The Govt. of India launched Smart City Mission Programme on 25th June 2015 to develop hundred cities across the country initially. The main aim of the Mission is to undertake the development, sustainability and well being of Urban People. Subsequently the Srinagar city project was formulated and approved during April 2017 and Srinagar Smart City Ltd. Special Purpose Vehicle was constituted to develop the City Srinagar particularly the areas of old city called downtown through engagement of citizens and elements of purpose of connected state departments Besides the development programmes of city will have major information and communication technology interventions which would include solid waste management and small multi-model mobility projects. Subsequently city Srinagar may get exposed through various dimensions of economic system where engagements i.e. jobs, and wealth can be generated by concentration of residents viz-a-viz, commerce, trade activities. The migration of rural population to urban Srinagar over years has resulted in the concentration of knowledge as well as diversity of specialization as t the markets expanded and came closer for trade, sharing of knowledge and productivity. The City Srinagar is emerging economically a strong body in the state as it is bestowed of social adversity way of life with separate culture activities, traditions etc.
The City Srinagar has its share of political system based on different dimensions. It has technological system of infrastructure of roads, buildings, bridges, flyovers, (though infancy stage) rivers, water bodies etc. but are not coordinated, inter related and connected meaningfully. A smart city is an endeavour taken up to make the sub systems to inter act with each other in order to improve the living standards of its citizens. The urban infrastructure denotes where citizens and economic activities move hand in gloves satisfactorily. However the making city Srinagar a smart one is not any easy job because the undesired elements both residents and tools of State departments are bent to develop creating the slum habitations across the city. The main areas of Srinagar City have become the hub of slum habitations. One can see that the slum structures do exist at Athwajan, Pantha Chowk, Across flood channel, Jawahar Nagar, Gogjibagh, Rambagh, Mehjoor Nagar, Nisaht, Shalimar, Eidgah, Zoonimar, Soura, Ellahi Bagh, Zakura, Hawal to Nigeen Road via Amda Kadal at Zahidpora to Jogiwan , the Kathi Darwaza ( Eastern Side of Dargah Sultani Arifeen R.A) to Razgari Mohalla, Gojwara, Bachidarwaza (Eastern side of Islamia College Hawal) to Sangeen Darwaza and other areas. The undesired elements after encroaching public roads and state lands have raised residential structures of slum habitations. These habitations function commonly the shelters, sheds of anti human activities like drug trafficking, gambling flesh trade etc in short all types of in human activities are carried on with the result the peaceful and congenial atmosphere to common life is affected beyond repairs. As per census 2011, the people living in slum habitations in city Srinagar and Jammu numbered to approximately 7 lakhs souls that was almost one fourth of total urban population. The survey conducted by M/s IPE Global Private Ltd. in 2012, revealed that approximately twenty thousand households were staying in slum areas of city Srinagar and this number ought to have doubled at present thanks to apathy of officials of concerned Government departments. A glaring example in the affairs is the main road from Hawal to Nigeen via Amda Kadal used to be 50 ft. in width from Sangeen Darwaza to Jogiwan but stands shrunken to near 8 ft. after its encroachment and raising of slum structures at Zahidpora to Jogiwan with the result the bonafide residents of 25000 households across this main road are deprived of public transport means. Likewise the residents of other areas are put to lot of inconvenience and trouble due to the existence of slum habitations. Under these circumstances how is it possible to make city Srinagar a smart one? A million dollar question?
(M.Ashraf Kakroo is Ex. DG ECO/Sts. J&K. Contact on 9858434696)