As ambiguity over the implementation of Master Plan as well as four-lane proposal for Srinagar-Baramulla highway continues, the mushroom growth of shopping complexes all along the Srinagar-Baramulla highway and in the main town has raised a big question over the administration's pledge to develop Baramulla town on modern lines.
The Baramulla Draft Master Plan prepared several years back ensures the development of the town on modern lines.
It would also ensure increase in the town limits towards Delina, Janbazpora, and Sheeri areas.
The Srinagar-Baramulla four-lane proposal, survey of which has been conducted several times in the past is the administration's main developmental project.
However, despite the master plan and the four-laning proposal being on the cards, scores of shopping complexes and other similar structures are being constructed at a rapid speed.
"If the government is mulling to implement the master plan and start four-laning project, then why is there such a mushroom growth of structures? Who is granting them permission to construct such buildings that are coming up in violation of the government's set rules," said Fayaz Ahmad, a local. "If the government is seriously considering implementing the master plan and start four-laning project, then all those officials permitting such constructions should be held top task."
None of these shopping complexes are following the government's set criteria for constructing such buildings.
One of the main criteria set by the authorities is that each shopping complex should have a car-parking space in the basement but not a single shopping complex, completed or undergoing completion, is equipped with such a facility.
Resultantly, all roads in the town witness illegal parking of vehicles.
"If a shopping complex has 50 shops, at least 30 shopkeepers park their vehicle outside the complex. This is why one of the criteria set for constructing a shopping complex is that it must have parking space in the basement. In absence of such a facility these cars are being illegally parked on the road, choking the space for traffic movement," said Arshad Ahmad, a local.
Urging the authorities to come clear on the master plan, the locals here said that due to non-implementation of the master plan, the Baramulla town had already been robbed of several developmental projects.
"For various Government of India-sponsored schemes, one of the important criteria is that the town population should be more than one lakh. The present population of the town as per the 2011 census is around 80,000. By implementing the master plan, the town limits would be extended up to Delina and Janbazpora in East, and up to Sheeri in West. The extension of the town limit will make Baramulla town eligible for several GoI-sponsored schemes including Amrut," said Mushtaq Ahmad, a civil society member.
Deputy Commissioner Baramulla, Bopinder Kumar said that no such construction that violates the government's set norms would be allowed.
"Strict action will be taken against the violators wherever violation of the government's set norms is noticed. Besides, the officials responsible for granting such permission will be held accountable," he said.