Constructions, developmental activities banned along Bypass'

Baghat Barzulla residents protest construction of commercial building

In a significant development, the state administration has banned construction and development activities along the Bypass, from Pantha Chowk to Nowgam, under the Master Plan-2035.

An official document revealed that the state administrative council, headed by the Governor recently approved a proposal with a modification that no development/construction activity shall be permitted along the Bypass which forms part of flood absorption basin.

“The preservation of this belt is important for the safety of Srinagar city from floods. As such, it is strongly recommended to preserve this area from the onslaught of urban development including even earth filling….it will not only create a new tourist destination but will also increase the water holding capacity of the basin during floods,” reads the document.

A senior official said though the draft master plan had proposed ban on construction activities along the Bypass, a constituted to review the draft plan had recommended lifting of this ban.

“But it was the SAC headed by Governor SP Malik which during its meeting recommended that the area should be kept as flood absorption basin and no developmental activities should be allowed there,” the official said adding that earlier Irrigation and flood control department had also vouched for keeping this area as a reservoir basin to minimize damage to city during floods.

The official said a “certain lobby” had been pushing for keeping this zone open for construction/development activity as “many influential people” had purchased land in this zone.

Another official informed that the main reason for delay in finalizing the master plan was the issue of banning construction activities from Pantha Chowk to Nowgam.

The Master Plan has come into operation from March 7 by virtue of notification issued by housing and urban development department. Now all the provision of building laws and bye-laws will be governed by this document,” said the official.  

This is the third such developmental plan drafted for the city in last 45 years to achieve its sustainable physical and economic growth. The inordinate delay in finalization of the master plan had triggered protests from former legislators of Srinagar in the Assembly.

The master plan has a planning area of 766 sq. km which includes areas falling within limits of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) and that of urban local bodies of Budgam, Ganderbal, Pampore and Khrew and 160 villages in Srinagar, Budgam, Ganderbal, Pulwama, Bandipora and Baramulla districts. 

With focus on sustainable development and calibrated to ground realities, the document makes a departure from previous land use policy, development regulations and mixed land use regulations.

It lays down planning guidelines, policies, developmental code and space requirements for various socio-economic activities, supporting the city population during the plan period.