Despite passing of three years, authorities have failed to beautify median strip of the Indira Gandhi (IG) Road here.
This month every year, the four-kilometer stretch between Hyderpora to Srinagar Airport becomes abuzz with maintenance activity by different departments but to no avail. For last three years, several departments have been digging the median strip of arterial IG Road, erecting and dislodging the fencing to make this stretch visually appealing.
In February 2016, Floriculture department took over beautification of the median stretch and dismantled the fencing which was erected earlier to prevent movement of stray dogs into plantation. According to inhabitants of the area, Floriculture department removed the fencing to pave way for flower baskets, but this idea was short-lived.
"They sowed new sorts of plants and flowers, but we never saw them bloom because there was no fencing to restrict stray dogs and other animals. Even SMC was involved in upkeep of this stretch but failed miserably," said Basit Ahmad, a local.
Beautification of the Airport road was first initiated by former Chief Minister late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed when plantation and fencing of the median strip started. However, inter-department tussle over these years has cast a doom over the beautification of the Airport road stretch— which is often described as the 'face of Valley'.
Tourism stakeholders and members of Kashmir Inc said the IG road stretch from Airport to main city is vital as it leaves the first impression on visitors coming to Kashmir.
"It is very important to ensure that this road stretch is well maintained as it is quite literally the face of the city and even the valley. Development of this road being caught in inter-departmental wrangling is quite unfortunate and makes development of the stretch suffer,' said president of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Javed Ahmed Tenga.
Admitting that "too many hands have laid on the IG Road beautification", chief engineer of Roads and Buildings ( R&B) department, Sheikh Abdul Hameed said in-order to avoid inter-departmental wrangling the R&B has taken over the beautification work.
"After giving the Floriculture department charge for developing the median strip, we have now fully taken-over the beautification work. We realized that responsibility of too many people is responsibility of none, so instead of asking different departments we have ourselves started the fencing and plantation process," said Hameed. Hameed said plantation said as "weeping willows" and other flower beds will be planted on the median stretch.
"The fencing being dislodged earlier was not a good idea. We are erecting the fencing to ensure that movement of stray dogs is prohibited. We are also creating barriers so that pedestrian movement over the plantation and flower beds is also restricted," Hameed said.