In 20 years, Srinagar will have scarce land for housing: Study

Aerial view of Srinagar City / GK Photo

Srinagar will have scarce land for house constructions if the existing horizontal sprawl goes on for another 20 years, reveals a study.

Should that scenario arise, experts believe the land prices in the capital city will touch skies making it unaffordable for the poor.

As per the study and the data collected by town planning organization, “very limited” land is suitable for any development in Srinagar. As per the data, out of the total area of 766 square kilometers, 160 square kilometers are already developed.

About 28 percent land area (157 sq. km) is ecologically fragile while 14 percent area (107 sq. km7) has medium to high vulnerability to floods. Besides, 4 percent land (31 sq. km) is “restricted area”, falling under defence, parks and graveyards.

The figures suggest that just 311 square kilometers are right now available for constructions. “In crude terms, about 57 percent of the total area cannot be used for any development. In a situation where annually around 15,000 housing units would need to be constructed for 75,000 additional population, an alternative development strategy based on sustainable parameters has to be worked out for accommodating an additional one million population in a period of next 20 years,” the report says.

“About five lakh population of core area Downtown live in 1114 hectares only which works out to 450 persons per hectare against the standard of 175 persons per hectare maximum for metro cities,” a town plan organisation document said, adding, “Thus, an area of 1114 hectares should have about 2 lakhs population maximum.”

As per the study, Srinagar due to its limitations for growth with hills and strategic uses in South and Southeast, fragile wetlands in east, west and northwest has limited holding capacity, hence major thresholds to its growth.