MRDAs, MRTCs for futuristic, coordinated development of capital cities: Govt

Principal Secretary, Housing and Urban Development Department, Dheeraj Gupta today said that Metropolitan Region Development Authorities (MRDAs) and Mass Rapid Transit Corporations (MRTCs) are aimed to ensure faster, futuristic, coordinated development of capital cities Srinagar and Jammu.

Addressing a press conference,  Gupta said  the Metropolitan areas of Jammu and Srinagar as well as their population, have grown rapidly over the past few decades.

He said the State Government being conscious of the challenges in planned development of the Capital Regions of the State, has enacted “The Jammu and Kashmir Metropolitan Region Development Authorities Act, 2018 in December, 2018. He said subsequently government created two umbrella Authorities under the Act, namely, “Jammu Metropolitan Region Development Authority” and “Srinagar Metropolitan Region Development Authority” to provide an integrative framework for the purpose of planned development of these regions.

Spelling out objectives, Gupta said these Metropolitan Region Development Authorities are expected to serve the purposes of coordination, besides supervising the proper, orderly and rapid development of the areas in these regions and executing plans, projects and schemes for such development and also raise resources for mega projects.

He said the Authorities, will prepare an “Infrastructure Development Plan” which will be the guide for annual investments in creating infrastructure. “In the next few years, the thrust of the annual plan will be to reduce the deficit on infrastructure including roads, water supply, sewerage, storm water drainage, public transportation including, light rails, e-buses and other amenities,” he said.

He said  besides infrastructure, these authorities, through a consultative exercise with the Police and the Municipal Corporations and Deputy Commissioners will formulate a Comprehensive Mobility Management Plan, for managing mobility in the region.

“These new authorities will also prepare a Sustainable Management Plan for sustainable management of the urban environment, such as, increasing the area under green cover, water conservation, wastewater treatment, water recycling, rainwater harvesting, energy conservation, adoption of renewable sources of energy, provision of open spaces and city parks,” he said.

The State Administrative Council, on 3rd July, 2019, has approved the areas to be included in the Srinagar Metropolitan Region and Jammu Metropolitan Region. He said these areas for these Metropolitan Region Development Authorities have been selected on the principles of regional planning and development.

Gupta said as per the approval, Srinagar Metropolitan Region will cover the areas of districts of Srinagar, Budgam, Ganderbal, Bandipora, Baramulla, Pulwama, Anantnag, Kulgam and Shopian covering an approximate area of 2494.65 sq. kms.

He said the Jammu Metropolitan Region will cover the areas of districts of Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Reasi, and Udhampur covering an area of 2216.58 sq. kms.

He said Million sq ft IT parks will also be developed in these Srinagar and Jammu townships.

Gupta said two MRTCs for both the capital cities of the State, were incorporated in February this year. Dr E. Sreedharan, has been appointed as the Principal Advisor to these Corporations.

Gupta said these Corporations are taking steps to address the issue of urban mobility in the State in a holistic manner by providing safe, affordable, quick, comfortable, reliable and sustainable access for the growing number of city residents to jobs, education, recreation. He said under the plan, government envisages quality focused multi-modal public transport systems that are well integrated, providing seamless travel across modes, land use transport integration, introducing intelligent transport systems for traffic management.

Comprehensive Mobility Plans (CMPs) for the two Capital cities earlier prepared by Rail India Technical and Economic Service) — A Government of India Enterprise, are being updated.

As a part of the recommendations of CMP, Gupta said the MRTCs have undertaken the implementation of the Light Rail Transit Systems for the two Capital Cities. The SAC in its meeting held on 7th June this year, approved the Elevated Corridor option for the two Light Rail Transit Systems to be operationalized. M/S RITES is finalizing the DPRs for the two Light Rail Transit Systems.

“It is proposed to have Light Rail System, the first in India, which will have low footprint, low noise, greater comfort, aesthetic appeal and will blend with the surrounding landscape. The estimated cost of the first phase of the project is about Rs 8500 crores, to be funded through debt, State’s equity and Central assistance,” he said.

In the first phase in Srinagar, two corridors will be laid from HMT junction to Indra Nagar and Osmanabad to Hazuribagh.

 “In phase two, two corridors will be laid from Indra Nagar to Pampore Bus Stand and Hazuribagh to airport,” said Gupta.

He said that in phase one in Jammu, two corridors from Bantalab to Greater Kailash and Udheywala to Exhibition Ground will be developed in Jammu. In the second phase, corridors will be built from Greater kailash to Bari Brahamana Railway Station and Exhibition Ground to Satwari Chowk to Airport.

Gupta said as per the mandate, two MRTCs have also undertaken preliminary steps for operationalizing city buses, within the jurisdiction of the MRDAs, to set new standards and benchmarks in public transport. These will be app based, air-conditioned, smart e-buses with automatic fare collection systems.