Smart City Mission: Govt to revive cultural, commercial importance of Downtown Srinagar

Under the centrally-funded Smart City Mission (SCM), authorities have proposed reviving cultural and commercial importance of the old city of the summer capital Srinagar.

The SCM focuses on the two basic components – the pan city development and area-based development.

Both the components are aimed to provide smart and innovative solution to transform Srinagar into an “eco-friendly and resilient city.”

Under the area based development, 76 percent area will be developed on modern lines, 19 percent will be developed as green field and five percent area will be redeveloped for specific purposes.

Some of the key areas of focus under the SCM are disaster management, urban mobility and waste management.

The urban mobility includes traffic regulation, zebra crossing on roads, intelligent traffic system and road widening.

Authorities have started work on these projects in the old city which is also known as the Downtown. 

“Under the SCM, we are going to revive importance of the Downtown. The focus will be on highlighting culture and heritage of the city,” said Commissioner, Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Khurshid Sanie.

He said the program envisages uplift of artisans and revival of cottage, shawl and other craft industries.

“This will create job opportunities for local youth. Yarkand Sarai at Safa Kadal, which is situated on the banks of river Jhelum will be converted into crafts museum,” he said.

The authorities will also provide soft loans to the locals to develop portion of their residential houses for accommodations of tourists.

“Tourists will have an experience of Kashmiri culture and heritage by staying in Downtown. This way, we will have large number of tourists thronging the Downtown,” he said.

Under the SCM, the Old Court complex will be converted into the hospitality sector. “However, the heritage buildings will remain untouched and it will be preserved along with all other heritage buildings,” the Commissioner said.

He said development of the Srinagar city on modern lines will increase job opportunities for local youth.

On 24 June 2017, in a major push for urban infrastructure development in Jammu and Kashmir, the twin capitals, Srinagar and Jammu were included in the list of cities to be developed as “smart cities.”

The Smart City Mission which is aimed at improving basic urban infrastructure in cities was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June 2015.

Under the program, each city is getting Rs 1,000 crore central funding for its comprehensive development and effective delivery of public service.

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