How clean is Srinagar?
A survey conducted across India last year declared Srinagar a clean city. Earlier, a similar survey had rated Srinagar as the fourth dirtiest city in India. The reality lies somewhere in between. There is no denying the fact that the standard of living in Srinagar has improved, but thousands of people in Srinagar and Jammu cities continue to live in slums. A survey conducted by M/S IPE Global Private Limited in 2012 reveals that more than 18,000 households are living in slums or slum like conditions. The survey says that a population of 90,000 in Srinagar has to pass their days and nights in slums or slum like conditions. The survey further reveals that every 11th family in Srinagar lives in slum with primitive drinking and sanitary conditions. Srinagar is not only turning out to be a choked city with space squeezing for its inhabitants but poses a grave threat to water bodies and heritage sites," said the survey. Srinagar city has undergone major changes in the land use pattern due to the unplanned expansion of residential colonies and illegal commercialization of important city arterials. The detailed inquiry report initiated in 2009 on Master Plan violations/deviations/encroachments in Srinagar revealed that such violations have swollen in an unabated manner since no action against the identified violations," said the survey. The survey report reveals that about 95% of the structures have violated the land use either by raising illegal constructions or by conversion of land use. The fringe areas are equally not good from the planning point of view. These are characterized by narrow lanes, without any public facilities. The houses are in dilapidated conditions which will widen the demand supply gap of housing in near future. The Srinagar city has already swollen up beyond municipal limits and started engulfing nearby urban fringe villages and three small towns of Pampore, Budgam and Ganderbal. Srinagar is located in the heart of Kashmir on both the banks of river Jhelum and is fast turning into a metropolis. The city of Srinagar is historically as well as culturally important and, therefore, deserves proper handling.