to the menial profession and the city that for its commercial activity was once known as mint of the State has lost its economy. For past many years the state administration, looking from so-called security prism on everything has adopted a stereotype policy toward old city. The administration, without assessing the ground situation in the historic city has been placing the old city under curfew, euphemistically named as restrictions. This 5-police-station syndrome afflicting the state has taken a toll on the economy of over half a million people living under the jurisdiction of these police station. Karkhanas and commercial establishments in these areas remain closed for good part of a month. This policy adds to the woes of people instead of mitigating the sufferings of the people. For the PDP-BJP alliance government, it is high time to revisit its policies towards old Srinagar city and address the problems people in the area confront for past many years.

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